As children we are all taught to consider those less fortunate.

Whether it be selling lemonade, taking part in sponsored runs or can drives to help those in need, we all like to think we do our bit.

And that's the way it should be. After all, it could be you or me who one day needs the help of others, financially or otherwise.

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But something that has come to my attention recently in Hawke's Bay is a small minority who appear to be preying on the goodwill of others.

And what is even more concerning is the manner in which they approach their target. You may feel target is too a strong word, but in this case I think it is justified.

On the last two occasions that I have walked along Russell St, Hastings, in the early evening I have been approached. The conversation both times was almost exactly the same.

"Hey Mister, do you have any spare coins?"

I told the young man approaching the passenger side of my parked car that I didn't.
Almost as if rehearsed, he then inquired as to whether I had any spare notes. Before the "no" left my lips I was quickly offered another option.

"How about you just go back in (the Subway restaurant) and get me something?"
I hastily got in my car and headed back to work. If I felt that someone was in genuine need of help, I would have no hesitation in assisting them. But there seems to be an increase in opportunists.

The expensive trainers, caps and jackets tend to be a giveaway that they aren't in any desperate need.

A colleague was approached in a similar way. When she declined to hand over coins she was met with a tirade of abuse.

The annoyance of being approached in this way while minding your own business is one thing. But, as my mother would say, the sheer cheek of it is even more frustrating.
Why do these people think it is okay to ask and intimidate others for their hard-earned cash?