Monday, August 10, 2009

Will Work For Beer

I had another encounter last week which further demonstrates my susceptibility to suckerism. It actually occurred on my way in to Red Robin to have dinner last week.


As I drive into the parking lot I notice a gentleman talking to a couple who are standing about 10 feet from the entrance to the restaurant. I find a parking spot, grab my purse, and walk toward the front door.


The couple has left at this point and as I walk closer to the entrance the gentleman approaches me.


"Excuse me Miss? Can I ask you something?" He asks me. I notice a hint of an accent.


He's standing beside a car with a woman sitting in the passenger seat so I assume he is going to ask me for directions. I haven't lived in Layton for ten years but I decide to try to help him. Besides, he looks like Sacha Baron Cohen, this could get interesting right?



"Sure" I replied.

"My wife and I" he says gesturing to the woman in the car "Are trying to reach this town called St. George and that guy just told us it is about 350 miles that way" He points south.


As he's talking I glance over at the woman in the car and notice her hair is a tangled frizzy mess and I get distracted thinking that she really needs to use some Silk Therapy to fix that, and hasn't she ever heard of a brush?


"We only have a quarter tank of gas left in our car so there is no way we will be able to make it there tonight"


Oh, he's still talking.


"And in Salt Lake City you know there is a Temple Square there with Bishops and stuff and they have a Welfare Square where they let you have a place to stay for the night for nothing."


Now I'm just staring at him wondering what he is trying to get at, does he want a ride? A place to stay? Money?


"Well we called them at 523-4598 (Not the real number but he did quote the number he supposedly called) and they closed at 5:00 and don't let anybody in after Five. So then we called the bishop at 546-9847 (Again, not the real number, but he did quote a phone number) but all the bishops leave work at 5:00 too."


What the hell? Yes because all the bishops work at Temple Square every day. (For anyone who doesn't live in Utah, this guy obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. Bishops don't work anywhere.) By now I am just humoring the guy wondering what he's going to come up with next.


"So there are no bishops to give us a place to stay for the night and we really need to get to St. George." He again gestures to his frizzy haired wife in the car. "But we only have a quarter tank of gas."


Okay, now this guy seriously needs to hurry up. Get to the point!


"And St. George is too far away to make it on a quarter tank of gas. And we don't have anywhere to stay for the night. And we can't talk to a bishop in Salt Lake so I was wondering if you could help us out.?


Blink. Blink. I'm at a loss for words. I stare at him for a few seconds longer expecting him to keep going but apparently he is done with his speech.


"So are you trying to ask me for money?" I finally ask.


He looks at the ground, puts his hands in his pockets and mumbles something I can't understand. He takes a step back and instead of looking at me in the eye, he looks left and says,


"Uh, yeah if you have any to spare .... mumble ... St. George ... mumble ... welfare ... mumble ..."


Now I'm just wanting this guy to shut up so as he's mumbling I reach into my purse and pull out a couple bucks and hand it over to the guy knowing full well that he's a lying sack of dog shit. But after sitting there and listening to him blabber on and on I just felt a little stupid if I just said no.


Seriously, why can't I just say no to these people? I thought of this incident as just another funny story but my husband is very worried about my inability to say no and thinks it is very dangerous to even let these people talk to me.


At the moment I didn't feel like I was in any danger but I guess anything is possible right? He could have just been luring me over and when he had me close enough could have pushed me into his car and drove away.


Of course I don't think of those things at all, I just see a poor guy who needs help. I seriously don't worry about that stuff, I feel like I can take care of myself in those situations but can I really?



And what about the bums (Or Little People) that ask me for change every day as I walk to lunch down town? Are they dangerous?


Where do you draw the line?

47 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

These people annoy me most of all because they make up these STORIES. Just ask for money and be done with it. We all know they're lying. Once a co-worker began questioning one of them when she approached us in the parking lot about how she'd come all the way from Florida to get to a church that's 30 miles north of where we are. The bus brought her from Florida to Nashville but couldn't take her the last 30 minutes, he asked. And why couldn't she just call the church to send a van to get her? She didn't have an answer to any of those and actually grew angry that he was asking...she just walked off, mumbling to herself.

Yaya said...

Wow that is quite the story he told just to get a few bucks. I'm totally a sucker too.

Yaya said...

Ps did he think you were gonna check his phone numbers?he probably spent all day memorizing those...

Kristina P. said...

