And that leads me to my point. I did a posting last week about a dude outside the grocery store who asked me for money to go buy ice cream. I didn't give him the ice cream loot. Instead I offered to go in w/him, let him pick out all the ice cream he could hold and eat, and I'd pay for it. He declined. Maybe he was insulted that I didn't trust his spending intentions. Maybe I was being a jerk. Or maybe I thought the liquor store next door factored into the equation. Maybe I didn't like the feeling that he was trying to play me for a sap. So fast forward to a couple of days ago.
I pull into the parking lot at Blockbuster, distracted w/the lines I was rehearsing for the clerks in order to convince them to not charge me the full price of a movie, in this era of no late fees (still not buying the argument this new system is better). As I back my truck into a parking space I stop rehearsing for a sec, 'cause there is a guy hovering in the next spot. He's standing there looking nervous, sweating like he had just walked the Green Mile. I'm not sure what to think.
I get out of the truck and he pounces. He's in my face faster than you can say con man. And he tells me a story about his car having broken down a few blocks away, and how his wife was with the car, and how they were new to South Florida from Boston (that accent was sure real), how he was tapped out and just looking for a little help to get them to the Tri-Rail station on Hollywood Blvd. And then the kicker - as he wipes the sweat off his brow, he shakes his head and says "People are so calloused."
I can't lie. That got to me. I spend a quarter of my day almost every day marveling at some of the crazy behavior I see around me. And so this guy's lament resonated with me.
He may have been a con. I don't know. But my instinct felt some truth. So I hit him with $20 to get him to the train station and on the train. He gave me his business card and took mine and said he'd send me a check in the mail. Pay it forward? I want him to pay it backward. Keep his word and repay my money. He can pay it forward on his own dime.
If I hear from the guy, it'll likely knock a few more bricks off the top of my wall of suspicion. If I don't, I won't be all that surprised. And I'll slap a few more bricks on top of that wall.
Some of you (including my own mother) told me to have a heart for a Sad Sack. This is my attempt. Hope it's fruitful. If it isn't, then no big deal. It's no more $$$ out of my pocket, literally.