A 26-year-old man who has been panhandling for months on the streets of Houston admitted that he begs drivers for cash in order to avoid getting a job, reports KHOU 11 (video below).
Jesse Wellman says that he recently moved to the Houston area from Wisconsin for a warmer climate, but has begged in different states as well.
“Yesterday, I made $250 with a 'Hopeless Dad' sign,” says Wellman, adding, “Honestly, I don’t have a kid … But people do like to help out.”
And Wellman does not think he's doing anything immoral.
He claims he is never aggressive and does not force anyone to give him cash; he feels that donating to him makes people feel good.
Wellman lives in his car, where he keeps all the tools and resources needed to panhandle every day, including books on how to be a good salesman.
"Usually I try to make it as bold as I can," Wellman says in the video, as he writes "Broke, Anything Helps" with a black marker on a piece of cardboard.
When questioned if he believes panhandling is an occupation, Wellman replies, "Well I would consider it sales and marketing for sure."
"Totally their choice, not forcing them, just kindly asking and if they choose to give — then you've made the sale," he adds.
Panhandling has been quite lucrative for the 26-year-old. Wellman makes more money than at his previous job, as he puts it, "basically relying on other people's generosity."
Despite a recovering economy, young people like Wellman are still left in the cold. According to a report by MarketWatch, around 40 percent of unemployed workers are millennials.
"You're able-bodied, you're a young man, you are choosing not to work," KHOU 11 News reporter Alice Barr tells the panhandler in the video. "So where is the need in there?"
"Well the need is I've been unable to hold a job," Wellman replies. "I get really bored all the time."
He says he even considers what he does a “service.”
"I'm definitely selling something on the corner, whether that's their self-importance to be a good person," says Wellman. "Then they feel good, like 'Hey I'm a good person, I did a good thing.'"
As for the significance in a hard day's work, Wellman says, "I just think about the bottom line I guess."
Wellman insists that he uses the money to pay down debt and student loans, not for drugs or alcohol. When asked about his future plans, he says he doesn’t know, but appreciates his freedom in the meantime.