Last night on his way to take Annie to volunteer at school, Mike ran out of gas. After he called to let me know, I grabbed the gas can and went to the rescue. There was very little gas in the can, so I stopped at the gas station to fill it up.
As I was getting out of the car, a very nice silver car pulled up next to me. The driver, a well-dress, good-looking fellow with a map in his hand leaned his head out the window and said "Excuse me, ma'am?"
"Yes? Can I help you?," I replied?
"Well," he said, "I'm trying to find downtown Dayton."
Oh buddy, was this guy lost! He wasn't even in the right state. Lucky for him that he asked me because I grew up in Dayton and this was his lucky day.
He went on to say "I was driving on 1-69 and realized that was the wrong direction, so a truck driver pointed me this way. But now I'm turned around and I'm almost out of gas and down to just about my last dollar."
Did I mention he was holding a black, leather-bound Bible in the other hand as he was talking to me?
Seeing this as a divine or cosmic opportunity to help someone just as I hoped someone else across town would do for my husband, I told him I'd be happy to put $20 of gas in his car. He smiled, thanked me and said that $20 would be good -- he could get some gas and some McDonald's.
"Oh, wait," I said. "I don't have any cash. I'll swipe my card in the pump and get you some gas, but I can't give you any cash."
"You don't even have something small?" he asked.
"Nope. I don't carry cash."
"Well, would it make a difference if there's an ATM machine inside. You could go get some money?"
I finally woke up and was angry at this jackweed for obviously lying to and trying to take advantage of me. I was also mad at myself for even giving him the time of day.
"No. Sorry." I turned and walked away. He drove off, just as far as another row of gas pumps to hit up some other naive person (who was smart enough to say no right off).
I'm left wondering how people decide it's ok to lie and be dishonest and try to scam people out of things? I am a nice person, but next time, I probably won't be so nice.
In the meantime, if some guy in a nice silver car, Tennessee license plate B60-65M asks you for help, just keep walking.