Monday, June 30, 2014

Taken for a ride

I am a compassionate person. I don't attend church regularly but I try to live by the Golden Rule. I'd like to think I am wise enough not to be taken advantage of. I can tell the down on their luck people from the clean shaven kid on the corner wearing Nikes with his hand out. I've given rides to the downtrodden and elderly.

One Easter I saw a homeless couple who always panhandled near the highway. I took them food. the woman said, "I'd rather have $45 for a hotel room across the street."

I asked is she wanted me to call a shelter, and she adamantly said NO. As I pulled off, she said, "Are you just going to leave us out here in the rain?"

She was under a pavilion completely dry.

I saw her the following year in Florida. It was their way of life. But still, I will always share food.

Yesterday we went to Target and there was an Hispanic looking  man with a sign, a big smile and a little boy sitting at his feet beside their van with Texas license plates. Bill  had $6 and I had $2. We pulled over, he came to the car and I asked, "What is your story?"

He said, "No gas, need gasoline."

I handed him the money. Then I asked, "Where are you from?"

He pointed to the license plate and in a dialect other than Spanish, said, "Yeah-yeah, from there."
The five year old spouted the truth, "Albania."

Caught! The man's eyes widened and he said, "Yeah-yeah, Albania."

I recognized him as one of the ten families of gypsies living in a four family apartment next door to my old school. We were taken.

My heart was in the right place. So was Bill's. I do hope they got some gas or food. It's people like this who make it bad for those in real need.
 

10 comments:

Bookie said...

I was taken three times in a row in just a few months. That did it. There are groups who help legit folks...you can give to those groups...take people there...replace what they take from teh group's supplies...all kinds of things other than supporting pandering. It does make it hard on people who really need it. When a friend pointed out a group here to a person they said, Oh we know them well...no, we won't go there right now....ah, a story there too.

Susan said...

Hi Linda.

I think you did the right thing, even if the Albanian man and his son have a place to live.

It must be very humiliating to beg people for handouts. Only people who really are in some kind of need would do that. At least that's what I think.

Sure , there are the panhandlers but I think there are still more people who are really in need .

At least you showed the little boy there are compassionate people in the world and God knows that counts. Susan

Sioux said...

I have heard stories that some people treat begging as a job. They have a place to live, but when they stand on a street corner, they get $200-$300 every day (and it's tax-free).

You were taken, but that happens sometimes when you reach out to help others. Sometimes the needy get help and sometimes a dishonest person gets a little hand-out.

Lisa Claro said...

Many times it is tough to know, and it does take away from those who truly need. There was an old homeless man a few years ago who sat in the same spot all the time. I saw him out there one day in the freezing rain, shivering and soaked, holding a sign up for food. I had just come from the Chick-fil-A drive-through and so I stopped and gave him my hot soup and sandwich. He wouldn't allow me to drive him to the Salvation Army just up the street. I left and returned with a blanket for him, but he was gone by the time I got back. After that I never saw him again, and I've always wondered what happened to him.

BECKY said...

I've done the same thing a couple of times in the past. One time, MANY years ago, a woman was standing at the exit on I-70 West bound, at the Cave Springs Exit. (Those from around St. Louis are probably familiar with the area.)She was very thin and alone, holding a sign that she and her children needed food. As I sat at the red light, I kept trying to not look at her, yet I couldn't stop, either. Finally, I pulled my wallet from my purse, saw that all I had was a 20 Dollar Bill, and gave it to her. I knew that it was certainly possible she was a scam artist, but something inside me made me do it. In those days, and even still now.....$20 is A LOT of money to me! I don't remember if I ever saw her again....

BECKY said...

Part Two: Just last week, as I sat at another stop light, two guys and a DOG were sitting under a shade tree with a sign that said something like: "Traveling. Out of money. Hungry." Talk about tugging at my heart strings....A DOG! He was lying there panting...I thought that was really low down! Neither guy looked very hungry or broke! When the light turned green, I drove on...although I felt guilty!
~~~~ And I forgot to say that you and Bill are kind, trusting people, and thank goodness for people like you!

Val said...

There are so many agencies these days to help those in need. I am suspicious of panhandlers. Too proud to go to an agency for help, but not too proud to stand on the street corner begging? Yes. I am suspicious.

We had a lady down here who went from one Walmart parking lot to another, asking people for gas money because somebody "stole her purse" and she needed to get back home.

When people offered to take her to the police station, or an agency that could give her a gas voucher or card, she would make excuses until they forked over some cash. Folks were giving her ten or twenty dollars apiece. Gas is expensive, you know.

Finally someone called the police. They made her leave, but she just turned up at another store. The local paper even warned readers about her in their "scams" column.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I'm SO GLAD you still five though. I don't understand those who refuse to give out of fear that the money might be used for something else. How are we to know that's the person who truly and actually needs it? You are a wonderful person :)

Kathy's Klothesline said...

An act of kindness is still an act of kindness .... whether or not the recipient is worthy. Same thing here, seems everytime we try to help someone we end up being used. But, those acts of kindness are still recorded in the big book of Even Steven .... just ask Val!!!

Daisy said...

It is so hard to know what is the right thing to do. You never know who is telling you the truth and who isn't. And yes, your hearts were definitely in the right place. Bless you for caring. Caring is the right thing to do.