Everything is not always as it seems

Have a Nice Day!
Every day at 7 a.m., he’s dropped at the corner West Madison and Whacker Drive, propped up on the reddish stone of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange building.
Twisted fingers brush past the stubbled face, his body locked in the embrace of cerebral palsy. A tin cup rests on the pad they’ve given him.
“Have a nice day!” he says to the comers and goers of The Merc, the tourists drawn to the chaos of pork belly futures traded in the pit.
Pity helps fill the cup, which is mysteriously emptied throughout the day. He’s picked up and gone by 6 p.m.
I’ve watched for a week now.
“Have a nice day!” and people have to step over withered legs turn away from the constant ropy saliva that hangs from his chin.
An older Town and Country station wagon pulls up and an older man and woman hurry to the crumpled body. The woman wipes a loving hand over his curly brown hair, puts a red-and-black stocking cap on his hear.
I confront them.
“How could you?” I scream. “He’s just a kid.”
“He’s 21 and makes more than $200 a day,” the woman says, wiping spit from her boy’s face. “He’s all there, knows everything there is to know about math and such. Knows everything about The Merc, wants to be a trader, but he’s locked away in that body…
“He’s saving for a wheelchair that will give him his freedom, let him speak by computer.”
The power chair he’s got his eye on is $28,000.
“He’s got maybe a month of this left,” she says. “He insists on paying his own way and everything he’s got is tied up in a money market account, earning interest daily.”
“Have a nice day!” and he smiles.
I dig into my charcoal wool slacks, fish out my money clip. There’s $328. I fold the bills, slip them into his shirt pocket, turn and walk up Whacker.
I’m having a fabulous day, thank you.

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