Need $5 For College – A Panhandler’s Tale

Alright, so I’ve gotten accepted into the Spring 2010 CareerStart Program at Walt Disney World. It starts in February. I still had to pay my $100 fee before the two week deadline of October 14th, 2009. Well two days before then I still hadn’t paid it yet. I had the $100 in cash, but I needed to use a debit or credit card to pay the fee over the internet. Originally I had planned to give the cash to a friend and have them use their card. This plan fell through. So there I was, unsure of what the next 48 hours would bring. Could I get some random person to spend $100 from their credit card on some site that has nothing to do with them just so I could get a job in Feb? That doesn’t really sound like the best way to go about getting help. Not to mention how I’d much rather be the helper than the helpee. Earlier I was told that those gift debit cards aren’t accepted on the site as payment. Well I called CareerStart Recruiting and they told me that was incorrect. So now I just had to get one of those cards. As I said, I had the $100 needed for the program in cash, however all those cards have activation fees. Between my father and myself, I had $2.89 in change. Not enough for the $5.95 activation fee. So again I was wondering how I would come up with a couple of extra bucks needed for the card, which I would pay the program assessment fee, which would help my future.

I knew I could have gotten what I needed from some friend who where hanging out at Disney. But being the kind of person I am, I’d much rather ask a little from multiple strangers than a lot from a friend. So I got out some poster board my dad had lying around from a previous project of his, as well as a Sharpie. In big bold letters I wrote: “NEED $5 FOR COLLEGE” and packed it into my guitar case underneath my acoustic guitar. Then I hopped on the bus and got off a few stops later. Closer to more of the tourist businesses. I propped open my case, threw that $2.89 in change I had in it and set up the sign. I was at a bus stop right next to the highway, so when there was traffic going by, you couldn’t really hear anything. Well after about 20 to 25 minutes of playing some Green Day songs, as well as some random jamming, a car drives by. After the car stops, it backs up, and the driver rolls down the window and is holding a $5 bill. I got up and walked over to receive his generous donation. I thanked him over and over again before he drove away. Then I packed up my gear and headed to Walgreens to buy that $100 Visa Gift Card.

Upon arriving home, I was feeling rather successful and proud of what I had just accomplished on my own. Since it was still the unusually hot second week of October, I decided to cool off inside before going out to get online. An ice cold Lipton Green Tea later I was logging into the CareerStart site. Going over all my information, making sure it’s all correct, I finally get to the payment page. I had just registered the gift card online prior to this as well. I fill in the card info and click “Submit”. The page refreshes with “DECLINED” in big red letters. I try again… DECLINED. I try again and again, about 5 or 6 times, all of which have the same outcome. Now I’m worried again. I write the CareerStart recruiting team an email explaining my dilemma. Well it seems that time was all I needed to wait for because as soon as I sent the email, I tried using the card again and this time it worked. I felt as instantly relieved as a parent does when their kid takes a fall then get’s up laughing and unharmed. So now I send another email to CareerStart asking them kindly disregard the last one.  And now here I am. Officially in the program. Now all I do is wait the 111 days until my check in date of February 8th, 2010. I also should start shopping for the stuff I’m going to need to take with me when I move in. Anyway, I felt this was an exciting page in the story of my life so I wanted to post it here.

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