13.6.07

Should I...

Or Shouldn't I?

Initially, I was going to do the tag that NinjaBzzz Bzzz Bee tagged me with. But something happened today that stuck in my mind and has made me wonder if I did the right thing.

Hubby & I try to commute to and from work together. We usually drive to the train station and take the train to work and back home again.

Today, after work, I reached the train station before he did and was reading my book while waiting for him. Along came a young girl, who stopped in front of me and said:

"Do you have a spare dollar? I don't have any money to go home."

Now the thoughts that raced through my mind went something like this...
  • Hmmm...she's got quite a few piercings on her face...
  • She looks 'Goth' (but I shouldn't judge someone by her looks)...
  • A dollar isn't going to get her home unless she's a student
  • How do I know she's not lying to me? What if she's on drugs or something?
And so, I turned my jacket pockets inside out and came across twenty cents that I had picked up a few weeks ago.

"
Is twenty cents okay?" I asked.

"I guess so. Thanks," she mumbled and shuffled off.

I went back to my book but couldn't concentrate. I looked up a couple of minutes later and saw her at the ticket machine. I don't know how but she got the fare she needed to buy a ticket.


I kinda feel a littl' bit bad for not giving her the dollar. A few years ago, I might have given it to her without any further thought. It's kinda sad knowing that you can't trust strangers anymore or reach out to help someone coz' you'd end up get bitten in the bum for doing so. Has my previous job in Fraud and my exposure to House MD made me believe that "Everybody Lies"? Should I have given her the dollar?

In the great scheme of things, I guess a dollar isn't that big a deal.
But the thought that has been haunting me ever since I reached home was this:
"What if my child needed a dollar? Would someone give it to her?"

17 comments:

uncle said...

was waiting for my mother in the sunday morning market at ss2 and stood next to a man who has a crippled right leg with freshly peeled wounds. i reckon he collected rm100 that morning, mostly from women. should i have given rm1? i should because rm1 meant more to him than to me. i contemplated giving him rm10 and see his response but did not. next sunday i will stand next to him again and if he collects less than rm100, i will. tell you what happened next sunday.

Maggie said...

I would, but only because several years back I experienced getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with no cash, transport or any form of telecommunication at hand.

It was only out of kindness that a complete stranger (and a man at that) loaned my 20 sen to call my dad to pick me up. Otherwise I (as the official Princess of Panic in the family) might have been wandering aimlessly through the entire Penang island.

I doubt that I would be so willing to give strangers spare change now if that didn't happen to me earlier.

So don't be too harsh on yourself - you know what to do the next time. *hugs*

izso said...

So am I the only advocate here to denounce the kindness of your 20 cents to be irresponsible?

Sure it's 20 cents, but what if the whole thing was a scam?

I don't know about Perth but if it were Malaysia, 5 out of 10 are scams, 3 out of the remaining 5 are robbery attempts and the remaining 2 are probably genuine.

I kid you not. No dramatising here.

I've personally come across this SOB in the bus station who followed me around and tried to force tears to come out while talking to me and saying he has no money to take a bus to go back. I purposely keep money in a separate pouch and my wallet usually has no more than RM5 at any time. When I said I had no money and showed him my wallet, he said he'd settle for the RM5 too. I started yelling at him in the bus station to get off my back and to stop conning people in the bus station. In fact I created such a ruckus that fella ran out of the bus station when a small crowd gathered around me and was whispering in the background.

Then there's the more evil version of human nature - there's reports of a lonely soul in the middle of the road with a supposedly broken down car, when you stop by to offer assistance, a bunch of guys jump out from hiding and rob you blind.

Then there's the SOB who lurk in petrol stations and offer you lottery or something and they literally go hysterical and bezerk when you supposedly won the grand prize and you'll have to follow them to the headquarters to collect the money. Again, the last time I came across these SOBs I screamed louder than they did to ask them to shut up and get out of my face. I threw the lottery ticket in their faces and wanted to run them over with my car.

So being a good guy in the world will get you in trouble. And lesson learnt is have thicker skin than them and have a way louder voice.

FairyGodmother said...

Girl, don't worry lah....and I think that the best way is to just give from the heart...that's what I do, I mean if the BUGGER decides to use my money for something else..then that is their problem...I have done my part...tell me, how would you know what the money is needed for? Never assume...coz if you assume, you might make an ASS out of U and ME..

Yeah, I think about Jasmine's future all th time....

NinJaMoo said...

uncle: What you said is very true. I was actually thinking that when hubby comes, if she's still there, I'll buy her the train ticket. But she managed to get it herself so...either she already had the money or someone else gave it to her.

maggie: See, that's the thing! I don't know if there's going to be a next time. But I guess you're right. If there is a next time, I'll know what to do! *hugs* back =)

NinJaMoo said...

izso: To each his/her own. Your experiences colour your world and unfortunately, you haven't come across true kindness from a complete stranger. But because of all the bad things that happen, you can't help but doubt everyone and because of that, probably not receive help from a complete stranger.

