83 miles on a caribou coin

Last Friday, while I was scooping up tokens from the TTC token machine at Dundas, a young girl approached me and begged me for a token.

Apparently, she came by Greyhound from Peterborough to meet a friend downtown, who blew her off and told her to just keep bumming money until she could take the TTC to Royal York station. She couldn’t been more than 14. She told me she’d been trying to panhandle for two hours.

Absolutely no cash? She only had a quarter, she claimed. Did she have a debit card? No money in the bank. How about credit card? All maxed out.

I was completely exasperated by this. First of all, I can’t swallow every cock and bull story every panhandler in downtown TO throws at me. Second of all, it galled me that someone could be so callous to travel 135 kilometres with nothing but two bits on them.

But what if her story was true? I did the only thing I could think of: I traded one of my tokens for her quarter, and gave her an insipid lecture. I then had to guide her to the right trains to get to Royal York, and explain why she should get a transfer.

“What was she waiting for?” I asked rhetorically.
“She was waiting for you,” Silverlotus said simply.

Maybe I feel like I need to save the dreamers. Maybe because I used to dream.

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