Monday, January 17, 2011

My Predicament

I am still feeling guilty.

I have a feeling that the other decision would not have settled well either.

There was that third choice, but I didn’t think of it until it was too late.

The Place: Reasors 41st/Yale
The Time: 8:30ish pm
The Dilemma: someone needing money

So I finish loading my groceries into the back of Sasquatch(my dad’s name for my vehicle) and get into the driver’s seat. I notice a woman who exited a car (car then drove away) and then walked right towards my car with a panda bear in her arms. I am slightly worried so I lock my doors. She comes to my window, knocks and I roll it down a little. She, in a matter of fact- no shame manner asks “Can I have $20 to buy my baby some formula. If you do give it to me, I'll give you this stuffed animal”.

Now…here’s where I get stuck: Does she have a baby? Is she going to reach her hand into my window and try to get in if I don’t give her the money? Where is the baby? Why did she ask for $20, why not just ask for money for formula?

There were a few occasions when we purchased formula for Emmy, and I know that you CAN buy a container for less than a twenty. I thought it was a bit weird that she asked for a certain amount. That was the first thing that triggered my brain, to tell my heart, that it probably wasn’t going towards formula.

I was stuck for a second and didn’t know how to reply. I came up with this “Ma’am, you must believe me when I say this- if I could see your baby, if I in fact knew the money was going towards the baby, I would gladly give you the money”.

She replied “it’s too cold for him”.

I looked up at my trusty display in the car that read “40* F”. I told her that yes it was a little cool, but that I’ve had my baby out in this kind of weather many times. She didn’t have much to say. In my mind, I have automatically assumed she does not really need the money for a baby but for drugs. I shouldn’t have assumed that, but I did.

I left Reasor’s feeling sad, guilty, uneasy, worried, and unsure.

Did I do the right thing? Should I have doubted her? What if there really was a hungry baby? Did I just make the face of a Christian look bad because I didn’t give to the poor? I have just been fooled before, and didn’t want to be taken as a fool again.

On my way home scenario #3 entered my mind. I could have gone into the store with her and bought the formula myself. I thought of that too late. I guess that would have been the tell-tale sign as to whether she really needed the formula or not.

Then I started thinking about the person dropping her off. What if that was her boyfriend/husband? What if he sent her out to get money and was mad when she returned with nothing?


This happened 19 hours ago and it’s still bothering me.

What would you have done?


  1. GRRR. I just typed a huge comment to this. and it like got deleted.

    Bottom line, I do not give unless with absolute uncertainty I have been prompted by the Holy Spirit. My rule of thumb is this: "It is better to be rude than to be a victim". You just CANNOT trust people today. You CAN give to reputable places.

    Most of the attacks happen when someone asks for help, money, directions, etc, and the person reaches into their purse to help. Then someone attacks, and most women, while being interviewed after their attack, will say, "Well, I didn't want to be rude".

    If your had lady approached me, I would have said "I can't help you" and drove off without engaging her at all. It is not worth risking you and Emmy's safety or even life. There are other places, like our caring center, that can offer help.

    DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. Be thankful you are not hurt.


  2. Thanks Kathryn. I appreciate your comment. Chris and I do make it a point to give to organizations who make it their job to help those in need. The much safer route.

    I think i just have "sucker" written on my forehead to those who haven't seen me before. Now, the downtownies...they know I don't give any money away. Especially since I see them in the same spot everyday!

  3. Sometimes my frustration comes from the inability to help someone without feeling like there is a good chance of becoming a victim, you know? A woman approached me one time leaving Albertsons wanting a ride to the bus stop. It was on my way, but I immediately felt scared and told her I was going the opposite way...I didn't want to be alone in my car with a stange woman. Driving home, I felt awful...what if she was just a woman that needed a ride and not someone that was going to harm me once we were alone?

    I agree with Kathryn - you did more than I did. I probably would have said I didn't have the $20 and drove off. If someone approached me with a stuff animal in exchange for money, I would have been uncomfortable. I think you did the right thing.

    Matt has been in situations where people have asked for money for gas, so instead of giving them money, he'll pump them some gas and pay for it himself.

    This would be a good topic to discuss in class :)

  4. I agree that the details lead me to believe something weird was going on... who tries to exchange stuffed animals for money? That's just too weird.

    The only other thing you could do in the future is to know of a local shelter that helps women/babies & tell her where it is. There are surely places she could go for help if it's truly formula that she needs!


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