Let’s be friends!


Michael McGuire

“I can’t grow facial hair that looks cool so I’m selling these cards and flag pins to make a living.”

If I crept up on you in your office and handed you a card that said that, would you give me money?

No?

Well, apparently I probably would.

I fell for a similar scam a few days ago.

Except the guy didn’t suck at growing a beard. Instead, he claimed he was deaf.

Ironically, I didn’t even hear him come up behind me. I was typing at my computer and he tapped my shoulder.

“Can I help you?” I said, a little startled, no idea who this guy is or what he wants.

No response.

Just staring, and silence.

It was awkward.

I was scared.

Then he hands me a card.

“Let’s Be Friends,” it read. “I am a deaf person selling these cards and flag pins for a living. I love you.”

The card had a chintzy American Flag pin attached to it. On the back was the alphabet for the deaf.

At the bottom it said “Donation, any price you wish.”

“Oh, you’re deaf and you need money,” I say out loud. “Now I understand. That makes perfect sense. Here.”

I handed him $3.

“Sound good?” I asked.

He thanked me in sign language and took off.

Only a real idiot says “sound good” to a deaf person.

I felt pretty stupid.

But, I felt even stupider the more I thought about the whole thing.

What did him being deaf have to do with selling pins for a living?

I actually got kind of mad.

This guy ambushes me at work, ignoring the “employees only” sign and receptionist’s desk, and startles me into forking over a few bucks – just because he’s deaf?

But I realized, the shame was all on me.

If a beggar who wasn’t deaf walked into my office unannounced and asked me for money, I would have told him/her to hit the bricks.

But this guy was “deaf,” so I didn’t. Instead, I gave him money, because, on instinct, I associated not being able to hear with needing a handout.

I don’t know many, but I’m guessing a handout is the last thing a deaf person needs or wants.

Lesson learned, hopefully.