DEAR HARRIETTE: I take the subway every morning to go to work, and there is always someone panhandling for money. I usually give a dollar or two when I can. I recently found out that it is now illegal to give money to panhandlers on the subways. This really upset me, because I'm a law-abiding citizen, and I know there are people who can benefit when they are given money directly, as opposed to going through a charitable organization.
The next time I'm on the subway, should I just ignore the people who ask for money? -- Cheerful Giver, Queens, N.Y.
DEAR CHEERFUL GIVER: It's wonderful to see that you are a giving person. I'm sure the people with whom you share are happy about that.
Feel free to continue to give money to people on the street. However, I would not recommend continuing to give on the subway. It has been illegal for decades to solicit money on buses or subways in New York City because in each of these environments, passengers are a captive audience. Whether you want to give or not, you are forced to be in close proximity to someone who is actively asking you to give, without the option of walking away.
Just wait until you are outside and then give as much as you want.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I messed up. I got arrested for driving while intoxicated. I was fortunate that my license was not taken away from me. I filed for emergency hardship, which means I can drive my car only during a 12-hour-a-day period, five days a week. I have to choose which two days I will not drive.
Here's my problem: I'm active in my church, and my wife just had our second child three weeks ago. My wife is not pleased with me at this time. I've been placed on probation for six months, and I feel that I can handle it with no problems. But it's going to be a long six months in my house, and I need some help to gain my wife's trust. -- Say When, Atlanta
DEAR SAY WHEN: You just had a serious wake-up call with the DUI. It's natural that your wife isn't pleased with you. With tremendous responsibilities before you, you did not behave responsibly.
The way to gain back her trust is to take care of yourself and your family. Get some counseling for your alcohol use. Be honest about your consumption, and figure out if you need help curbing your drinking.
Get spiritual counseling as well. Talk to your pastor and ask for guidance on how to get grounded again. Pay close attention to your life. To keep everything in order, you may want to write a list each day that includes everything you have to do, including family, work, spiritual and personal duties. Check off each one after you have completed it. Good luck.