I was once leaving a cell phone store, across from the Transvestite Dees (please tell me you know what I'm talking about), when some guy came up to my window and asked for a ride. That's where I draw the line.

Aleta said...

I remember when Greg and I were coming out of a Chinese restaurant. We were halfway to our vehicle when we saw a lady approaching us. She started to ask us for money and Greg quickly rushed us away. He said, "I knew you would give her money. But she had a different story this week. I saw her a street away when I at the store and she was telling other lies to get money. She's a druggie."

I'm a sucker for showing kindness, but I try not to be abused by people.

Heather said...

I'm like you - I fall for it too sometimes. I gave a guy a couple bucks the other day standing on the corner with a sign that said MUSICIAN, please help. He had a sax so I thought, why not? Probably has never played a note in his life, BUT, maybe I just invested some dollars into launching his career. Who knows. I also bought a guy a bag of dog food once when he had dog with him. Sucker. So, don't feel bad if occasionally you break. Just look at it like, ya know, things could always be worse!

Tara said...

i just tell them I have no cash, the other day in sugar house there was a gril standing on 13th by the wendy's who was dressed super nice holding up a sign. I rolled down the window and pointed to Olive Garden and said "10 bucks says there hiring" get a job!!!! I am so annoyed by these dumb ass people!

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Nice One said...

I suffer from Suckerism too. Tho, I did get over it a bit after my husband shared a story about a pan handler in downtown Philadelphia. The guy "worked" the corner right where husband's apartment was..FOR YEARS. Apparently, husband saw him a few years after he moved, driving in that neighborhood dressed NICELY, in a nice, new car. The guy panhandled instead of did a 9-5. Apparently it worked well for him....

Janelle said...

Well I'm glad I'm not the only one out there...I give cash, buy food, and once even a ride!! uggghhh, I know, I coulda died...typical serial killer type too...I'm such a sucker!
Glad you're alive!

JosiahsMommy said...

I draw the line when they are asking for the only cash I have. Lol. Seriously-
One time I was waiting for the bus in Minneapolis. Some guy came up asking for my "change." When I told him I only had cash for the bus (true story) he argued with me. I was taking the bus farther than he realized and he thought I'd have money left over. He left yelling "God's gonna get you for that SATAN!"

Usually I go by my gut. I do think occasionally someone is really telling the truth. I once gave a guy five bucks and he looked at me like I'd given him the world. I really think that guy was hungry and was going to buy food just like he said.

Suzi said...

If it makes you feel better I gave a guy on a busy intersection a few dollars....his sign read "I need $21.00 for bus fare to get home to my family." I had the kids with me so it was a gesture of good will and a lesson for us all.

Three weeks later I am at the intersection again, with the boys and so is the man. The sign hasn't changed. It read exactly the same. The boys asked me if I was going to give him more money and I laughed. Then I had to explain why I laughed and why I didn't give him more money. The least he could have done is change the $ amount on his sign. So we all learned a lesson. A good one for the boys to see.

Michelle said...

WOW. You really are way nicer than I am. Working downtown the last couple of years has turned me into quite the cynic. It's a great story though. My husband is the sucker out of the two of us.. He is always the one that lets himself be sucked into their scheme. Me I just keep walking and leave him to fend for himself Haha!

Jen said...

You are just like my husband. He can't say no either. On our honeymoon in Jamaica I can't tell you how much crap he brought b/c some one told him a sob story. I ended up taking his money away. I know, I am heartless.

Rebecca said...

My line is to never give them money. If I have food - they can have it if they are hungry; if they need gas, they can follow me to the nearest gas station and I'll put a few bucks in their car; if they need a ride, I'll call a taxi and pay a small fare; cold - a blanket, etc. etc. etc.

I'm all for helping those in need, but unfortunately there are far too many people out there who take advantage.

Melissa said...

If my husband is with me we will probably give money. But if I am by myself I put my head down and don't make eye contact.

Even if the panhandlers call out to me I don't turn my head toward them.

Its mean I know but there are crazy people out there!

Kitten said...

I try to avoid the panhandlers, but when they approach me directly, in situations like yours, I try to spare a couple of bucks--no more than $2 or $3.

A few months ago, I had just parked my car at the local library when a total stranger, similar to the one you described, stood BY MY CAR DOOR and asked for money. I got my keys in one hand, in defense position, just in case, and fished through my purse to see if there were a couple of bucks in there, just to make the guy go away. I gave him the cash and ran to the library as fast as I could.