So we're back to square 1 with you. Have thick skin and be louder.

fairygodmother: I know I know...that's why I told myself shouldn't judge her by how she looks. But if you give money to someone who doesn't use it for good, you're funding something bad indirectly. So it's still bad!

Syrope said...

This is a really tough call.

I was told many times by others to ignore the beggars on the street when I'm overseas on countries like Thailand and Vietnam. Sometimes I just can't help it and give some money. After all, what is a few dollars right?
But needless to say, many of them came out of nowhere and surrounded me after that one act of kindness. I was kinda traumatised.

And the uncle in the train station underpass who seemed to be crippled and a stutterer? I heard from my colleague that he once saw that old uncle run after the bus holding his crutch. But I didn't believe him because the old uncle looked so frail. So one day, I stopped to buy tissue paper from him. He immediately stopped his stuttering and said a crisp "thank you". I was stunned again.

Now, there's a younger man in a wheelchair with cocked neck that has come to compete with the crippled uncle at the same spot in the underpass. Is he for real or not? I dun know and I dun dare to give money again, for fear that I will be conned.

I think... maybe we should think using our brain, not our heart.
Heart is deceiving. But maybe if we observe the people long enough, we can make the right decision to help or not to help.

Don't be too hard on yourself dear. Just let go and look forward to doing other good deeds tomorrow. You'll feel better.

izso said...

Wow.. me and rope on the same frequency on this one!

Moo - yeah well.. a colourless world is easier to deal with when nothing in the world bothers you. Well, ME in this case.

I just kinda remembered an incident from about 3 years ago. Around 10pm some lady who smelled really heavily of alchohol came up to our living quarters (I live in a shop house on the 2nd floor) and was giving us some sob story about needing money to hire a lawyer to get her baby back. I thought for a while on this one. A really long while. Then I asked her to leave. She gave me this really annoyed or whatever look and I told her to shod off because if she really did treasure her child, she'd do something more respectable. What would her child think of her if this is what the mom had to do to get her back? Sure.. it's touching - but no money to hire a lawyer to get her child back is lunacy and impossible. Hasn't she heard of Michael Chong? :P And the fact that she stank of alchohol didn't help at all.

But like what moo said - it's a shame I had to come across all these negative things in my life. It's turned me into quite the sceptic.

ninjabee said...

let's put it this way hun... maybe she used your coin to call her father who picked her up to go home. you might have not given her the $1 that she asked for but you contributed.

in this day and age, it's difficult to decide and easy to be skeptical.

act of kindness doesn't have to be big. you didn't deny her straight away... that shows that you have a kind heart! especially since you sent me the cookies!

would like to return your kindness by sending you a book... unless of course you've bought it. ;)

pugly said...

I would've have just given her the dollar & be done with it. No time-lah to contemplate. Trust your instinct. If you think it's the right thing to do, think no more - just do it!

Whether or not the person is genuine with his/her request is one of those risks you have to take in life. No biggie. It's just a dollar after all.

So much time is wasted over contemplating needless stuff.

NinJaMoo said...

syrope: I know what you mean! It was the same when we were in Mexico. You give money to one child and suddenly, there are 20 more coming towards you. What do you do?

izso: How do you attract all these people? I haven't come across that many nutters (actually I have, but these people aren't nutters in that sense) but you seem to have come across an army! Or do you just remember better than I do? ;p

NinJaMoo said...

ninjabee: Hahaha...thanks for the offer but I haven't actually started looking yet! Been so busy at work this last week, not impressed at all!

pugly: Problem was that instinct went "You're kidding, right?". But the heart softened and gave in slightly. & my instinct's usually pretty spot on...

izso said...

Moo the human lie detector. :)

Pugly - you'd make a very good target..er.. I mean samitaran, no samiritan, no err.. samaritan, what's the damn word already?

danny said...

I will just follow my instinct. I remembered I once gave RM50 to a person who came knocking on my car about him wanting to go repair his car and travel back to Seremban.

I think it is not about the money when the situation is at hand. But rather how far would you go for another person.

If the girl want to go home, I would buy her the ticket, and get her home :)

uncle said...

ninjamoo,

i feel like having KFC now,
u have rm20?

NinJaMoo said...

danny: Trust you to make me feel bad!!!

uncle: Ask the man at the market. I'm sure he has more money than me! But if it means that much to you, then you'll hafta wait until I get back.

Danny said...

You? Feel bad? Don't be. You are just you, and that's the way Jason likes it... Ah uh ah uhhhh... Hehe :P