The Highway Panhandlers
Short Story Day 72 of 365
Ryan and Josie King returned to the city after two days and were overwhelmed by the spaghetti junctions that connected the highways. From above, the junctions all made sense, but driving through them, they were all about merging and in-and-out traffic and left and right lanes with a ton of overhead signs. If you drove the route daily, you could get used to it, but once or twice a year was daunting.
Especially during rush hour traffic.
After 25 minutes of this, the Kings were merging onto their last highway towards their home in the suburbs.
Two roadside panhandlers set up shop at the junction and were encouraging motorists to donate to their cause. Since the drivers were stopped in traffic, what better use of their time than to drop a few bucks into the hat?
The Kings weren’t moving anywhere on the highway entrance ramp, so Ryan jammed the car into park, jumped out, and approached one of the men.
He was there for about four minutes, gesturing and discussing something with the man. Impatient drivers behind the Kings began honking so he smiled and waved at them. His conversation with the panhandler ended with a shrug of his shoulders and a shake of the man’s hand.
Ryan got back in his vehicle and drove off.
“What was that about?” Josie asked.
“Just a sec.”
After he transitioned onto the highway, he said, “I just told the guy that where they were was probably not the best location for what they were trying to do because people were already stressed from the rush hour traffic. Even though the drivers stopped, they weren’t in a giving mood.”
Josie laughed. “You actually told him that?”
“That’s kind of bold of you, wasn’t it?”
“Maybe, but I was just trying to help them. I wanted them to look at this from the drivers’ point of view.”
Still chuckling, Josie asked, “Well, what did he say?”
“Actually, that’s what was funny. He simply said, ‘Thanks for your concern, Buddy, but we’re the professionals here and we know what we’re doing. We know where the best places to be during rush hour and it’s right here. Don’t you worry about us. We’ll be fine.’”