Professional Panhandlers

Here in East Tennessee we’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit in our blood. It goes back generations – from our fathers to our fathers’ fathers to our fathers’ fathers’ fathers… well, you get it.

That spirit is not restricted to the wheelers and dealers of big business – it trickles down to the little man – or little woman – in the case of this story. Take the case of panhandler Paula Howard.

She can be seen regularly along highways in upper East Tennessee holding a sign that says “Disabled Widow, Broke & Hungry, Anything Will Help, God Bless.” However, at the bottom of the sign, you’ll see WWW.DISABLEDWIDOW.COM.

It seems that the 21st Century panhandler has gone all high-tech. Her website has some photos of her at her favorite panhandling locations as well as a list of her bills and the items that she needs, but can’t afford.

Now, I’m as kind-hearted as the next guy… okay, maybe not… however, this woman seems to have more than enough organizational skills to hold down a regular job. She says she’s disabled, yet she’s able to spend extended periods outside, on her feet, interacting with the general public. That takes physical endurance, so I don’t buy the whole “disability” thing. That probably makes me evil, but what else is new?

The fact that she has a website, whether she put it together or not, demonstrates at the very least a rudimentary knowledge of computer technology. Her website also provides a list of monthly expenses, which demonstrates financial and budgeting skills.

The website allows the visitor to “pick a bill to pay” and provides contact information for sending money. Because I’m a generous person, I’m going to help her get rid of one of her bills. She lists Direct TV as a $50 bill, which is overdue $345. CANCEL IT. Now wasn’t that easy?

Next time you’re at an intersection and a panhandler asks you for money, simply ask them for their website address. You will probably receive a blank stare or a string of expletives, but odds are the panhandler will probably want to move on to the next vehicle rather than continue discussing technology with you.

This has been another helpful hint from your friends at the Six Meat Buffet.

Cross-posted at Say Anything


  1. While I can’t speak to actual situation of this person you are talking about Preston, Nashville did have its own homeless blogger for a time. He would post from the public library.

    But… I don’t think he posted his list of bills for people to chip in for.

    In a bit of good news, he is no longer homeless.

    According to the disabled widow’s guest book entries, she no longer has (or never had) direct tv. But who knows.

  2. Now, see what a little motivation will do for you. That homeless blogger is living proof.

    And perhaps the disabled widow isn’t as good at budgeting as I thought if she lists a Direct TV expense that she doesn’t even have. Hmmm….

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