I’m participating in the Kindness Challenge hosted by Niki at The Richness of a Simple Life. I’m a tad late with my Week Three post because we’d been out of town for the long weekend and just got back.
Yesterday we were on our way back from Tennessee and had stopped at a rest area in the middle of nowhere in downstate Illinois. I was driving and waited in the car while hubby and our son went inside to use the facilities.
I turned to lower the driver’s window and was startled as I came face to face with a young, thin woman standing by my car, apologizing for bothering me. I rolled down my window and she looked very embarrassed but earnest as she began to tell me her story.
Her brother had picked her and her baby up because they had to leave Arkansas for some reason and was driving them to family in Detroit. His debit card came up non sufficient funds when he tried to use it at the last gas station. He called his work and found that his check could not be deposited until Friday and his boss could not do anything to help.
The woman said they talked to the police but they couldn’t help either. Finally I said as gently as I could, “Are you asking me for money?”
“Yes, ma’am,” she said, ducking her head. “You must think I’m a crazy person.” I smiled and assured her I did not, dug in my purse and gave her some money. I wished her good luck, she thanked me profusely and walked toward a couple sitting on a picnic bench, I assume to ask again.
Now, I could see there was a stroller in her car and a young man was driving and I had decided in a split second to give her money even though I wasn’t sure if I was being scammed. But how could I take a chance that she wasn’t legitimate?
I’ve been focusing on kindness challenges for several weeks now. I think I’m normally a pretty kind person anyway, but last week we were asked to radiate kindness to everyone around us. Would I have been happier to buy food or diapers or put gas in their car rather than give them cash? Yes. But we were just making a quick stop and needed to get back on the road to finish our drive.
Of course, it would be a great place to run a scam for that very reason. There was no gas station or restaurant or store nearby to purchase anything for them so I had to just refuse or give them money. And I admit it, she looked like a distraught young mom, too thin, bad teeth that just needed straightening, not in a meth head kind of way, and I felt sorry for her.
I decided when I gave her the money I wouldn’t regret it. It was money I’m grateful I could spare and happy to use to gift someone in need. I’m hopeful she didn’t blow it on drugs or even cigarettes or beer. What would you have done if someone approached you like that?
~ Diane D.