Whether it's a broken-down-looking guy asking for fifty cents, a woman with kids, or someone in a well-tailored suit... Under what circumstances, if any, would you or have you given money to strangers?
This comes to-mind because I faced a similar situation, this morning. My throat was really killing me, so I left work to grab a drink from a local convenience store. Before I could open the door to my truck, I noticed that a small-framed Black male over the age of fifty (and maybe sixty), wearing an orange t-shirt and sporting a worn-out dye job with grey roots was anxiously waiting on me.
I opened the door and he gave me his full attention. My first words were, "You're going to have to give me a little space." He stepped back a little and said that his car had broken down, so he needed a ride to get his other car. I told him I was sorry, but I had to get back to work. I think he mumbled a "thanks, anyway," or something, and we went our separate ways.
Once inside the store, I asked the clerk whether she knew if the old man in the orange shirt had driven that car into their parking lot. She said he had and that she guessed he was trying to get it jumped or something. Since she more or less confirmed his story and I *know* how it is to be stranded due to car trouble, I removed a five dollar bill from my wallet, palmed it, and left the store.
I approached the old man in the orange shirt, whom I'd noticed had approached other at the gas station, and asked if he lived close enough to take a cab ride back home. He said he did, so I handed him the five and told him good luck as he thanked me repeatedly on his way into the store.
I didn't know what was IN the store, but maybe he was going to ask them to let him call a cab so he could use the money on cab fare. Who knows? I didn't want to know, though.
The way I saw it, there was a good chance that this man was in-need. I actually had a tiny bit of cash to spare and it might get him a little closer to his goal, so I took a chance.
Whether he lived up to to the modest amount of faith I placed in him or not is completely up to him. That will not, however, determine whether I put that same faith in the next person I meet.
Why? ...or why not?