A couple of times I've sought out the manager. Sometimes when the manager kicks him out he hangs around outside the restaurant to hit people up on their way in and out. Once the manger called the police on him.
Of course I only see him at Panera on the Wednesdays when I'm there. I imagine he must come there on other days as well. And he must have other places where he panhandles.
Last Wednesday he was back again. He looked more haggard, more drawn, worse than ever. After he tried without luck to pick up some money from my friends and I he stopped at the booth across from our table where there sat two middle-aged women. It was the usual scenario: the women hesitated while he hung over them, waiting for them to relent, which they finally did. Don't do it! I tried to call to the women via mental telepathy as they dug into their purses.
After the man ambled down the aisle looking for the next likely hand-out I impulsively sprung up, went over to the women in the booth and informed them that that guy comes here regularly, that he's just looking for drug money.
One of the ladies told me that that was between himself and God, that if someone asks her for money she's going to give it to them, it's not for her to decide what they use it for.
Duly humbled and put in my place by this disciple of Pope Francis, I returned to my seat, where I should have stayed in the first place.
Following his statement that one should always give money when approached for it, Pope Francis was asked, "But what if someone uses the money, say, for a glass of wine?" His answer was, “If a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that’s O.K. Instead, ask yourself, what do you do on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?”
What I would like to ask Pope Francis is, "But what if someone uses the money to buy crystal meth?"
"The Pope On Panhandling,"