Sunday, September 09, 2018

The crazy-generous people working in Central Park

I did my scheduled volunteer shift in the Central Park kiosk today, handing out free maps and telling people where to find the Alice in Wonderland statue and Strawberry Fields. Even though it was drizzly the whole shift there were still people out and about, needing maps and directions.

I'm a volunteer but there are lots of people in the Park working hard, trying to make a buck and they are so generous to me - too generous in my opinion. Last time I did a shift there, the guy with the ice cream cart parked nearby gave me a free ice cream.

But this week was something else - the pedicab guy looked like he wasn't getting any customers - I guess the kind of hardy souls willing to explore Central Park in the rain are not the kind who want to ride in pedicabs. So while I was in the kiosk he asked me if I was cold. When I allowed I was a little cold he bought me a coffee and wouldn't take my money. And I mean, I crumpled up a five-dollar bill and threw it out of the kiosk at him and he still wouldn't take it.

So then I got the clever idea to repay him by asking him to drive me from the east side of the park over to Central Park West, figuring he would have to take my money then, and I would give him extra in the tip to cover the coffee. Well he even tried to get out of taking payment for that - hauling my lazy ass across the park in the rain, for free.

Well I was prepared for him this time - as soon as he stopped, I hopped out of the cab and ran for it, after leaving $25 in his cab. He had to take it then. 

I say the same thing to these guys, every time they try to give me something free: "you're in New York City, dude, you need to keep every dollar you can get!"

And the worst thing is that I don't have anything to give back to them. Sure I can give them a free map but everybody who asks gets a free map. And they don't need a map of Central Park anyway, they practically live there. But I just can't believe how generous they are, especially when they are working long hours in sometimes very unpleasant conditions. You gotta love them. While coming up with tricks to pay them back.

In this photo you can see the cart across the street from the kiosk, where the pedicab guy bought me coffee. I should have gotten a picture of the pedicab guy.