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Would you have done the same? February 22, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Experience, Whatever.

I hope I just paid something forward or something and that I’m not just a big sucker.

I was putting some groceries in the car in the Wal-mart parking lot a little while ago when I was approached by a woman. She timidly said Ma’am? (That just means this is the south, not that I’m old) and I stopped what I was doing and held my purse closer. Yes I did; I’ll admit that. When she first started talking she was kind of speaking fast and I’ll also be honest in saying I was mostly thinking about how I hoped my ice cream sandwiches weren’t melting, then dismissing the idea because it’s like forty degrees outside.

But the gist of it was that she and her mother were stuck there, that there was something wrong with her car’s radiator. She’d tried to return something to Walmart to get the cash to buy the needed part. Walmart, being the asshole it is, would only give her store credit which would’ve been okay had the automotive deparment carried the part they needed but of course they didn’t. (Assholes) Her kids were at some house an hour away and it sounded like she didn’t like who they were with. Her husband is in jail. She and her mom were short $8.87 to buy the car part. She knew it was at AutoZone, but repeated it wasn’t at Walmart.

I almost never carry cash. This morning I’d put a pair of jeans on that had been laying over a chair, because honestly who cares; it’s Saturday and all I was doing today was going into my empty office. The jeans had nine dollars in their pocket. I gave her the nine dollars and told her I hoped everything worked out okay. She tried to ask me for my phone number to get in touch with me to pay me back, but I told her that wouldn’t be necessary.

I came home and told Brian, the staunch fiscal Republican. He told me he would’ve done the same thing. And I’m not patting myself on the back; I’m just wondering – is that what you would’ve done as well? Because I swear I don’t think most of the time I either could or would have, depending on my mood and again the fact I know I wouldn’t have gone to an ATM to get the cash for her.

I hope I did the right thing and I hope that lady will be okay.



1. Robyn - February 22, 2009

I’m pretty sure I would have done the same thing.

My husband was one approached by a woman (in a Wal-Mart parking lot, as a matter of fact) who claimed that she didn’t have money for gas (I don’t remember the whole story). He gave her $20, and a lot of people gave him shit for doing so. I think that if you can afford it and are willing to help, why not?

2. Kim - February 22, 2009

I think for me too, the fact it was a woman and the story involved kids, there was no question in my mind I was going to give it to her.

3. iamheatherjo - February 22, 2009

You have a good heart, sweet one. (I’m glad you didn’t give her your telephone number.) I hope this woman was sincere. Unfortunately, I think my good nature has been preyed upon far too many times.

I was approached once by a woman who said they were traveling through Phoenix in the heat with children and ran out of gas. I offered to go to the gas station across the street and fill up my gas can so they would have the gas she said she needed. She rolled her eyes and said “nevermind”.

We were coming out of a restaurant in Chicago with leftovers and a guy asked me for money because he was hungry. I offered him the 1/2 a pizza we had left because I had no cash and he asked “what’s on it?” Don’t know about you, but if I’m hungry enough to beg for money on the strest, I doubt I’d care what’s on the damn pizza.

A guy was handing out magazines that are in bins for you to take for FREE and he was asking for donations for this “service”. I actually had some change in the truck and I grabbed a big handful and gave it to him. He looked in my window and said “I see some more in there”.

So, honestly, I can’t say that I would helped her out unless the AutoZone was, like, right there and I could have gone with her to give her the difference for the part.

4. morethananelectrician - February 22, 2009

I have a good feel for people and have helped people and not helped people depending on my “feel” for the situation in front of me.

5. suzy2110 - February 22, 2009

That’s a tough one and I don’t honestly know how I would have reacted. I think it would depend on the person who approached me. If a man had asked, I’d probably have got in my car and locked the doors! I do tend to be a sucker for a sob story, though… 😀

6. Kim - February 22, 2009

Heather – I actually thought about suggesting going to AutoZone with her but I was kind of nervous about her, which is also why I didn’t give her my phone number.

MTAE – I felt like if she was putting on an act, it was a really convincing performance and her story had a lot of detail to it, so my gut said she was telling the truth. But who knows.

Suzy – Yeah, if it had been a man, I would’ve positioned my keys in such a way I’d be able to jab him and would’ve gotten into the car as quickly as possible.

7. Kathy - February 22, 2009

I would’ve done the same. Once I was in the checkout line at the grocery store behind a very elderly man and he was short $4.85. It was Christmas and I noticed he was wearing a Veterans hat so I took out the $5.00 and handed it to the cashier. The man was so astonished that I would do that for him he couldn’t say thank you enough times.

And I think since you didn’t even realize you had the money to start with, then you really wouldn’t miss it.

8. Kim - February 22, 2009

Kathy – That’s the way I saw it; it was “found money.” I would’ve probably just blown it on something stupid anyway – better that it went to hopefully help someone.
And I am trying to rack up some good karma points right now anyway, so I figured that couldn’t hurt.

9. Whiskeymarie - February 23, 2009

For me, I like to think that I would do this without blinking. My only hesitation would have been if I had been carrying any significant amount of cash and would have had to go into my wallet to get it.
If it were in my pocket/readily accessible, I’m sure I would- I’m a sucker like that. Plus, in the grand scheme of things I’d like to think that karma would be more kind to me if I had given and been a “sucker” versus not giving and being dismissive of my fellow human beings.
If I have nine dollars in my pocket I’m best off giving it away to someone who will put it to better use- I’d just end up spending it on gummi bears and cat toys.

10. crisitunity - February 23, 2009

Something very similar happened to me in London several years ago. I probably got scammed, but my BF at the time told me it didn’t really matter, because my heart was in the right place, even if the money just went to the liquor store.

11. Dyskinesia - February 23, 2009

I think I would have done the same, though, as other said too, it really depends on who is doing the asking.

I’m thinking that a a trackback would have posted the whole thing, so I figured I’d just give the link.

12. Taoist Biker - February 23, 2009

I’ve heard the same story with slight variations too many times to say that I’d probably hand over any cash…but I usually feel like something of an asshole when I don’t.

I read a similar story once and the author said she told her husband that she considered the cash she gave the person an investment in her faith in humanity, and I think that’s probably a good way to look at it.

13. snerkology - February 23, 2009

You did an awesome deed and I’m sure you’re relegated to sainthood status in that lady’s household!

14. Kim - February 23, 2009

Man, you guys are the shit.

I mean that in the good way.

15. Scientific Lutheran - February 24, 2009

If I had the cash, I’d have done the same thing.

I might have had a hard time walking back into the store to go to the ATM.

I also will help if someone in line ahead of me needs help. I’ve been known to donate a few dollars to help someone else. I consider it a very personal form of charity. You know, that whole Do Unto Others thing. 🙂

16. Kim - February 24, 2009

SL – I’ve been approached a few times; Columbia is a very homeless area unfortunately, and it does depend on the situation. When the drunk with the eyepatch approached me and my God-daughter one day and we could smell the booze from across the street, no. But a lady with two small kids in a grocery store parking lot a few years ago – I gave her all I had at the time which was three dollars and felt good about that too.

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