Last week, I was at the gas pump, where I had just finished filling up and I was checking my right rear blinker (because I had that fast blink thing going on), when and a man walked over from the next pump over. "'Scuse me, I'm terribly embarrassed to have to ask this, but could I borrow a couple dollars for gas?" he asked. He went on to explain that he was trying to get home to Elgin, was running on fumes, and had no cash. Of course I was skeptical, but he looked honest enough and seemed sober, a little dingy, but probably just off from working a hard job. So I thought, sure, I'll do a good deed. Paying it Forward, like in that movie. Or a What Would Jesus Do? kind of thing, like on those bracelets.
I had used my card to pay at the pump, so I wasn't even sure if I had a couple of dollars to give the guy. I peeked into my wallet, where I had a twenty and a five. I told him I would need to get change. He was very appreciative and said he'd go use the bathroom while waiting. I went in to get change for a five. As I stood in line I couldn't help thinking about what a cheap-skate I was for not just giving him the five dollar bill. I mean, gas is over $3.50 a gallon anyway and I'm certainly blessed enough not to miss $5.
Nevertheless, I went back outside and gave the guy...four dollars. He was very appreciative and apologetic for having to even ask for it. He pumped his gallon of gas while I continued to fiddle with my burned out blinker. This worked out well, as I was actually able to confirm that he was buying gas and not beer, and I felt a little guilty about not trusting someone who is just less fortunate than most of us. As he drove off, he leaned out his window and thanked me again. I felt pretty good about my good deed, but a little guilty about going to the trouble of breaking a five dollar bill and only giving him four dollars. When I drove off a few minute later I had to circle around his pump, where I noticed that he only pumped $2 worth of gas. Hmmm.