This story was told to me by my brother. I believe he claimed it came from one of his partners on the city police force where he works, but may have just come from Police lore in general.
An off duty officer had stopped in one of those ‘full service’ rest stop areas on the interstate. (the one’s that include a gas station, rest area, gift shop, restaurant, etc.) While he was waiting in line, a guy in disheveled clothing was ‘working’ the crowd for handouts. The officer tried to ignore the man but eventually became the target of his solicitation.
“Hey,” said the man, “do you have any money?”
“No I don’t. Leave me alone,” said the officer trying to ignore the man in hopes he would go away.
“Then what was that you were just jingling in your pocket? It sounded like spare change. Why don’t you give me whatever that is in your pocket?”
Not realizing he had anything in his pocket or that he had been absent mindfully tapping his hand against his thigh, shaking whatever it was, he reached down in said pocket to remind himself what exactly it was making the ‘jingling’ sound.
Sure enough, along with a few spare coins, the officer came to realize that he had a couple of loose cartridges still there from his service revolver.
Thinking quickly, he pulled out one of them, looked at the man and tossed it in response to the beggar’s request for ‘what was in his pocket’ stating:
“OK, here you go….” and awaited the response.
The bewildered beggar looked at it somewhat confused and partially shocked. After giving a few seconds for the reality of what he had been tossed to sink into the overbearing man, the officer responded:
“Now if you don’t leave me alone, the next one will be coming a whole lot faster….”