The date was 16 May 2002. I had just left the Steel Plaza subway station in Pittsburgh, PA, and was heading for the bus stop to catch a bus back to Oakland. I went home on Wednesday night to see Star Wars: Episode II with some friends - back to summer classes I was on my way.

Just a few yards outside of the station I was walking in front of the Mellon Bank Building - a place I've never seen a beggar before. At any rate, I was keeping to myself, and a somewhat large, black woman with a stroller and child in tow approached me, telling me about how she was living under a bridge, and had no food, no clothing, nothing for her child, etc... - I believed her, I think. She smelled foul. She was asking for some money. I dug into my pocket, but all I had were a few coins of a low denomination. I pulled them out and handed them to her, saying "Sorry, it's just a few cents" but never did I expect what she did next.

She threw the money on the ground, exclaiming that it was not enough.

That one event was, perhaps, enough to make me not give to a vagrant ever again.

Then again, she could have been not truly needy, and just out there for a few extra bucks (unlikely, but possible). At any rate, she ruined it for the countless others. Do I feel bad? Sure. Do I intend to put up with garbage like that again? Not a chance, sister.