A Kentucky man makes a six-figure salary by pretending to be handicapped.
Gary Thompson spends his days panhandling in a wheelchair on the streets of Lexington and faking his mental and physical disabilities, LEX18 reported. After he was confronted by a group of reporters recently, the bogus beggar, who does have some difficulty walking, dropped the slurred speech and admitted that he earns $60,000 to $100,000 a year pulling at the heartstrings of passersby.
"I appreciate you guys busting me," Thompson told LEX18. "Yeah, I'm really good at it, really good…I am normal, it just helps to be mentally handicapped."
Thomspon, who burned through millions he made in a lawsuit after getting into a motorcycle accident, brings up the age-old question of whether generous people should give to homeless people or those asking for money on the streets.
While giving money to someone in need is gratifying, it usually isn’t what a homeless or struggling person needs most.
In 1999, HUD polled homeless people about what they were most in need of and found that 42 percent said they need help finding a job, 38 percent said they need housing and 30 percent said they need help paying rent or utilities.
Though homeless people or panhandlers such as Thompson may be aware of what they need most, many may also realize that they’re more likely to earn a buck if their situation seems particularly desperate, Derek Thompson wrote in the Atlantic back in 2011.
“We choose to donate money based on the level of perceived need,” he wrote. “Beggars known this, so there is an incentive on their part to exaggerate their need, by either lying about their circumstances or letting their appearance visibly deteriorate rather than seek help.”
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place