I rarely look up from my school work when I’m on the train, but recently something has grabbed my attention and refused to let go: Homeless women carrying babies while pan-handling on the train. Are they really benign beggars in need of help or is there something else going on here?
Notice how I said “women” and not “a woman.” That’s right. I’ve seen more than one. In fact, the startling thing is, I think I’ve seen around five distinct women carrying a baby begging for money on the subway. It seems too strange to be a coincidence that suddenly all these women show up on the subway suddenly in need of money. But there are other things that smell fishy here.
First, all the women spoke with some foreign accent. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but from my experience, it sounded eastern European. It was also clear that English wasn’t their first language. I remember clearly that each one would begin like this as soon as they walked out of the previous train car: “Ladies and Gentlemen, sorry for disturb.” Yes, they nearly all said it like this.
Despite the fact that none of them spoke English well, I noticed the sign they had (they all carried a rectangular sign made of cardboard) was written in perfect English: “Please help me. I lost my job and can’t support my baby” or something along those lines. How is it that they can’t speak English but were able to write up the sign? Someone else had to have done it for them. Okay, fine. But is there a different “someone” for each of these women that I’ve seen or is it the same person?
Here’s the strangest thing: I think I’ve seen one woman on two occasions with a different child strapped around her. What?
My Paranoid Theory
Multiple women begging for money on the subway with the same story. They’re single mothers who’ve lost their jobs, have a child to support and have no other options. If I did indeed see one woman with two different babies, then I’m a little worried here.
Perhaps I’ve watched too many episodes of Law & Order, but I think that these women may be smuggled into the US by some foreign entity in exchange for begging like this. It makes sense to me. Of all the homeless people that shuffle through the subway, who would you be most inclined to give your money to, the semi-mentally ill old man that smells like booze or the struggling mother with a child? I have a feeling that these women rake in a lot of money doing this and it goes straight to the “someone” that wrote the signs and possibly brought them into the US.
Worst of all, there are children involved. How many, I don’t know. Maybe a few, maybe quite a lot. The point is their welfare is endangered by situations like these. They can’t possibly stay with these women in the streets if their stories are to be believed.
Maybe I’m the crazy one, just thinking too deeply about a situation I don’t really know. The numbers just don’t add up for me here. If they were really in trouble, any decent homeless shelter would take them in a heart beat, a mother and her baby. But they’re not in shelters, they’re on the train.