Behind the Sign: Meet a Triad Panhandler

Panhandlers: Behind the Sign

They're in every city across the Triad. Panhandlers stand on corners, a homemade sign in hand, hoping you'll roll down your window and give.

Some are feeding their hungry bellies, others a drug addiction. Oftentimes it can be hard to tell the difference.

If you spend any time in the midtown area of Greensboro, you might've seen Trip.

"I couldn't work anymore so I started doing this about twice a month after my disability runs out,” said Trip.

He’s what some would refer to as living on borrowed time. "Found out I had stage 4 lung cancer,” recalled Trip. “I went into the hospital because I was splitting up blood."

That was more than a year ago.

"They told me I had about a year left and I've made it 15 months so I'm just so grateful every day I get up, I give Him thanks for it.," said Trip.

Trip shares his gratitude with just about every car that passes. His sign doesn't ask for money or claim to be something he's not.

"My message on here is true, it's what's in my heart," said Trip, referring to his cardboard sign that reads All glory be God’s. Anything helps. God bless.

So how's the response?

"There are days when you have a lot of blessings, people bless you, then there are other days where they're far and few between."

Location can be a big factor. Trip likes the Target shopping Center on Lawndale. But on this day, while I was out there with him not one person stopped to give. The only interaction he got was when one driver slowed down enough to yell at him out the window.

Still, he stays hopeful.

"I don't expect people to respond but I certainly am grateful when they do," said Trip. "If you hit one out of every 30 cars, you're doing good. And you might hit 3 or 4 cars right in a row."

And that could be a make or break by day's end. "There's days you might make $60-$100 and there's other days you might make $20."

A difficult reality for someone who's new to this type of thing.

"It's a humbling experience to have to do this after you've worked your whole life to have to come out here and do this,” admitted Trip.

The money Trip makes today will go to pay for food, doctor bills and medication. Even though the coming days and weeks aren't promised, he's choosing to live them positively, no matter what.

“When the Lord's ready for me, He's going to let me know and come get me, but until then, until I feel like He's telling me this is the end, I'm here and I'm going to make the best of each day I have," said Trip.

 

Panhandlers in North Carolina must apply for and prominently wear a business permit every year. Right now, 184 people in Greensboro have permits.

Compare that to 139 the year before.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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