I gave him the cash because I didn't know what would happen if I didn't. And what scares me most is how potentially dangerous this situation could have been.

Sara said...

When I encounter someone who asks for money, I tell them I wont give you money, but I buy you a burger, they always say no

Orr's said...

Kel, havent you seen the documentary about homeless people and how most of them are posers that make 90K a year just from begging!? You need to google stories of them because they make up to 500 bucks a day from pan handling, so stop giving them your hard earned money! And of course I would have asked you to watch him buy mom had it covered. And blue steal? Seriously Kel, ZOOLANDER.

blueviolet said...

I never give money but I will give them food, but since I've never even offered food, I guess I'm the big fat liar here.

Kasey Hunt said...

We discussed this in Sunday school once. They suggested taking the person to the gas station or following them there and then paying for gas. Or if they are hungry get them food and bring it to them. Then they can't scam you too bad if you do it that way rather than just give money. However, I would have done the same thing in your situation. I think it takes a lot of nerve for people to do that.

y u l z said...

I'll probably be just like you. I can't say NO to people though my friend kept on telling me to do so. I like to see people happy.

Valerie said...

I'm like blueviolet I never give money. I have been know several times when someone has approached me and asked for money to buy food went and bought them food. My hubs tells me to stop it. But I usually run to Burger King and get them a meal deal. lol

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

I totally get you on the suckerism. I am the most trusting soul in the world. I once bought a $800 set of encyclopedias for a kid who couldn't even read. True story!

However, I have had a bad experience with a homeless person. We once had a homeless guy come and do some work for us - he kept coming back afterwards to ask for more money and eventually came back and broke into our house.

After all, he knew our schedule, what our cars looked like and what we had in our house. I'm all for charity, but I prefer to help the organizations that help these people rather than give them money directly.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

We have people like that all over around here. It's really annoying.

Rebecca Jo said...

Hey - it just shows you have a good heart! Nothing wrong with that!!!

I too cant ever say no... I wanted to post a story about one experience I had - but I know my dad would have a heart attack reading it... a woman grabbed me one time to KISS me after I gave her money - SERIOUSLY!!!! She wouldnt let go... it got sorta scary - but I just stopped & looked at her & told her that I gave it to her because Jesus loves her... she let go - stared at me & took off RUNNING down the street!!! It was like she was possessed or something - it was the freakiest thing I've ever seen!!!

survivinglifedaily said...

I have the same problem! The first time we went into NYC I had the hardest time not wanting to dump the contents of my purse into these peoples shopping carts!

Justine said...

Ugh, I don't know what I would have done in the same situation. YOu were right near the door of the restaurant and an escape, but did you take it? No. You stood there and listened to him babble. Did you think to ask WHY he HAD to be in St. George?

Justine :o )

Pricilla said...

*sigh*
The story is worth crap. Just get to the point.

I am hard hearted I guess. I too would rather give food or the gas rather than the cash. The cash can go to too many unnecessary things.

Tremayne and Dellany Higby said...

LOL. Next time that happens, you just send borat and his frizzy cracked out wife to me. We take em in, buy em beer and ciggs... I'm all for it! Going downtown and walking around asking bums if we can buy them some lunch or cigarettes is one of the funnest things I've ever done. Sure, there is a small chance that a few of them might go all serial killer on you but then again you might die on the drive home anyway. So whatev. lol

Sara said...

Is he smelling his fingers? My kids are in the "smell my ..." phase. It drives me crazy. And you, lady, are crazy to give money to panhandlers. Give 'em the eye and walk/drive/run off.

Bee and Rose said...

Tucson is rampant with people like this lurking in parking lots. They always use that same type of story too...It's so hard because you want to be helpful, but you don't want to be taken advantage of either!

Glad you're safe!

Lee said...

We rarely give money to beggars. Occasionally, when someone is obviously in need of help, and isn't asking for it, we'll go into Mcdonalds and buy them a lunch and give it to them.
But yeah, that guy is just... yeah.

LadyStyx said...

I don't trust much of anyone anymore. If I'm alone, I steer clear of them... if hubby's with me (as per the usual) I put him in between and let him deal with them. I do this simply because he's alot more polite to them than I am.

Anonymous said...

Same story, different state. I work on a rural road in Texas and this older gentlemen came in and gave me a long story about being a pastor and needing gas to get home (long, long story). Anyway, he asked for $20!!! I gave him $15 and figured he probably needed it more than I did. I found out later that he had been to 3 different businesses along the road. So I'm a sucker, ya, but at least I felt like I had done my good deed for the day (month, year, etc.).

