August 17, 2007

Out of Gas. At least I was.

About 2 months ago I was on my way to a friend's wedding shower and stopped at my local CITGO to put gas in the car. As I was pumping, I saw a guy talking to another lady at the pump across from me. He started walking towards me and began to frantically explain how his car ran out of gas as soon as he got onto the highway and that he had to walk back off of the exit to get gas. When he finally made it to CITGO (which is right next to the highway entrance), he realized that he only had $5 in cash and he left his credit card with his wife who was home with their newborn baby. The gas station attendant was happy to give him gas, but required that he purchase the plastic container to carry the gas in, and that container cost $5 by itself. To make a long story short, he needed some money to actually buy some gas to put into the container to walk back onto the highway to put into his stalled car. A semi-believable story. He was a clean cut guy who looked genuinely distraught and was very apologetic about the whole thing.

Enter Sucker Numero Uno.

That would be moi.

I gave the guy $5 (it was all the cash that I had, grrr), and I told him "You'd better be telling the truth because I'm giving you all that I have on me!" And he assured me that he was and that he was eternally grateful and that things were "a little bit hard right now" at home what with the newborn and all. And so he thanked me profusely and I finished pumping my gas and we parted ways. Me being the dumb happy-go-lucky, trustworthy soul that I am didn't bother watching the guy to see what direction he headed in. I thought about it, but didn't. Later that day I told my hubby the story and he said "Man! You got got!" and started laughing. In his true compassionate hubby fashion. And of course I said "You never know! You have to give people the benefit of the doubt. What kind of place would the world be if we couldn't trust anyone? And that very well could have either one of us in his shoes." Yes, yes, Justice Fergie - the bleeding heart.

Fast forward to last weekend.

My sis and I pulled up to my local 7-Eleven because we had a jones for a Slurpee. Yum. So anyway, she went inside to get them and I waited in the car. No sooner did she enter the store than I hear somebody tapping at my window. It was a guy holding out his driver's license to my window so that I would feel safe enough to roll down my window. Whaddaya know. It was The Guy. I rolled down my window and he launched into his gas/car/highway/money spiel. I said "Let me stop you right now, because you told me this exact same story last month across the street at the CITGO and I gave you 5 bucks." And he looked (genuinely) distraught and begain apologizing profusely and started babbling about how "things were a little bit hard right now what with a newborn at home and all." To which I said "You told me you had a newborn last month." To which he replied "Well, I do, but I guess he is about 3 months old now." Anyway, realizing he had messed up, he quickly apologized and thanked me for my prior generosity and promptly disappeared.

I won't tell you the various iterations of "I told you so's" and hearty chuckles that I got from my hubby once we got home.

But the whole thing really annoyed me. These people take advantage of human compassion which is inexecusable if you ask me.

And not to mention, I was out $5. I could have bought at least three Slurpees with that.


JeniBeans said...

Well, in your defense, sometimes you just don't know, do you? However, I live just a few blocks from a grocery store and let me tell you sister, there is ALWAYS someone over there walking around trying to get money out of someone. This store happens to be right next door to a salvation army too. If they really need help, why don't they go there? Probably because they've already BEEN there...several times, in fact! I've also had the same case you had. Where the guy comes back a second time with the same story. One time he lived at such and such and was trying to get back there...this time he lived in ANOTHER area and was trying to get back home. I confronted him, just like you did. Someone has to. Who knows what these people are buying with what money they DO get. My DH gave this guy some $$ one time and he and his brother (I think it was) in the car with him took off and followed him. They watched the guy practically RUN back behind gas a gas station and houses...until he came to this one. There were alot of not-so-nice looking people around outside. We're just assuming this was one of the many crack houses around town.

However...these people give a bad rap to the ones that really DO need our help. You just have to use your better 'judge'ment. Pun intended. =)

Justice Ny said...

Well Fergie and Jenibeans ... you just never know. I really don't make a practice out of it. But if and when I do I only give $1. I know it's a bit stingy but you just never know. I always prefer to give food, if I have any in my car.

I am sorry to hear about your experiences though:(

JeniBeans said...

Fergie...yes, I will still be homeschooling, but taking probably a week or so off when the babe gets here.

Their studies are all on the computer (google Switched On Schoolhouse) and therefore they can pretty much do it alone, but if not, jef will always be here in the evenings to help if I'm not able.

Mrs. Schmitty said...

I would have given him the money if I had it too. That's why I only carry my ATM card. So I can say I have no cash and not feel guilty about it.

It's horrible that you don't know if you are doing a truly good thing or just getting taken for a ride.

People Suck.

divaliscious11 said...

You know what, you gave out of good, so you put good karma out there and it will come back to you. I personally make it a policy to do my giving via organizations etc..but a very good friend of mine with strong faith always tells me, you don't want to get to the pearly gates and have Jesus tell you he asked you for money to eat and you turned him away, so now when I give, I immediately let it go knowing that the giving was pure, regardless of the actual use.

JJ said...

(((hugs)))) to you. you'll be richly blessed cause your heart was in the right place at the time! pooh. :)

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