What Would YOU do??


A debate has been raised in my household, and I’m wondering how you would weigh in on this subject?

Back story: 

While in the check-out aisle at Wal-Mart last night, an unkempt older man dressed in stained khaki coveralls and an old knit-cap, approached Sexy Hubby and said, “Excuse me, but can you give me a ride home.”

Without missing a beat, SH said, “Sorry buddy. Can’t do it tonight.”

Dejected, the man turned around and wandered off.

Of course, I tend to freeze in any sort of awkward situation, and freeze I did, until we were safely ensconced in our car, then I wondered aloud why we didn’t give him a ride. Of course, my first thought was, “How did he get to Wal-Mart in the first place?” and “Why is that transportation stream no longer valid?”

My reason for not complying  is always fear. What if we got him in the car and he pulled a gun on us?  What if he directed us to a place where people were waiting to do us harm? I realize my imagination operates on cruise-control, unwilling to accept any reasonable explanation on any given topic, yet I was perplexed.

SH said, “If he would have approached me saying, “Hey buddy, I need of a ride home. What can I do for you? Do you need snow shoveled, or any small work done?”

I’m not sure that would have made a difference in that moment. We were caught off guard and didn’t have a response ready, except no.

After continued communication, we decided the best option would have been to offer him cash for a taxi. That way, he would have gotten his ride home safely and without mishap. Only, we never (and I mean ever) have cash on hand. (Something I vow to change after this situation. With a small amount of cash on hand, I could have readily offered this man a solution to his dilemma. I never want to be in a like situation and not be able to offer help. If the shoe was on the other foot, I hope to hell we don’t have to rely on a a couple like us for help.)

Overall, I’m disappointed that when asked for help, we declined. No only did we offer no solution, we caused shame in the poor fellow who was clearly down on his luck. So much for love thy neighbor.

This situation plagued me all night, so I’m reaching out to ask you, have you ever been in this situation? If so, how did you respond?


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2 thoughts on “What Would YOU do??”

  1. I have picked up a hitchhiker or 2. And once, I was really frightened. It was a bad choice and I feel lucky that it didn’t end badly.

    But, my hubby was in a very nearly identical situation recently. During the cold snap, he stopped at Wendy’s and ended up chatting with a man who sounds very similar to the guy you described. He asked for a ride home and my sweetheart obliged. The guy had ‘lost’ his cell phone and was out of propane in his trailer. So he helped him with that as well.

    If I had been with him, he wouldn’t have.

    It is really hard to find that line for yourself. I think caution and trusting your instinct is really important. Compassion is important but you can find a way to help that doesn’t make you vulnerable and I think your instincts told you exactly that.

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing Bunny!
      I think it was a good exercise for us, as we were so caught off-guard, that instantly we shut down (at least I did.)
      In the future, having thought through the process, I will be better equipped to help, if able.

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