'No, I Am Not Homeless, I Am Not Hungry. Can I Give You a Dollar?'


A husband and wife from Michigan have made headlines for their idea to “reverse panhandle” at a busy intersection near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Riley and Hermi Combs, both in their 70s, decided to spend an afternoon giving money away to drivers, one dollar at a time.

Their reason? They believe in the power of random acts of kindness, and wanted to put some smiles on the faces of people in their community who could use a little levity in their day.

The couple has spent a lifetime carefully managing their own money with the intent of having enough money left over to give away to others.

“We always say, ‘The more we save, the more we can give,'” Hermi told MLive media. “It’s a fun way to live.”

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Armed with $100 dollars in single bills, Riley and Hermi held up their handmade reverse panhandling sign: “No, I am not homeless. I am not hungry. Can I give you a dollar?” the sign read.

The sign must have been a surprise to the Grand Rapids community, who are accustomed to seeing signs asking for help rather than offering.

Riley and Hermi said it took them about one hour to give all the money away. Drivers had mixed reactions to the sign, Hermi said.

“Many people said ‘God bless you,” or ‘This is awesome,'” she said.

“Some people said, ‘No, we don’t need anything.’ They probably didn’t read his sign or thought he wanted money,” she said of her husband who stood on the street corner while she went to take a few photos.

The Combs family has spent a lifetime giving and serving the Grand Rapids community.

They volunteer through their church, donate to missional efforts, help homeless people, and have bought bus passes to give away to people in need.

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While this retired couple could very well keep their time and money to themselves, they have found greater fulfillment in giving it all away.

The couple’s granddaughter said she is accustomed to seeing her grandparents find unusual ways to give back to the community, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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