A few days ago, I left my apartment to get some brandy at a nearby OXXO at around 9 PM more or less.
I had already bought dinner later that night so I didn’t need to hunt for food anywhere
Once I got inside the OXXO, I notice there was a huge ass line.
Right away, the employee behind the cash register told me that I “can’t walk in with my backpack.”
Which was weird to me because I had walked in here and countless other OXXOs with a backpack before.
I guess he was worried that I’d steal something since they were so busy that they can’t watch me?
Anyway, I pretended to not understand and got behind the line anyway.
Soon after, some security guard walked up to the front door from the outside and kept his eye on me.
First time in a long time that I’ve ever been a potential suspect for future theft.
“Oh yes, I have travelled thousands of miles to Mexico to steal your bag of doritos! FEAR ME MEXICANITOS!!!”
Anyway, there was one older man standing in front of one of the cash registers offering a SHIT TON of change.
Like 500 pesos in coins from the looks of it.
Who was obviously the main suspect in holding up the line.
Then they had another employee walk up to the other cash register to take in customers as the line grew even bigger behind me.
Soon enough, I get to the front.
I ask for “El Presidente Brandy.”
The dude reaches for the small one and I said “no, el grande.”
He then looks for the bigger bottle.
“No hay” he said.
So I point at this blue bottle of vodka that they have.
As he reaches for it, I could see a bottle that resembled “El Presidente” but I couldn’t see the logo on it.
However, it damn sure looked like “El Presidente.”
So I said to him in Spanish “that ain’t it?”
He turns to look around and says “this bottle? No.”
But he pointed at the bottle right in front of the one I was looking at.
“No, the one behind it” I said.
He then kneels down to grab it and check.
“Quieres eso?” he asked.
“Yes!” I responded.
And that was it.
The price? 152.
I gave him a 500 peso bill.
He handed me my change.
A full 448 pesos.
A full 100 pesos than what I was owed!
An entire 5 bucks…
It’s actually the second time that I can remember someone this year in Mexico giving me back change that was noticeably higher than what I was owed.
I walked away with it.
“Better get out of here before he realizes his mistake and I’m poor again.”
To this day, I am 5 bucks richer!
Enough to buy 10 street tacos de pastor and a large order of fries in Lindavista.
Well, not exactly 5 bucks…
More like 4!
As I walked away, I felt like passing on the good luck.
Maybe give some of the money away to some homeless person.
I don’t really need the 5 bucks but someone else does.
So, as I walked towards my place, I see some homeless woman sitting against a building.
She literally looked like someone’s 900 year old Aztec grandmother.
Wrinkles all over her face.
Old looking AS FUCK.
This woman could literally tell me “recuerdo la llegada de Cristobal Colon. Que guapo era el señor” and i’d believe her.
So I walked up to her, pulled out a 100 peso note and gave it to her.
Her eyes got bigger for a second, looked up at me and back at the bill before saying “gracias” as I walked away.
Now, being honest, the money was going to whoever was the first person I saw that night.
Be it a homeless child.
Or a homeless grandmother.
Could’ve been an obvious crackhead whose having a mental breakdown even.
And the idea of giving the money to a homeless crackhead isn’t a bad idea either!
Though I can’t remember the last time (if ever) that I’ve had a conversation with a homeless crackhead in Mexico, I’m sure they would be ideal to give money to after.
After all, this is the type of person who can show you a good time!
Befriend one, right?
Then the dude always remembers you for the 5 dollar contribution.
Invites you to his latest crackhead get togethers with the homies where we all smoke crack on the side of the street or some shit.
Maybe a trans prostitute with a big ass beard standing across the street smoking a cigarette making me uncomfortable by staring at me for an uncomfortably long time?
And then we all head out to terrify some tourists together or smash open some trash bags in the street at 3 AM.
Sounds like a good time!
Unfortunately, no crackhead homeless folks were seen that night but at least someone’s favoriate forgotten grandmother got 5 bucks.
And, being serious, it did make me feel “good” to give her the 5 bucks.
Well, it’s typical of us gringos, no?
Feel Good Charity to the Poor Latin Americans
To be fair, I’m not the type to go around telling everyone that I just gave money to a homeless person.
But there are feelings that I sometimes have once in a blue moon where I feel a need to help out a random homeless person.
But my feelings for that depend on how much money I have in the bank.
If I’m as poor as when I was in Cuatro Caminos area, then my attitude is a “FUCK YOU GO AWAY” to anyone who wants my money.
