Bumming has really gotten a lot more sophisticated these days.
A few days before I left for Switzerland, my fiancee Yolanda and I were stopped on the corner by a couple who told us that they were in town and getting ready to open up a local P.F. Chang's franchise restaurant but were stranded since their car was towed and impounded. They had been all around downtown DC, including to local churches, asking for help but hadn't really gotten any. The churches had been uncooperative because, according to the guy (who was quite well-dressed incidentally), they have a central coordinating committee which decides who is going to receive help but unfortunately they were all closed.
Long story short (and he did make it into quite a yarn), both of them were stranded in DC with $2000 in cash in their impounded car inside his wallet which his wife wouldn't let him bring. They told us they had about $80 but that wasn't enough for a hotel and they needed just a little bit more.
That was quite a strange story, especially the part about leaving the wallet in the car, and it seemed just a little too far-fetched for us. We didn't have any money anyway but could have gotten some if we had wanted to.
I hadn't given the incident a second thought until early this morning when Yolanda emailed me to say that she had seen the couple on the street Saturday night, wearing different clothes but apparently up to the same thing.