I am in Kansas City for my nephew's graduation. When the day's activities were done we were heading back to our hotel and stopped for gas at a Quik Trip. I filled the tank and the wife went inside to get herself a bottle of milk. When I finished feuling the car, I pulled up into a parking space with the intention of going inside, meeting the wife and getting something for myself. She was waiting for me so I just got out with the intention of going inside on my own.
As I got out of the car a man standing next to his car asked me if I might help him. He didn't appear dangerous or anything so I stepped over. As I did so he raised his hood and started telling me his woes.
He started by saying that he was having trouble with his fuel pump. I thought he was going to ask if I knew anything about how to fix it but he was asking the wrong guy if he needed that. He continued telling me that he was trying to get home to Columbia but didn't know anybody in the area and couldn't get anyone at home on the phone and didn't have money for gas and... He seemed genuinely distressed but acted as if he was just going to keep rambling on. Finally, I asked, "What do you need?"
"Anything. Any help you can give me." and started going through his list again. He mentioned gas 2 or 3 times. I told him all I had was a couple of dollars but he was welcome to it and I handed it over. He thanked me and I went into the store.
As I was walking in, one of the clerks was standing with the door open and was on the phone. I heard her say, "he's in a red cap. Yes. Now he's getting into the car and leaving."
The gentleman I had been talking to (who was wearing a red cap), got into his car, had a bit of trouble starting it, then left. He just left. I got taken.
Now, it doesn't bother me that I got taken for a couple of bucks. It wouldn't have bothered me over $5 or $10. It's just money. I will err on the side of charity every time. What bothers me is that people feel the need to do that to make money. Is he a con man? Is he out of work? Is he really having difficulty but just doesn't want to get hassled by the cops? I just feel like I gave him my money under false pretenses and it just doesn't sit right. I just pray that whatever the reason he is doing this gets resolved and he can go on with life without having to do this.