Rewind 5 months. It was a May weekend. The weekend that we were hosting a family reunion here in AZ. My cousin Alex was in charge of bringing the chips and salsa to dinner so he asked my sister and I to drive him over to On the Border to pick up some of that deliciousness. Those chips and salsa are so good.
So we parked in the OTB parking lot and Al went in to order and get the stuff. So, Kay and I were just sitting in the car listening to music when we see a young woman looking into the car and slowly approaching. She was completely "normal" looking. Just a clean, shirt and jeans, hair in a nice pony, 20-something year old. She approached my window so I rolled it down halfway. She kept her distance as to not be threatening. And she started by saying, "I'm not crazy. My name is Tiffany and I promise I'm not crazy or homeless or anything. All of the women I have talked to have been really mean to me. I am in a bad situation and my boyfriend and I got in a fight and he just left me here. I'm new to the area and don't know anyone that can help me. I'm so sorry to bother you. But I just called Discount Cab to see how much it would cost to get me home. I would need another $16 to get there. I thought that maybe you girls could help me out."
Kailey and I had both left our purses/wallets back at the house so we honestly didn't have any cash we could give her. I told her that I believed she wasn't crazy and I was sorry and really wish I could help her. She had a look of desperation in her eyes and I genuinely wished there was something I could do for her. It was over 100 degrees out that day and she had no where to go. I was worried about her the rest of the day.
Now back to present day (well, a few weeks ago)....my sister Kimmie and I walked out of the grocery store and started loading our groceries into the trunk. I saw someone out of the corner of my eye watching us and eventually started approaching us. Once she got close enough I could tell she looked familiar but couldn't exactly place her. Then she smiled and started talking..."Hi, I just want to tell you first that I'm not crazy. I just need help and all the women I have talked to have been really mean to me..." That clicked with me right away. I stopped her and said "yeah, you approached me a few months ago...you're trying to get somewhere right?" She got defensive and said "no, I didn't approach you. That wasn't me. My name is Tiffany and I need to get home... my boyfriend just left me here and I'm new to the area (right back into her script) so I just called Discount Cab and I will need $16 to get home..." She used the same EXACT story! We went back and forth and she wouldn't admit that she used this story before. I finally said sorry we can't help you today. And left.
I've been thinking about it since. I will usually use my discretion and help people with a dollar or two when it seems that they are really in need. I am in no place to judge others so if I can help them then I will. But this girl pissed me off. I'm not stupid...I know that most people begging for money are lying about their situation. But like I said...who am I to judge? Can't you just feel bad for people without them lying to you?
Are there any people out there that actually need help and don't lie about it? What about when someone actually does run out of gas and needs a few dollars to get home? Is anyone going to believe them? Do people do this for like a full time job? Do people actually give a random person that comes up to them in the parking lot $16? Isn't that dangerous?
So this Tiffany girl obviously does this for a living. She has it figured out. She plays specifically to women who will feel bad for her. She has the exact amount to ask for that will make her a lot of money but won't be too much for people to give. And she just hits up all the parking lots in the whole area. The two places that she approached me at were about 8 miles apart. So she just makes her rounds and lies to people.
I thought about my stand on this situation and decided that no stranger should ever need to ask for more than $3 from someone. $3 could get you a meal, a tank of gas, a phone call or a bus ride. So, that's my new policy. If someone asks for more than that then I have to assume they're lying. I mean, I'm not saying that I would give it to them anyway. But I just won't assume that they're lying. Does that sound fair? Does anyone else have a policy they stick to? I'm very curious.