In 2014 many of the passersby who saw this pregnant woman standing outside a shopping center in San Diego, California, no doubt delved deep into their pockets to help her out. They didn’t know, however, that she was harboring an awful secret.
Melissa Smith had often noticed this panhandler at the Eastlake Plaza center. After all, the unidentified woman was with her child and carried a cardboard sign pleading for help. “I felt bad, there’s a pregnant lady with a little boy and is down on her luck,” Smith told Oklahoma news channel KFOR-TV in 2014. “The dad comes out on the weekends and stands with them.”
Sadly, such sights are not uncommon across the United States. And contrary to some misconceptions, the majority of panhandlers obtain no more than $25 per day, according to a 2013 survey. The same study also revealed that 94 percent of panhandlers spent donated cash on food despite the fact that as many as three out of ten are blighted by drug or alcohol addictions.