I Choose to Help in Spite of Liars & Cheats

Today, while filling my gas tank with my 2-year-old son in the van, a woman approached me and asked if I could spare a little money so she could get some gas in order to get home. These moments are rare, so when the do occur, I like to help. We teach our kids to help those in need and what a better way to show a positive example than by literally helping someone who is in real need?!?

I went into my wallet and got $5 – less than 2 gallons worth of money, but enough. She thanked me kindly and walked to her car two nozzles over. As she walked back, I remember thinking, “Don’t go in and buy cigarettes” or basically anything other than what I gave you money to do.

She didn’t go in the store. She didn’t pump her gas. She simply got in her car… and left. While it is hard, I have to admit, I was heartbroken.

Seriously?!? This was the thanks I get for helping someone in “need”!!!

I literally had tears in my eyes as I was so angry/embarrassed/used/ignorant… I was very emotional. I got in the car and was very quiet. My 2-year-old sensed that something was wrong because I had gone from making faces to him outside the car to solemn quiet in the car. He asked me if I was sick. I told him no, but that I was just sad.

I thought about telling him {in appropriate toddler language} about how some people lie. Some people steal. Some people make very bad choices and don’t care about the people they hurt. I didn’t. Now is not the time. {Emotions are still too high.}

Here’s the thing though: In spite of this woman completely cheating me and my family of $5, I will continue helping strangers. I have helped them in the past and will continue in the future. My hope is that my children do the same. Yes, some will lie to us. Some will take advantage. Some will hurt us.

However, the people who truly need the help will be so thankful – their eyes tearful from someone who said YES! I have seen this joy in people and I refuse to be the one to deny this.

Editor’s Note: This incident impacted me far more than I realized at the time of the occurrence. Please click here to see how we chose to act.

I refuse to teach my children that ALL people who ask for help are bad. I choose to trust people no matter what and to continue to have faith in humanity in spite of the liars and cheats. For the people who truly need the charity, that $5 {or whatever it is!} will be able to buy lunch for them and their daughter. They will be able to buy enough gas to pick their son up from school. They will be able to take the bus to get to a job interview. If I CAN bring that joy to someone, why would I deny it?

Four words that make you a hero to someone: How can I help?

An easy solution, I know, is to give to formal charities. We do this. And there is a lot of benefit to doing so. A food pantry can feed many more people with my money than I can based on their partnerships and experience. Pregnancy centers can provide young parents with pretty much everything they need for a new baby along with the resources to continue helping. Churches provide counseling and support in a way that I cannot.

But the people who have randomly asked for my help are not in these places. They are at parking lots or bus stops or at gas stations where the need is immediate. I can choose to deny or I can choose to help. I choose to help.

We all make mistakes. I want to know that there are people out there that if I leave my purse with my cell phone in it at home and my car runs out of gas, they will help me rather than assume I am out to cheat them. I want to teach my children to help those people as well.

Now, I know in the grand scheme of life, it was literally $5. But the fact of the matter is that we are a family who budgets everything, so my giving $5 to someone pulls it from our budget and I want to know that it is worth it. In this case, it very much so was not. The next time though, it may be the exact thing a person needs to bring joy to their heart again.

1 Corinthians 13:13

God bless & Have a great day!


3 thoughts on “I Choose to Help in Spite of Liars & Cheats

  1. Pingback: Cautiously Helping with Blessing Bags | Fun & Frugal Mama

  2. Pingback: Give Help WITHOUT Giving Money | Fun & Frugal Mama

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