It was a lovely Christmas gift. My daughters had snagged an overnighter at Bally's in Atlantic City for Cathy and me. Not being a gambler myself the truth is I was a fish out of water! The machines blinked, sang, spoke and beckoned to us from all directions. We were surrounded! Armed with bags of coins painstakingly separated into pennies, nickles and quarters we were prepared to beat those one-armed bandits at their own game!
Frankly, it was a humbling experience. I'm not used to being so totally clueless but the casino attendant was gracious and sensitive to my embarassment. As it turns out Atlantic City casino machines haven't used coins in AT LEAST 10 years! After her kindly tutorial not 5 minutes had passed until we were flirting with Lady Luck along with all the rest. We won, we lost then we won again. We insisted on a set amount of money to gamble. We stuck to our limit and ended our foray into the gambler's realm a winner- however modest! All things considered we fully enjoyed our weekend.
It was what I saw OUTSIDE the casino that inspired this post. There were people roaming Atlantic City's famous boardwalk offering a ride in the American version of a rickshaw. The day was cold, rain threatened and these men trolled the boardwalk pushing their two person vehicles for $2 a ride. On a cold mid-week day like this there were virtually no boardwalk strollers and an abundance of people hawking rides.
One man offered his service and I politely declined. He spoke up and confessed that some people either treat him like he was invisible or talk down to him. He told me he appreciated being treated with respect. I was glad to do so. These are the invisible citizens who do whatever it takes to stay alive. Humble though their work may be there is a certain dignity in it.
If you should visit Atlantic City and see these "invisibles" peddling their wares, please afford them the respect they deserve for choosing to earn a living this way instead of climbing in your bedroom window to burgle your home!