Lizz said...

If I feel safe, I will offer a little. I figure a few bucks is worth the extra Karma points/favored entry to heaven/wahtever in case the beggar really needs it.

Maki said...

Aw you're so sweet no matter what. I have the same issue, inability to say "no" to these people because I do feel bad for them...

True, most of them buy either booze or drugs, but at the same time, there are handful people who seem to have a real tough time gettng back on their feet. I wish the guy would just shut up for you and say, "we have no money to buy food" Because I would much rather for them to say it than giving me lame story. Their lame story makes me the sucker for listening and giving in.

Anyway, you're a good woman!

Blog Buddy said...

I'll never forget the time when I saw a family walking down the road with a little tiny toddler with them. I pulled over to give them a ride (just because I felt sorry for the baby!). They only spoke Spanish and it was two GUYS with a baby! I took them to a house in town-only one guy got out of the car with the kid. The other one told me to keep driving...I was starting to freak out by then. He motioned to the canyon up the road, and I dropped him off right at the base of the hill. He didn't say anything-just got out and started walking. It was the scariest time of my life!! I swore I'd NEVER do that again. *If I see kids walking-I call the police dispatch to mention stranded people...

Julia said...

Um Pooba, um, I have been a little short on cash lately...

Um, I had to pay for a vet bill and I had to pay for new shoes for my kid and then there was groceries, and um, um,um...

I need some new riding boots and um, could you like BUY THEM FOR ME!!

Yeah. Thanks. :)

Queenie Jeannie said...

I think you are just a much better person than I am lil Sis. I get so hard-hearted with these people, when I have no clue the troubles they are in or have been in.

I think you have it right and we could probably learn from you. I'd rather be a "sucker" than cold and hard. Ya know??

Ms. Wanda said...

I love the I need Gas Stories:)
I grew up in NJ/NY and somebody was hustlin' somebody all the time.
One day when I was 14 my girlfriend and I snuck out and went to Times Square. As soon as we get off the train, some guy walks over and asks us for help. He needs to find Port Authority and if we help him he will give a wad of cash, which he shows us. Now, all's (ny accent) we have to do is put our money with his and hold all of it inside a handkerchief and wait for him to get back! Here we are a couple of teens sitting in the Chockfulofnut's coffee house waiting for him to return. After, like 10 min we open the handkerchief and there was a wad alright, a wad of newspaper!!!

I love this post:) You did good, help if your heart calls you to or don't if it doesn't feel right:)

xoxox
Ms. Wanda

The Wife O Riley said...

I give everyone money, I chalk it up to the Karma I'll get in return.

That was quite a story, he should have just glued bottle caps to his feet and did a little dance instead of having to memorize that whole thing.

JennyMac said...

I think having a kind heart is a good thing...I used to give money all the time but they finally passed aggressive panhandling laws here..it was as bad as SanFran, I tell you. When a simple "sorry" wasnt cutting it with some people. Although, in your case, his story was TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO long.

CLUFF FAMILY said...

ONLY TO YOU KEL- HOW FUNNY. GUESS WHAT THAT SAME GUY ASKED ME FOR MONEY AT THIS RED ROBIN SAYING HE ONLY HAD A QUARTER OF A TANK LEFT AND HAD TO GET TO A PLACE CALLED SLC.... AND THE BISHOPS WERE ALL GONE CUZ IT WAS AFTER 5PM! WHAT A COINCIDENCE!

Karin Katherine said...

This is so tough but YES, it is dangerous for you to do what you do. When you open your purse to take money you are opening yourself up to much more.

The best way to give, is to give to organizations that help people. Yes, they also feed the drug addicts.
The broken. Its just better than dealing with the pan handlers directly. Its just safer.

Now stop doing that stuff or I'm going to have a heart attack worrying about you. And what can I do from Florida? I mean, besides YELL AT YOU IN CAPS and write this long post on your blog...

jsfeatherstone said...

Kelly, This story made me laugh SO hard. You are a very clever writer...and a sucker for helping people. Sounds like it runs in the family. We have a Feathie family reunion this Saturday so I won't see you. We'll miss seeing you!

Megan said...

They probably think that the more bizarre their story is the more believable it'll be, when actually it's the opposite.

I probably would've stopped to let him ask me his question but I'm not sure if I would've given them anything. I very rarely even carry cash.

So strange, these kinds of people.