- Posts: 1085
- Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2011 6:08 pm
At this time of year many of us are in a giving mood, generous and want to believe that everyone is out to do well. I wonder. Perhaps I am just skeptical.
About a week ago as I was loading my groceries into my car a man approached me holding a gas can and asked if I could give him some money to buy gas. I told him all I had was my debit card and that I never carry cash, sorry. He pressed on that even perhaps $5.00; which would not even buy him two gallons of gas made me leery. â€œNo, Iâ€™m afraid I cannot help you today. Sorry.â€
I felt guiltyâ€¦.yes guilty as I drove away cuz what if he was telling the truth? But then again around the holidays a lot of folks try to take advantage of the giving season.
Two days ago I had a doctorâ€™s appointment and as I left his office building and headed to my car I started to return some phone calls. I stood outside my car finishing up a call when a woman, who I would say was in her 50â€™s; appeared huffing and puffing and exclaiming how she was glad she caught up to me. She started to tell her tale that she had an appointment at the hospital across the street for a kidney injection and her mother dropped her off there at 7:00 AM. Her readings were low so they gave her some juice to drink and they kept her for a while before issuing the injection; her details were a little too much and something I really didnâ€™t need to know. She introduced herself as Cynthia, asked my name and then presented me with her photo ID card and a debit card and went on to explain that she no longer lives at the address on the ID card but had moved to an area across town with her mother. Her mother was concerned cuz she had to be in another part of town for work by 8:30 and told Cynthia she would have to wait till 4:00 to be picked up. Cynthia felt sure she could catch the â€œgreenâ€ county bus that ran to her side of town only to find out as she boarded the bus they discontinued that route about 6 months ago. So Cynthia called a cab and once in the cab presented her debit card which came up $13.55 short for the trip so the driver put her out at the gas station about a block away. She called her mother who then called the cab company only to find out they do not take credit cards over the phone cuz of repeated occurrences of them not going thru. So here is Cynthia standing in front of me with her ID and debit card in hand asking if I could help her by giving her $13.55. Her phone starts to ring and as she reaches into her pocket say â€œdonâ€™t worry I am not getting a gun just my phone.â€ I am wondering once again if this is a scam. She takes the call and says â€œmom, Iâ€™ll have to call you back as I am trying to get the money to get home. I am not feeling too well.â€
So here I am. I know I have about $4.00 cash in my wallet and some change from my Animal Advocates change cans in the back seat so I count out for Cynthia $13.75; a twenty cents bonus and hand it over to her. She hugged me; god blessed me and went on her way. Now when I got in the car I looked for her but it was as if she disappeared as quickly as she had appeared.
So what do you think?
Was this a holiday scam?
If anything her story was worthy of $13.75.
- Posts: 6601
- Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:30 am
Recently on my way home at about 10 pm a guy standing next to the road holding a gas can caught my attention. I stopped beside his vehicle and noticed that there was a lady and also a child inside.
His story was that he'd run out of petrol and he needed to get his wife and kid home and would I help him out with some money.
I gave him a twenty and went on my way.
Not a week later the self same guy approached me at a shopping mall near to where he'd been standing the first time. When I told him in some colourful language what I thought of him he hurried away.
Guess its his way of filling up his tank for free!
- Posts: 12065
- Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:11 pm
- Location: Far Out, Man
I still give money to many of them, because I am that kind'a guy. I figure they must need it, or they would be somewhere else. And God says we should give alms to the poor.
I don't sweat the details.
I doubt that many of them are catching up with the Donald with this new lifestyle.
- Posts: 11732
- Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:28 pm
Dear Abby: I spent the afternoon running errands. As I left the shopping center, I saw a young couple with a baby and a toddler holding a sign requesting help with food, as the husband had just been laid off. I drove past, then considered the children and circled back.
I had no cash with me, so I stopped and offered them our familyâ€™s dinner â€” a jar of premium spaghetti sauce, a pound of fresh ground beef, a box of dried spaghetti, fruit cups that my children usually take to school for treats, and some canned soups I occasionally have for lunch.
Imagine my surprise when the couple declined my generosity. Instead, the man strongly suggested that I should go to a nearby ATM and withdraw cash to donate to them because they preferred to select their own groceries and pay their phone bills. What are your thoughts on this? â€” Genuinely Puzzled In Austin, Texas
Dear Puzzled: What happened is a shame. Some families are truly in need and should be guided to a shelter so they can receive help getting back on their feet. However, in some cities you see the same people on the same streets for long periods of time. They have staked out their â€œturf,â€ and because the money they are given is tax-free, some of them are doing quite well. In your case, the couple you saw holding the sign may have been professional panhandlers, and the children may have been â€œborrowed.â€