I don’t know about you but I feel that $50 is a lot of money if you don’t exactly have a lot of money to begin with and are also not making much money either. So, when someone you don’t know, who is seemingly in a bad situation, asks you to lend him money what do you do? How much is your money really worth to you?
Alright so here is how it went down: I’m sitting at work in the community access computer lab and this guy comes in, a very brash young man who was complaining about being hung over and that he’ll never drink again blah, blah, blah. Slowly the conversation turned into how he just really needs to get back home and when I asked him where he lived he named a town that is at least 7 hours away by bus. He has no money (drank it away all weekend) his roommate is kicking him out, but another friend of his is heading that way and just needs gas money to make the trip. $50. This stranger mentioned that he needs $50 for his friend to fund his way back home. Now, this guy didn’t outright ask me for money but he did ask to use my cellphone to make a few calls to see if he could get some help. He called friends, family, churches and other local places wondering if anyone could help him get home. During the calls I learned that his mom died last year, he lives alone, he has a sister and lastly a father whom he doesn’t see eye to eye with. Naturally I was growing concerned about him even though I didn’t know him from a hole in the floor. The day went on and on like this until near the end of my shift when he still hadn’t made any progress toward his goal. Another regular came in and she offered to feed him at her house and take him to the local food bank for some food and this inspired me to take action. Now, I technically couldn’t afford it but I gave the guy $40 and she gave him $5 that she had. Now it would be great if it all worked out in the end but sadly it didn’t. His friend, his ride outta town either left without him or changed his mind because when he was supposed to leave his ride was no where to be found. The woman who was also helping ended up taking him to a local bar which had a hostel and they parted ways. On the one hand maybe I acted too rash and literally was a mark for a scheme to just dupe people out of money. If that is the case I feel like an idiot because I just wanted to help the poor guy out because if I was in a similar situation I would hope that someone would help me out and I told him this too.
So unless it turns out in another way I am essentially out $40 I probably could have used that I’ll never see again but only because I thought for a second that I was helping out a fellow human being who needed help. I hope I’m wrong and he’ll use the money for something other than smokes or booze or junk, but I may just never know either and I might have to think twice the next time a similar situation arrives.
What would you do? How much is your money worth to you?