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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why are people like that?

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.


Unknown said...

I believe the proper response from someone native to TN in this situation would be, "JED! Git my gun!"

The nerve!

Eternal Lizdom said...

The worst outcome would be for you to allow this person's actions to somehow harden your heart. Don't ever stop doing the work God calls you to do because one person is in a bad place or because hundreds are in bad places.

And maybe find a way to bring God into it in an out loud kind of way... "I don't have any cash but I'd be more than happy to pray with you..."

Shell said...

What a jerk!!!!

Beth said...

The bible in his hand at a gas station would have been the giveaway for me. And you just gave me another reason to be happy I'm from Jersey...we don't have self serve gas pumps, no need for me to get out of he car and running the risk of interacting with jerks like this.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Bert came in really angry one day. I asked what was up and he said that the past weekend, when he met a friend for breakfast, he had bumped into a guy in the parking lot with a sob story about a flat tire and a wife in the hospital. He gave the man $20. This Saturday morning he again bumped into the same guy, same parking lot, same story. I understood his frustration but basically came to the same conclusion that Liz shared above. We can't let the idiots of the world harden our hearts!

Kris said...

You did just the right thing. When I get panhandled, I usually try to offer a direct purchase if I can. I have had that turned down more than once. :-) Once, when someone said they need oil for their call, I bought then a couple quarts and then demanded back the $1 something in change I had given them. I don't want to miss that person that is truly in need, or just needs to see God's love in action that day. Refusing to give cash helps to weed out those that are just trying to scam.

Unknown said...

What an idiot!