A couple months ago I was on a commuter train with my older daughter, who will be 8 in November. We were waiting for the train to pull out of the station when a woman got on and announced that she was homeless, a widow, and something "really bad" had happened to her and her children that afternoon. She needed to raise $15 before the end of the day.
I have seen this woman on the subway in the city several times, and she always tells the same story. Needless to say, I wasn't buying what she was selling. But little E was completely captivated and as the story became more compelling, she looked at me with pleading blue eyes and implored me to give this woman some money. I just shook my head "no" as the woman walked past us and then off the train.
E immediately turned and looked at me disapprovingly. "Daddy! Why didn't we help her?"
"Sweetie," I said, "I've seen that lady in the subway and on the train before and she always tells the same story. She's not telling the truth."
"Oh," said E knowingly. "Alcohol?"