I know ya was a crook! Ya wretch ya, ya get ketch!
The above link is about the sticker lady. Who is the sticker lady? The sticker lady is this middle aged woman who one sees on Yonge street asking for donations to children's charities. She is a con-woman, a pure crook!
Now let me tell you about me and the sticker lady. Picture this: Spring 1992, Jdid juss a reach T-dot from foreign the year before, de gal a rush me and I have to beat dem off wid stick. True playa fa real ask puff daddy. yea yeah! Oh wait a minute sorry hallucinating again. Let me start over. Picture this: Spring 1992, Jdid juss a reach T-dot from foreign the year before and he was living on campus at University. First year away from family and loved one, adjusting to the lonely life in the big city, life as a minority and life in University, where he gained 15lbs freshman year (went from extremely maga to juss plain maga lol), all at the same time. Back in the days when I was a teenager. The sounds of A Tribe Called Quest Scenario Remix and Kris Kross' Jump filled my stereo along with artists like Black Sheep, Ice Cube, Slick Rick and Public Enemy. Back when I had the Pistons cap, the African medallion and the Kookabura hoodie. Back around the time of the disturbance/riot downtown Toronto in 92.
Had this thing for downtown Toronto (still do actually but I don't visit that often anymore), Yonge Street in particular. Maybe it was the preponderance of black folk that hung around Yonge and Dundas, going to the Worlds Largest Jeans Store or to the Eaton Centre's TV sized cinemas, before they decided to change up that area. It attracted hardcore hip hop heads, bums, youth with the same Caribbean accents as myself and this one particular bajan Muslim guy in whiterobes selling his incense on the corner but sneaking into the magazine shop a few doors down every now and then to look at porn (don't ask me how I know what the man used ta do, wunnah too malicious!).
Had to be the presence of HMV and Play-de Record, Star Sound (which changed its name to Traxxs a few years later and sadly closed about three years back and became a Quizno's sub place) and Sams and all the other record stores. See I was an addict, addicted to music (maybe its a habit, I gotta use it). Whatever it was, almost every Thursday evening, when the new shipment of hip hop came in to Play-De and StarSound from the U.S and many weekends you would catch me at some point walking around that area. Actually it was more than the record stores that attracted me, although undeniably that was a huge part, it was just the chance to get away from school and see everyday people. It was a good break from the stress of University.
Anyway it was a nice spring day, the first hints of green were appearing on the trees, the temperature was around 10C but felt warmer after my first experience of the freezing temperatures of the winter. I'm walking down Yonge Street just south of HMV by the flea market (now just boarded up with construction hoarding as they have been building something there for like the last 7 years which they haven't finished) with one of my bajan bredren, who I had known from home but had lost touch with and then ran into in that very same area, when she first came up to me and smiled and put this yellow circular sticker on my hand. "Sticker for the handsome gentleman?" she sort of said sort of asked as she placed it on my hand. I'm thinking to myself well that was kind of weird but still really friendly for this cold country that I was just getting used to and by cold I'm not describing the weather but actually the attitudes of its inhabitants.
Anyway she caught my attention and I stopped because I was curious. She was very softspoken and charming with eyes that sort of sparkled, not a hint of falsehood surrounding her, well in my opinion at least. She smiled and gave me some story, which in hindsight was rather vague, about collecting donations for some children's related charity. I thought naively well she asked so politely maybe I'll give her some of the spare change in my pocket. So I did and then that was it. I went along my merry way but still felt pretty good because of this random interaction amongst strangers on a busy street in Toronto.
Should have seen it as a con though because how often do people start off conversations with me with the words handsome. Damn, she played on my ego! I'm an idiot! Smart lady.
Fast forward to the next spring. I'm once again walking down Yonge Street this time a bit further north up by Sam's Record store and I'm once again confronted with a sticker on my hand and the same phrase "Sticker for the handsome gentleman?". This time now however I've had a full year to analyze the previous interaction, I'm hip to the game and I'm probably a bit more Jdid and a bit more street smart so sorry I have no cash to give you even if you do give me a sad look when I say no. But now I'm rather curious and after noticing her a few more times that year I kind of keep a look out for this lady and I watch her run the same line on stranger after stranger at various locations on Yonge street as the seasons change and as the clothing changes from heavy winter apparel to tank tops and jeans. She sometimes hangs out near the street youth up by the mission or most of the time closer to the busier intersections where there are more candidates for her to run her game on.
Its an interesting game she plays and quite a financially successful one it would seem for she keeps on working the same line over the years, here and in other Canadian cities apparently until finally it looks like they caught up with her (see link at top of this). Now they've discovered her $300,000 house in the suburbs and her nice SUV and the fact that none of the money she collects goes to charities. FRAUD! Well I didn't know about the house and car but I knew at some point 12 years ago that this money wasn't going towards any charity.
She caught me and probably numerous folks with that word handsome but later that was what clued me in to the con. Of course what does she care if I figured it out later she still got my cash. Sometimes I'm so stupid. When a man ugly like me and you start off with those words all sorts of alarms should go off.
Thing is though its cases of cons like this and the one with the shaky lady (excellent con. trust me if you ever saw her you couldn't help but have pity) that leaves one jdid and skeptical about helping the real street folk that need help. I realize that there are genuine lost souls out there who really do need some help at some point or the other because they are down on their luck although I don't really think one should encourage too much begging. Still it is the Christian thing to do to help your fellow man right? But when you get situations with frauds and confidence people you wonder whose story is real and whose is a fraud and why should I help the frauds make more money than I do or build an empire from my cash? And if I cant discern the fraud from the real why should I help at all. I'm not giving you money so you can play me. I tell ya this dat cant work atall!
Actually as an aside maybe the sticker lady started a trend because I'm seeing legit charities asking for money on the streets more.
Anyway I'm glad that the sticker lady has been exposed as a con woman. Its sad because it will probably make folk a bit more skeptical about giving to street folk but in the long run its probably for the good of society.