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Shaky Lady


TRIBE Member
March 9, 2002
What a bummer!
Shaky Lady's routine strikes a nerve with Toronto's good-hearted citizens
By MIKE STROBEL -- Toronto Sun

If you're happy and you know it,

Spare some change.

(Ca-ching! Ca-ching!)

-- song sung by a panhandler named Glen at Bay and Bloor yesterday

A Good Samaritan helps out the Shaky Lady as the beggar works Yonge and Bloor yesterday.
Glen, 34, sat near one of the Shaky Lady's regular corners.

She was nowhere in sight, however.

I bet she saw her photo on our front page.

I wrote of how she makes a fortune looking pathetic. How her head and hands shake distressingly. How distraught passersby throw money at her. How photographer Alex Urosevic and I reckoned she cleared $2,500 a week, easy.

How, after a five-hour shift, she trots off to rendezvous with a Chevy Lumina. How the shaking is gone, her step lively.

I do not know where she was stepping lively yesterday but it was nowhere near Bay and Bloor.

Glen, meanwhile, waved a copy of the paper and shouted "I told you so!" at anyone who would listen.

Something about the Shaky Lady sure struck home. I think most of us are good of heart and we hate to see that abused.

Especially by someone who looks like our grandma.

Anyway, Ted Woloshyn woke me up at 7 and the phone and e-mail hummed all day.

"I feel like such a fool. I felt so heartbroken everytime I'd see her." -- Erika, Toronto.

"This is a disgrace to the homeless people who are really looking for help." -- Andrea, Guelph. A common sentiment, Andrea.

The folks at 52 Division feel the same.

"We're ecstatic she's been exposed," said Const. Andrew Hassall. "She was a slap in the face for everybody.

"She was bringing in the biggest haul of anyone in the city.

"Now everyone on the street has a fairer chance of getting a meal into their bellies."

The cops respond every time a worried citizen calls about the Shaky Lady, though they've known her act for years.

Panhandling, remember, is legal.

"Mel Lastman should look at the work former mayor Giuliani did to clean up New York City." -- Dimitra K.

"I think Toronto should do the same as Ft. Lauderdale. If you're going to beg you must have a licence." -- William, property manager.

"It is a shame that these people are taking money from those who could really use it. It would be great to expose one of (them) every week as a regular column." -- Ray W.

Thanks, Ray, but I'm not up to chasing bag ladies down alleys every week.

"My gawd, what a shock. A couple of Christmases ago, I gave her 60 bucks and a meal from McDonalds." -- Stephen Oberhammer, 25, Thornhill.

Many were amazed at our estimate of the Shaky Lady's haul.

"I'm thinking of a career change," wrote Ken D.

"Of all the nerve! I want my money back." -- Steve S.

If the Shaky Lady skips town, she better not set up shop in Thunder Bay.

"I am furious! I want to fly to Toronto and give her a piece of my mind and a swift kick!" -- Pamela C., Thunder Bay.

"I can't believe how foolish we all are. I have given that lady at least $20 over the past month. I have a wife at home with a 11/2 year old, with another child due in three weeks and my cheque barely covers our cost of living. Is it legal to pummel an old lady?" -- Andrew.

Well, you get the idea. The Shaky Lady is not Miss Popularity in downtown Toronto.

There also were a few who thought I should be on the street.

"Wow! What a feat of courageous and innovative reporting ... Poor Mr. Strobel and his equally courageous photographer ... risking arteriosclerosis at a Harvey's restaurant in downtown Toronto to spy on homeless people." -- Joe C.

Gimme a break, Joe. I had a veggie burger.

Just as well. If I'm to keep chasing the Shaky Lady, I better eat healthy.

She can really shake a leg.

this makes me mad...i gave that lady money religiously on my way to work all the time. as if shes pulling in over $100,000 a year for doing nothing but twitching. and i dont even have a job anymore. damn that shaky bitch.
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I've seen her around Toronto, but have never given her a dime. My logic was always how the fuck did she managed to get from Dundas and Yonge (where I have seen her) up to Bay and Bloor in the same day.

From the Ministry of too bad, she should be charged.

Prime Minister Highsteppa