Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday Poll

So yesterday as I left to Costco with Mr. P, I finally grabbed the two five dollar bills that had been sitting on the counter for at least two weeks. I stuffed them in my pocket, thinking I would put them in my wallet later.

I needed to fill up the car, so off we went to the gas station. As I was waiting next to my car for the tank to finish filling, I noticed a black car just sitting there. Suddenly (or it seemed to me) this guy in his mid-twenties approaches me. But not too close, he probably was a good ten feet away. The owner, it seemed, of the black car. He said, "Uh, I feel really stupid asking you this, but I need gas and I don't have any money. I only have some change (jingles it in his hand) and really, I feel like a jackass asking you if you had anything you could spare, even a dollar."

I looked at him. He seemed a fairly typical twentysomething slacker-y type. Longish hair, a tiny bit of scruff, but his clothes were somewhat expensive looking and he was clean.

I remembered the five dollar bills in my pocket. I thought, why this day of all days did I remember to take those fives off the counter when they've been sitting there forever? And the fact that I never actually put them in my wallet, because I assure you that I would have never turned my back on him and rooted through my purse, which was in the car. Maybe there were forces at work that were beyond my ken.

He had already turned away, as he mistook my pause for a rejection.

I stepped around the gas pump handed him one of the fives.

"Oh, oh my God. Thank you! Wow, a five. I really, really appreciate this."

My reply?

"Just make sure that you pay it forward, you know?"

"Yes, yes of course I will."

So, my friends, was Gina a big sucker? Did the young man pull a con on me and use the money for some beer? And what would you have done?


Awesome Mom said...

I had a similar situation happen in a thrift store. Someone came up to me and asked me for some money to help him buy a shirt and I gave him some. It totally could have been a scam, but then it really was not a earth shattering amount of money so it was worth the risk.

Who knows what that guy really used the money for but you could have been very helpful in a time of true need.

dgm said...

That's a tough call. I've been approached at gas stations (and once at 7-11) several times with the "I ran out of gas and I have no money" story, so I would definitely be suspicious.

At the same time, what's a buck or five?

Anvilcloud said...

You passed your test; it's up to him to pass his ... or not. Don't worry about his score.

Jess T said...

Way to go! :) I bet he needed it, but I'm a sucker like that too. If he didn't, maybe he'll think twice about it.

J at said...

I liked the way anvilcloud put it. I was going to say something can never know what people you give money to will end up doing with it, but I think giving a bit now and again anyway is good for your soul.

Autumn's Mom said...

I usually never have any cash in my pocket. Hey G, can you spare a five?

J at said...

Yeah, AM, she's got another one in there. ;) Go for it!

Nance said...

I'm with anvilcloud; you did what you thought was right at the time. Who knows what his deal was? The fact that you added the part about paying it forward might have, if he was on the make, made him stop and think about it, esp. since you had a little guy in tow.

If not, and he was a con man who simply moved on to his next mark, then oh well, it's his conscience and his karma. Yours are good.

Ted said...

I almost never give money to people at gas stations -- and I've been asked so many times (usually in San Francisco). But, he called himself a "jackass" and that's good enough for me. I would have given him a fiver, too. :-)

Maternal Mirth said...

I firmly believe in paying it forward :)

Bammy said...

There was a reason you picked up those 5's... its a God thing.. we usually don't get ya done good Gina..

Margaret said...

Unfortunately, I've been scammed by the exact hting.

Nice looking man in a suit holding a gas can, car with the hood up right nearby. He told me and my friend that he was out of gas and had no cash - left his wallet at home. (this was way before cell phones). We gave him 5 bucks (each of us). We felt great about ourselves.

Later on that night, we saw him at a different intersection.

Next week, we saw him at another one.

Never. Again.

Sad....isn't it?

~Sheryl said...

A couple of weeks ago there was a man in the lobby of work, asking for money for food. I didn't give him any money, but I gave him my leftover lunch, some grapes, strawberries and a bag of cheerios. I don't know if he was homeless and hungry or not, but did what I believe... treat others as I would want to be treated.

You did the right thing in my mind, Gina. Nice job.

Scout said...

I hope I would have done just what you did. And I don't think it matters if you were conned or not. You're only responsible for your reaction to what you perceive as someone's need, not for the behavior of that person.

Plus, Mr. P got to witness his role model doing something amazing.

Laurie said...

Ya done good...