I have a recent situation to relate and wondered how many have experienced something like this.
Last week hubby and I drove to Walmart. When we exited and walked in the direction of our parked car, I glanced up and saw a woman eyeing us and heading in our direction. Since she was a stranger, I dropped my gaze and crossed to the other side.
In less than a minute she reached us.
"I'm out of gas and need help."
Now, I admit. When approached with the words 'I need help', I pause. I always think of myself possibly at some time being stranded in a 'what if...' situation.
Then again - yeah, I always hesitate with a 'what if this isn't on the up-and-up?'
A dozen things sped through my mind. Cameras atop the Walmart roof; six o'clock news; did she have a waiting partner nearby; where was her car; be the Good Samaritan; why did she choose us?
I shrugged. "What?" Meaning what kind of help was she asking for? (I was pretty certain I knew, but just in case...)
She said, "I'm out of gas and need help."
I said, "What kind of help?"
"I'm out of gas."
Okay, this had already been established. "Yeah," I said. "And...?"
"I need help."
Since she carried no package of any kind, she had no cell phone unless it was crammed in her shorts pocket. I tried something different.
"Go into the store to Customer Service and ask to use a phone. Call someone."
Her expression changed a hair. "I don't know anyone here."
"I'm not from anyone here."
"Where are you from?"
She named a town only ten miles away. Ten miles away. Before I could laugh, she went on, "There's no one there. My mom died last month and..." Her voice trailed off and she turned her head, watching other customers.
"Then how do you want us to help?"
"I'm out of gas."
Time to confront her. I said, "So you want cash?"
"Well, I need help."
"But you want cash. Sorry. We aren't giving you cash."
"But I'm out of gas."
"Call someone you know to help. We aren't giving you cash."
During this little exchange, hubby said not a word. We turned and walked to our car. There, we watched her approach someone else. That niggling doubt in my mind asked, 'Did you do the right thing?'
I asked my hubby, "Do you think she told the truth?"
He said, "Why would someone drive to Walmart and spend all their money to where they didn't have enough to buy gas to get home?" He then added, "I was tempted to go to her car and check her fuel gauge."
So. I certainly don't want to be a Scrooge, and never want to think I wouldn't give a helping hand when needed. Still...there's always a still.
Tell me. Have you been in a situation like this? What did you do? What do you think is the right thing to do? I appreciate your comments.