As Stacey approached the street canvasser, she quickened her pace. She looked straight ahead, never diverting her eyes, like she was walking toward a friend. She knew it was silly but there were no other pedestrians on the street this morning. Obviously she would be targeted. At least the inertia would carry her through the exchange without more than a shooing gesture.
But as she passed by, the canvasser made no attempt to speak to her. Stacey walked to the end of the block and looked back. The canvasser was standing firmly, a WWF logo on her shirt, and pictures of animals on her binder. She was clearly working.
Stacey turned around to walk back in the other direction. She walked at a casual pace as she passed by the canvasser. Stacey looked the woman in the eye as she passed and received a polite nod in return. However, she wasn’t stopped and she continued to the end of the block in the other direction. Offended, she walked right up to the canvasser.
“Hello,” she said.
“Good morning,” replied the smiling canvasser.
“I walked by twice and you didn’t stop me.”
“There was no need.”
“Why is that? Because you concluded that I’m cheap bitch just by looking at me?”
“Because they’re dead.”
Stacey drew a sudden breath and held it. “The animals are dead?”
“Even those ones?” she pointed to the pictures on her binder.
“Especially those ones.”
Stacey welled up and pursed her lips to contain a gulp. She pulled twenty dollars out of her wallet. “How much do you need?”
But the canvasser waved it off. “Nothing.”
“I’ll give anything!” Stacey pulled out twenty after twenty.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“One hundred dollars?”
“Five hundred dollars?!”
“I won’t take it.”
“One thousand dollars!”
“Actually…” the canvasser cocked her head in thought. “A thousand might do it.” Stacey filled out the form hastily, as if the cute animals were standing right there, moments away from death, and only a direct injection of dollars would save them. She handed back the clipboard along with her money.
“Thank you,” said the canvasser, “This is going to go a long way to help these animals.”
“I thought they were dead.”
“Yeah, these ones are. You can’t help these animals. They’re already hats.”
Stacey walked away feeling confident. Today she had done something different, done her part to make the world a better place.
Two blocks down she approached another canvasser who pointed at her and said “Hey, nice jacket! You have a great smile! Are you interested in helping young girls?”
“Get a real job!” Stacey screamed.