Sep 20, 2012
So, times are tough and people are in bad situations financially. This is well known and not new news. The places that I find myself at regularly, Krogers, my usual grocery store and Target, my usual blow all my money store tend to be frequent stops of mine. I'm one of a gazillion moms in my area . . . driving the old mini van around. I park in the back of parking lots a lot as this baby (my van) is wide and it's usally less congested back there. About 3 months ago, at the grocery store, I came out and was loading groceries into my van when a woman holding a young child approached me. "Excuse me maam, my car battery died and I need a couple of dollars to get home." Hm. I look around and see no car around her and the smell of BS is heavy in the air . . . but I go with her story and give her some money, asks if she is alright and needs help, ask if she needs to call anyone. No no and no and she walks away. I leave not really paying attention. Two days later, I'm back at the grocery store. I get out of my car and guess who is busy working on another 'customer'. I live in the burbs and out here . . . if you have kids, you know a lot of other parents from school, the soccer fields, church, etc. So, I actually knew who she was talking to. I just waved as I went by and went into the store. I could hear as I went by . . . car battery, few dollars . . . The girl was working the parking lot again.
So today, I am about 5 minutes away from there and parked at the end of the parking lot when here comes a girl who looks a LOT like the one who approached me at the grocery store. She has a different child with her. The story was a bit different--- just moved to town, trying to open a checking account. She has 25 dollars to put into the checking account but needs 25 to open it, can I help her. What was different is that she was not a very good lyer and she was shaking and wasn't doing a very convincing job. I load my things into my car as I listen to her story silently. As I shut the back hatch to the van, I hear her say "oh no. Someone told on me. Here they come" and sure enough, a security guard and strore manager approached us and told her that she needed to leave the property immediatly. She wheeled her stroller out of there with tears in her eyes.
I put my cart in the return bin and then walked to the next parking lot where she was and gave her some money. Not because I think she needs it to open a checking account. But because something is clearly wrong. Yeah, she could be a scam artist. Okay, she IS a scam artist. But I remember something from the bible that goes something like this---- if someone asks you for money, you don't need to know why they are asking----- if you have it, give it." Okay, that is not a quote and don't ask me what verse it is from. That was my 'take home' message.
It bothers me that this woman has these children with her and I'll tell you when the toddler girl tried to get out of the stroller today, she slammed her back a bit rough and used a nasty voice which made the little girl wail. It was terrible.
So, what do you do? Trust that even if someone is taking advantage of you that you are doing the right thing to realize you can afford to be generous to others? Or do you understand that there are crooked people in the world that lie and scam peopl?. Honestly, if someone just told me that they were hungry and had no money, I'd help them. I hate the car battery, new to town/checking account stories.)
Anyway, this was on my mind because I do always wonders what happens after I pull out of the parking lot. With this girl ----- I probably will see her around though as that makes THREE times.