Today something happened that left a bad taste in my mouth. I was grocery shopping and as I was walking out I saw a man talking to an old woman beside her car. As I walked past them to my car, he came up to me saying "Excuse me mam? Mam?" My initial impression was that this man was just trying to scam people about something. But I told myself to not be stereotypical and to give him the benefit of the doubt. He told me that his car was stuck and he needs money for gas and that his wife and 10 month old child are waiting in the car. I asked him where his car was stuck, and he said at the SA right across the street. I gave him one dollar, and he made a remark something like "a buck for good luck but that's not enough for gas" and then he said "Thank you and God bless" and walked away. I watched him walk over to the Arby's parking lot next to the grocery store parking lot. I started feeling guilty that his family really did need the money and that I should have given him more even though I never like to give money to strangers for a cause that is probably untrue. So as I was driving away, I decided to turn around and go to the gas station to look for this car with his wife and baby. I was fully mentally prepared to fill up their gas tank if they were there. I drove slowly past the pumps and through the parking lot. I didn't see any car with a woman just sitting there or a baby in the back seat. As I was leaving the gas station I saw him walking across the street over to a McDonald's parking lot.
Driving away I had a lot of feelings. I felt angry that this man is walking around scamming nice people, angry at myself for not having been smarter and for giving him a dollar that will go towards who knows what. It's not that I needed that dollar, I wanted to fill their gas tank for them if that was truly the case. But the fact that he is walking around lying to sweet people who will believe him made me feel angry. I was also angry that there are people like that who exist in this world when we are trying so hard to fight against stereotypes. But clearly there is a reason why these stereotypes exist. I was angry because I wanted to help someone in need, and I found out first hand, although of course I know that these people exist, that you can't trust everyone no matter how much you want to fight your preconceived notions. I know that there are people like this all over the place, but when it actually happens to you it raises a lot of emotions. I wish that we lived in a world where I could actually help people in need, rather than just be scammed by somebody who has intentions for that dollar you gave him other than the lie that he told you to get it.