Everyone has a past. It is difficult to judge what a person has been through or where they are coming from. A policeman compared to a person panhandling on the side of a street, both have faced a very different set of circumstances that led them to where they are in their lives. For a panhandler, usually, its a series of bad decision making and unfortunate events that push a person to the point of standing in front of strangers with an empty hand. But is that always the case?

Two men were on their way to work in Richmond, Virginia. They go from the same route every day, see the same streets, the same people. One day, however, something changed. The men notice a panhandler behaving strangely. The woman, who was unaware that she is being watched, does something in the next instance which took the men by surprise.

Richmond, Virginia

It was a cloudy morning in Richmond, Virginia. Jake was waiting outside Paul’s house, expecting him to come out of the door any minute now. On days like these, when Paul is slightly late for work, Jake overthinks if carpooling is the best decision after all. He is tired of getting late and then being stuck in traffic at the signal every day. 


Due to heavy traffic, Jake and Paul have to wait at the traffic signal for at least 30 minutes as the cars slowly move forward. Traffic during the rush hour was a nightmare. But by this point, they were almost immune to the waiting. As a result, Jake was almost immune to waiting anywhere, even outside Paul’s house as he honks the horn repeatedly urging him to hurry up!


Paul headed out of his kitchen grabbing one piece of toast in one hand, his bag in the other. He headed out of the main door and is greeted by Jake’s glare. He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself. He has known Jake for quite a few years now, starting from being roommates in the first year of college and now working in the same company. He loved to complain about getting late for work, yet showed up the next day anyway.

 Hitting The Road

Paul got in the front seat and looked at Jake, who was still glaring. “Sorry, my alarm…”, he mumbled. Jake just rolled his eyes and started driving. After all, they both knew this isn’t the last time. Plus they can’t stay mad at each other anyway. And soon enough they were back to their banters. 

Rush Hour

Traffic was a nightmare as expected. The cars were barely moving by inches as they arrived on the traffic signal. Knowing that they will be here for a while, Jake put on some tunes to help them pass the time. Paul was busy with his thoughts staring blankly out the window, his head mindlessly bobbing to the music. 


Paul has been pondering on his startup idea for quite some time now. But he lacks the courage needed to quit his current job and start his own thing. He can’t ask Jake to come along and leave his stable corporate job for something as uncertain as to his ideas.