I generally didn't give money, and I worked in a downtown area where I was constantly approached. But I would stop and talk. There was one particular man that I got to know quite well. He told me he had served during Vietnam and had terrible back problems. Then one day I saw him in an unfamiliar place. He didn't see me, and it was quite far from his usual corner. As he walked, he couldn't coordinate his arms and legs. His back was clearly crooked and siezed up. I had never seen him walk. This type of deformity would be hard to fake, his back was bent sideways.
Than he disappeared. It was quite a while, and I thought about him. He showed up one day, smiling and as sweet as ever. He always had a kind word to say. I asked him where he had been. He said he was in the hospital. His old injuries has caused some serious complications and he was down for quite a while.
From that point on, I put money in his cup. I knew he was probably on disability. Maybe he drank. He didn't sit at home though, he went out to try and get money. It was hard work, and judging from the difficulties I secretly witnessed with my own eyes, I knew it was exceptionally hard for him. I decided I would trust him to use the money as he saw fit. It was out of my surplus, and I never missed it. I really believed he had given up his health for my country, and I didn't feel adequate to judge him any longer.