Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Not a fine moment...

I have a place inside me that is not at peace.  Yesterday I was approached by a woman setting in a car, with out of state plates.  She had been there when I smilingly went by her to go in a store.  She stepped out of her car as I was going back to my ol suv.  Seems she was on her way to a distant town and needed money for gas.  I said "I'm sorry but I live on a small fixed income".  After getting directions to the nearest church that might be willing to help, she went on her way.  As I started out of town, I couldn't stand it and went in search of her. It's a small town, but she was no where to be found.  You see, I had remembered that I had the Christmas money that my parents had given me tucked in my wallet. It would have bought enough gas to get her where she was going. If I had just passed it forward there would not be this unhappy place inside me. 

15 comments:

  1. Brighid,
    This may have been legit but I had a similar scam pulled on me. My women was in a Walmart parking lot. She gave me the exact same story for gas money that you were told. I also told her of a church that would help. She said she wasn't sure she even had enough gas to go back home to her abusive husband. I told her I didn't have cash but I had a credit card and if she would follow me, I would fill her tank. She did and her car took only $4.00 gas to fill it, barely over a gallon.
    Your lady may have been legit but there are scam artists out there using that ploy. Don't feel badly, you sent her where she could get help.
    If you are still feeling badly, donate some money to that church that helps people. They will make sure it goes where needed.
    Hope this helps.

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  2. Patti, It did cross my mind that it could have just been a scam. But I'm still thinking I should have thought of any number of better solutions. Good idea about donating to the church, Thanks.

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  3. Brighid -- I have often helped out people down on their luck. I have also often not helped out people who gave me the same type story. I search for my response from a place inside me. Being a Christian, I say I am lead by God -- or not lead. If you didn't have a compelling urge to hand her your money when you were standing there, I believe you weren't meant to hand her your money.

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  4. Being a long-standing city-dweller, I also suspect a scam. I think you were right to refer her to the church, and giving some money to the church on the basis that they'll only give it to people who genuinely need it is a good solution.

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  5. It is sad that during the holidays there are so many scams. I think taking her to the gas station and getting the as would have been OK even if a scam. But you do have to be careful.

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  6. How often I have heard the same kind of story, Brighid. And like you, often suspect a scam, because so often it is. I work in downtown Charleston and if I go out during the day I am frequently stopped by people with all kinds of stories. But I see these people every day, stopping people and telling the same stories. I've given money to people sometimes, and other times have not, depending on my inner voice for guidance.

    Once we were approached in a grocery store parking lot by a young woman who said they needed gas money to get home, and milk for her baby. I'd just been in the store, so I gave her my milk but no money. As we drove away, it fretted me so we went back. Sure enough she was putting milk in the baby's bottle. I gave her $20, but after reading this I wonder if we should have taken them to the gas station instead. On the other hand if the money was for alcohol or drugs, who am I to judge her need?

    It's a tough position to be put in, and all we can do is follow our intuition and do the best we can. I think your choice was right, because something in you sensed that she was scamming you.

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  7. Brighid, you followed your gut instinct, let it go. We all do things at times that tug at us later on. If you are really worried a call to the church might rest your mind, otherwise the donation is a good idea.

    Hope you have a peaceful Christmas/Holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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  8. I've had similar experiences. A young man needing money for the rest of a bus ticket out of town, we have no bus station here. A woman begging in the grocery store lot turned out she and her husband and three children were living in a tiny RV in the Elks' parking lot and were quite in need. It is disturbing and you're a goodhearted person. I have given and not given. We can't know everything. I too would trust my gut and I know I make mistakes. If we have something to give there's always the churches, food banks, and others who will pass it along.

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  9. I've done the same thing in not responding to someone in need. However, your heart was in the right place when you took the time to tell her about where she could get help.

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  10. The best solution to the guilty conscience is to make amends by giving to someone else! At the earliest.

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  11. Thank you all for your comments. I'm getting on with things and giving to those who know best how to handle this.
    Rummuser: So glad to see you back in action.
    A Very Merry Christmas and A Bright New Year to all.

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  12. Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy your day!

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  13. Cindee, So good to hear from you. I plan on going to RB to spend sometime with my parents, after morning maddness here.
    Merry Christmas to you! Blessed Be!

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  14. I have observed a young man who has been homeless give away his last dime to anyone who asked, for whatever reason. He told me that he has "been there" and would never question what they will do with the money. We are all more inclined to share during holidays or cold weather. I try to remember that even in warm weather the plight of anyone is the plight of everyone. I give a small amount and hope that helps. And I always always always put a quarter in any street busker's music case. It's just my rule .."I shared my gift with you pa rump a tum tum."

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  15. I know that feeling. I was in a southern state and a family approached me at a quick store. They said they'd been living out of their car and the kids were hungry and could I give them some money for food. Ii could see the kids in the car.

    So I did.

    About an hour later I saw them again, at WalMart, buying some DVD's and a video game. I just walked away, lesson learned.

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