The Mendicant And The Philanthropist

A woman dresses in worn-out clothes and looks hungry. She clutches a polythene bag in her left hand. A rich man stops at the traffic and she bends over his car, arm stretched out to him.

Mendicant: Sir, please help me. My husband is dead. My children are hungry and out of school. I lost my job a few months ago and can’t fend for them. Please help me.

Philanthropist: So sorry for your loss.

Mendicant: Thanks. It has not been easy with three kids.

Philanthropist: Take this money, help yourself and your kids with it. Take care.

Mendicant: Oh! Thank you. God bless you. May favour follow you. May you see your children’s children.

Philanthropist: ( smiles) Amen. Bye.

Mendicant: Bye. Be blessed beyond measure.

One week later

Mendicant: (not recognising the philanthropist) Sir, please help me. My husband is dead. My children are hungry and out of school. I lost my job a few months ago and can’t fend for them. Please help me.

Philanthropist: (frowns) Begging is not good for you madam. Go find a job or find something reasonable and responsible to do to make money. Stop begging.

Mendicant: (sniffs) Sorry sir, I have no one to stand by me financially to start me off. Business needs capital. If I had money, I wouldn’t indulge in this shameful act. Personally, I don’t like it but it’s the only option I have to keep me and my children alive.

Philanthropist: I understand what you’re going through. ( takes his chequebook from his briefcase writes some amount and signs it) take this check. It’s two million naira.

Mendicant: (kneels on the roadside screaming) Oh my good God! Thank you. Thank you, sir. Oh my good God. Thank you, sir, Everything you seek you shall find. Thank you. Thank you. Oh my God. ( jumps and skips)

Philanthropist: (grins) Amen. It’s okay. When you cash it, start a good business. Help yourself with it and stop begging. Begging is not safe for you. You could fall into wrong hands.

Medicant: My God bless you, sir! Thanks for your kindness sir.

Philanthropist: If I see you beg again, I will arrest you.

Mendicant: Why should I beg after this? It’s over sir. My problems are over. You’re a godsend. ( jumps, skips and bows)

Two months later. Somewhere remote. Philanthropist’s friend drives. Philanthropist sits on the passenger’s side.

Mendicant: (not noticing the philanthropist) Sir, please help me. My husband is dead. My children are hungry and out of school. I lost my job a few months ago and can’t fend for them. Please help me.

Philanthropist’s friend: ( takes money from the wallet and gives)

Philanthropist: (steps out of the car, talks over the car) Madam what are you doing? You promised.

Mendicant: (frowns) Do I know you, sir? I don’t think I’ve seen you before sir.

Philanthropist: You’re such an opportunist. (Looks at his friend) Arrest her!

Mendicant: (thinks his friend is a policeman and runs away)

Philanthropist’s Friend: What is wrong with you? That’s a poor woman.

Philanthropist: Shes not poor. She’s a multi-millionaire.

Philanthropist’s Friend: How do you know that? She doesn’t look that rich. She looks hungry and poor. Leave her alone. It’s her life.

Philanthropist: Follow her. I want to find out where she stays and what is really wrong with her.

Philanthropist’s Friend: I don’t think it’s a good idea. Leave the poor woman alone.

Philanthropist: Tell me, why a rich person should beg.

Philanthropists friend: Just leave her alone. No one enjoys begging. There must be a reason for her actions.

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