If I don’t feel financially strained? Then I slowly crawl out of that mindset with a more liberal attitude eventually of “OK, let’s maybe give a few pesos to this person.”
It’s always a few pesos though – 10 at most.
I just gave those 100 pesos because it technically should’ve stayed at the OXXO.
So, technically, it shouldn’t have been mine.
But you do have this greater attitude by gringos you see common enough that is relevant to the story here.
This “OMG EVERYONE HERE IN LATIN AMERICA IS SO POOR! I MUST HELP THEM BY GIVING THEM LOTS OF MONEY!”
This same attitude also helps said gringo ignore any moment where he gets fucked over by a local.
“OMG EVERYONE IN LATIN AMERICA IS SO POOR! THEY EAT DIRT AND FUCK THEIR COUSINS! NO WATER AT HOME! I SHOULDN’T BE MAD AT THEM IF THEY STEAL MY PHONE AND STAB ME IN THE KIDNEY! HERE, POOR LITTLE THIRD WORLDER, HAVE MY WIFE TOO! YOU NEED IT AFTER ALL YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH!”
“Que mierda…..” dice el latino.
Being honest, there’s an element of me with this at times when I’m not financially struggling.
Granted, as readers know, I can get angry at ANYONE trying to fuck me over.
Just because you’re poor doesn’t mean I’m going to let you fuck me over.
Want to fuck me over? Fuck you.
When Heart Strings are Pulled
Having said that, when I’m not financially poor, it is true that sometimes the heart strings are pulled at the sight of poverty.
Even for me.
Even after all the years I’ve spent down here so far.
Granted, if it’s like a homeless dude in his 30s or 40s, then no heart strings are pulled.
I don’t give a shit.
If it’s a woman carrying a child that isn’t even hers as I wrote here, then some heart strings might be pulled!
Or if it’s a homeless kid.
For example, when I lived by El Centro, I once saw a homeless kid looking visibly distressed all alone sitting against a building at 3 AM when I walked to get some tacos.
Did I offer the kid any money?
No, I kept walking.
But heart strings were pulled.
The 900 year old Aztec grandmother mentioned before?
Heart strings so pulled that they broke!
Well, OK, they didn’t break – my empathy for humanity isn’t that strong.
But it’s still a sad sight to see.
One I’m used to that it doesn’t impact me anymore.
But, buried underneath the experience, does still exist a smaller flicker that makes you want to help out a tiny bit with the specific types of homeless people above.
As I said, it’s normally 5 to 10 pesos.
Or 25 to 50 cents.
Not life changing money but you’re not reading the words of Bill Gates either.
For that little flicker does make me feel the need to give a few pesos away at times.
The Difference Between the Flicker & Exaggeration
And, if we’re being fair, that might be different than the idea in your mind when you think of “that type of gringo” mentioned before.
The one who uploads some video or blog article about how “OMG EVERYONE IN LATIN AMERICA IS SO DIRT POOR!”
I will agree that this type of gringo is very cringe.
And arguably offensive.
Not everyone in Latin America is THAT fucking poor.
Many live normal lives!
Most do actually.
With plenty of poor people also.
But even the poor folks – most of them – don’t live on the street.
Though that’s really the major point of this article.
Above everything else said, the major point being to briefly mention the existence of this type of gringo.
The one who just reiterates over and over again on how “OMG EVERYONE IS SO POOR IN LATIN AMERICA. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”
The Oregon Girl Example
It’s a little bit funny to me.
I can get why they say that if they are new here and haven’t seen as much poverty before if they came from a nicer background.
And, even if they are used to the poverty, I can get why they’d still have the heart strings pulled to give a tiny bit of money here and there to some homeless person.
It’s still very cringe though if said gringo goes too far with their exaggerations in saying “OMG EVERYONE IS SO POOR!”
Not everyone – cmon! Let’s not exaggerate, gringo.
It’s a minor topic but something you might notice among some gringos down here.
The most obvious one that comes to mind was this Oregon chick I met in Guatemala who, as I wrote here, was just SO SHOCKED at how people in Guatemala could be SO HAPPY with NOTHING.
They don’t all have NOTHING.
Perhaps this also explains why you have gringos going into favelas and other shit neighborhoods to show people JUST HOW POOR this neighborhood is on Youtube as you can see here.
Though, to be fair, I'm sure there's other reasons for the videos like that one above.
Anyway, let’s leave it at that.
I get the roots of why some think this way but it’s a bit cringe and offensive.
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Thanks for reading.