Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I got took.

I get approached quite often for change. I am not sure why I do. I look poor usually. I don’t drive a fancy car, in fact when in Denver I can usually be found riding my bike. But I guess to your average homeless person that makes me rich, or at least someone who might have a quarter. Sometimes I don’t mind giving a little change, other times I feel like an ATM when I get asked multiple times by the same people every time I see them. Sometimes I buy sandwiches or a bottle of water for them over handing them change.

One time I was offered change. It was a weird feeling. I was not having a great night I parked my car where I was not supposed to and when I later returned to retrieve it, I saw that it was gone. It had been towed. I had to wait at a 7/11 for my dad to come and pick me up to go and get it back. I was sitting on the curb drinking a coke when a drunk lady held her hand out to me offering me her change. I was taken aback and then told her “No thanks, I am fine.” I immediately checked my attire and general look to see if I really looked in need of change. Truth is I was in need of money it was going to cost me $300 or so dollars to get my car back. But 50 cents just felt like a drop in the well.

Like I said living in a major city I am used to getting hit up for change. I have come up with ways to avoid people I think are going to ask me. Sometimes I just say sorry no change before they even get a chance to ask. Other times I just say no as I walk by hoping they don’t hear the jingling in my pockets. I blame it on my keys sometimes. I was walking to my car the other night when a person asked me for money. This guy didn’t look homeless. He was a tall guy probably around his early twenties, and nicely dressed. He didn’t smell like liquor when he got close to me and didn’t slur his words as he spoke.

He told me that he had run out of gas and had also left his wallet somewhere else so he had no way to pay to refill his truck. He told me that he would get me 50 dollars later on if I could just help him out. I took sympathy on him. I had no cash on my person but told him that I would go to the corner store just down the street and use the ATM. I was just going to give him a few dollars enough to buy a couple of gallons and get him to his wallet. But I ended up just handing him the twenty. We then exchanged numbers and he said he was going to call me later and figure out where to meet me to get me my $50. That never happened.

As it got later I kept on waiting for his call and as it got later I got this increasing feeling of being a sucker. I had his number; I still have it in fact. I thought about sending him a text telling him that he didn’t need to give me any money. Telling him to consider it a gift. But my motivation wasn’t out of generosity but instead to try and get rid of this feeling of being a sucker. Its easier to tell yourself that you are generous rather than stupid.

The guy never called me back; it’s a week later. I am over it though. I came to terms with my stupidity. Still though if someone comes up to me asking for change or gas, I might give it to him or her. Its just money.


Joe said...

Don't feel too bad. We all get conned.

My favorite experience with panhandlers happened in Uptown many years ago. This punker sitting on the sidewalk asked me if I had any change so he could "Get some Style." I liked that so much that I almost gave him some cash...but I didn't.

Kari Riley said...

He might have really needed it. I like that there are nice people out there like you. If i'm ever in Denver and need some money I'll come ask you. : ) Miss you!