The Panhandler User Experience
Panhandlers. Beggars. People who spend their days asking the age old question “Brother, can you spare a dime.” Every big (and some small) city has them and their approach is always the same… “Excuse the interruption. I lost my job, have no place to live, have no food, have 8 kids and need any money you can spare.”
They work the corners and ATM machines. On the subway, they move from the front car all the way to the back telling the same story over and over. They follow the exact same formula day in and day out with the same result. It has become so commonplace that people don’t look up or even blink at some of the saddest stories you can imagine.
Recently on a seemingly usual ride on the F train in New York City a man stood up and announced:
“The next stop is the 23rd street station. Connections can be made to the X,Y,Z trains. Up on the street you will find Barnes & Noble, Staples, Starbucks and The Container Store. Please be sure to pick up any newspapers you have left behind to help keep our subway system clean. Thank you and have a nice day.”
Every (now smiling) passenger was totally focused on him. He delivered a message that was concise, valuable and totally relevant to the people listening to it. He did it with energy and a friendly smile.
His delighted audience paid him generously for it.