Apr 29, 2010

On a Moment of Selfish Caution and Nagging Doubts

"Hiya doin', buddy - my car just ran out of gas on the corner and I was hoping you could sell me some lawn mower gas so's I can get it going."

This was the way the 40-something interloper approached me as I was watering one of my gardens this morning. Normally I go out of my way to help people, but something about this greasy-haired individual set off my "trouble" alarm.

Maybe it was the way he was dressed that jumped out at me, a style that might be described as "open-shirted, hairy-chested, linguine-overeating mobster," and a person for whom a quality eczema natural treatment would be a welcome addition to the daily personal appearance regimen. Perhaps it was his too-friendly manner, which at first reminded me of those panhandlers who hang around gas stations bumming spare change so they can drive their starving children back to Illinois or whatever bulls**t destination they come up with.

Or it might have been the fact that this guy was way too old to be driving a car to the point where it runs out of gas. Or the fact that a gas station was a mere three blocks away. Or the fact that if I relinquished my small gasoline hoard, I would have to make an extra trip.

And it was a bright, sunny Thursday morning, so it wasn't as if the guy was going to have to trudge through a foot of snow or a driving rain to get his car running again. In fact, the exercise would probably do Mr. Chunky some good.

Anyways, I felt no compulsion to sell (or to give away in a spirit of good karma) the half-gallon or so of gasoline stashed in my tool shed. Yet the longer I looked at his stalled car on the corner, the more I began to question my initial decline to help this guy, even if he rubbed me the wrong way.

Luckily for the man and his companion, their cell phones brought help in the form of a friend or relative who delivered them some gas. Another 60 seconds later and the 1992-ish Pontiac rumbled away, and my doubts about refusing to be a Good Samaritan also passed.

Or did they pass? The doubt lingered at least long enough to compose this blog post.


TLM0000 said...

I think after a certain age it's okay to trust your instincts.

SensorG said...

You're getting jaded in your old age.

Anonymous said...

Who knows?

Mad Jack said...

Fear keeps you alive. If the man seemed wrong to you, I'm betting he was. Your reasons for refusing him were due to his demeanor and appearance; you didn't mention your own inconvenience at all.

There's a gas station three blocks away? Give him directions.

steve said...

I probably would have given him a $5 and directions, instead of allowing him to follow me to my shed to see what's in it. I'm a sucker, but a fast thinking sucker.

Anonymommy said...

Better to be safe than sorry. However, in college, I once locked my keys in my car at a CVS that ended up being closed. I had to promise a stranger to give me cash because the tow people wouldn't take a credit card. I am a woman and was scared to be alone in the dark. I sent her a check exactly 1 day later with an extra 5 bucks for interest, or whatever. I am not scary looking though, so once again, you never know. That stranger totally saved me though.

Mad Jack said...

I am a woman and was scared to be alone in the dark.

Which is why you shouldn't never go anywheres without packing your gat. Any problems, you just haul out your gat and put some lead in the air. They'll take the hint - if they're still suckin' up your air, that is.

Good for you for sending your benefactor a cheque, though. I know many people who wouldn't have.

Anonymommy said...

I was sick and went to the pharmacy for medicine. It was a sunday evening and had closed early. It was dusk when I got there...but dark while I was trying to figure out how to get out of the situation. P.S. Any chance anyone could check out my blog...I am new to this...but I am looking for help. No comments thus far. Thanks.

microdot said...

Ethics? You say you only had a 1/2 gallon of gas...if the tank was empty, that amount might have been enough to start it, but then again...the gas station was 3 blocks away. I would have had no qualms in pointing that out to him.
There is a big difference between giving someone in a real jam a hand and letting someone inconvenience you to cover their own lazy ineptitude.
He managed on his pown quite nicely.

Bottom line? He was a jerk.

Anonymous said...


So you have met Guido too...don't be surprised if you don't spot him in another Toledo neighborhood pulling the same scam. His companion does the dirty work once you are busy being the Good Samaritan.

Kenny Isbell said...
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