Man Visits Eugene, Has Conversations with 11 Panhandlers, Doesn’t Even Realize It

EUGENE, Ore. (BN) — A Midwestern man on a stroll through parts of Eugene alone Saturday wound up being stopped by 11 strangers, he told Brimborion News in an interview.

“They were all very friendly,” said Herman Cort, 51, of Bemidji, Minnesota. “We’re in town taking a tour of the university for my son, he’s enrolled here for the fall term. He and my wife decided to stay on campus, so I decided to head out and take a foot tour of Eugene on my own. It’s a lovely place.”

An avid walker, Cort wound up exploring the West University, Downtown and Whiteaker neighborhoods in his two-hour sojourn, and even browsed a marijuana dispensary. There, seemingly every time he passed a pedestrian or bicyclist, someone would stop, offer a friendly greeting and subsequently engage him in conversation.

“It made me feel pretty good,” Cort said.

When asked why he thought he may have been the catalyst for so many passing conversations, he replied, “I’m not sure. I do have a cheery outlook, and I like to smile and make eye contact with people. Everyone I spoke with did ask me for something, though, now that I think about it. Money for a bus ticket, cigarettes. More money. If they could use my cell phone, could I maybe give them a ride to their girlfriend’s. Money. More cigarettes. If I wanted to buy some drugs. If I could buy them some drugs. So. That doesn’t happen to everyone, right?”