People Asking for Money at the Gas Pump

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by DanceMentor, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    So I'm sort of stuck there pumping gas, and someone came up and said, "This has never happened to me before, but I'm almost out of gas and just need enough to get home. I've got my daughter in the car and don't know what to do. Can you help me??

    They seemed legit, and I went in and paid a few dollars to the attendant instead of handing it to them, and they thanked me, and end of story.

    The problem is this has happened twice more! So 3 times in one month!

    I drive a nice car and true enough, I usually have a few dollars in my wallet.

    How would you handle this situation?

  2. I usually do what you did... or even give them the cash, if that is what strikes me to do. My theory is that 1) it is not easy to ask. 2) even if I am being taken, I prefer to be the one who will help when I can rather than not be. For me, it is about me and the person I like to think I am. If they are being dishonest, that is about them, not me.

    Congratulations for being someone who makes it better.
    chomsky likes this.
  3. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    For me, we are talking 3 out of the last 4 times if I remember right, so not sure if I want to keep paying this. :)
  4. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Scams are always most effective if they appeal to your good nature. This IS a scam of course - who drives a car with a kid in it so far away from home without a credit card or any cash?
  5. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I'd err on the side of scam and wouldn't give them anything. I heard this from a couple of people IRL by now, and in one case, when the person drove past same gas station several hours later, the scammer was still there, asking customers for money.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    well...in truth, as a formerly scatterbrained mom, I could see myself doing this...I once left for my lessons in indy without my purse ...and got half way there and realized it and didn't have enough gas to get there...thank God, because I am truly pathetic, I had 20 bucks in CHANGE in the bottom of my dance bag to get the rest of the way there...i had to borrow 100 bucks from a fellow student to spend the night and eat and gas up to get home...and had to pay my pro a week late...

    all of that being said, I would rather err on the side of being scammed than on the side of cynicism
    chomsky, Larinda McRaven and Debra like this.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm with you, fasc. I'd rather be scammed than leave a person in need. I have three stories that pertain. I hope I have time to type all three.

    1.Years ago I went to Target and a homeless guy was sitting outside. As I walked in he asked me for $0.50 to buy something to eat. I thought about all the horror stories of people panhandling then spending the money on booze so I said no. Then I went into Target and bought a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff. As I checked out, I was in the next line over from the homeless guy, who was in line buying a candy bar. Somebody had given him fifty cents and he bought something to eat, just like he'd said he would.


    2. One time several years ago, I took DS out for pizza. As we walked back to our car, a desperate-looking lady walked up to me and asked me for a few bucks. She said that she'd been saving up to leave her abusive husband. She'd saved $42 which was enough for her to get out. That morning, when she went to her stash, it turns out that her abusive husband had found the money and stolen it. But she just couldn't make herself stay any longer. So she left and begged people on the street. She said she was just trying to get a hotel room for the night, until she could find a way to contact her family. I don't know why, but there was something about her. I opened my purse and took out every bit of cash I had. I gave it to her and watched as she walked to the hotel across the street.


    3. Once, not long before MY abusive now-ex husband left, he had absolute and complete control over our finances. I had zero money. Zero. But I had to go get DS to school. So I scrounged up some loose change (turned out to be $3) and used the fumes in my car to drive to Wal-Mart. My plan was to put the money on a gift card and buy gas. (Sam's/Walm-Mart gas station doesn't accept cash.) Problem? There's a $5 minimum on Wal-Mart gift cards. I just about burst into tears right at the cash register. Without a word, the lady behind me in line reached into her purse and handed me five bucks. I have no idea who she is and I'll never see her again, but she saved me that day.


    Yes. There are a lot of rotten scammers out there, BUT you truly never know what people are going through. That's not to say you should be gullible. I just think you should be aware.
    chomsky, Debra and Purr like this.
  8. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I think a greater idea that people should entertain is how they can volunteer or contribute to good causes where they know they are helping people. There are many good works to be done and we all can play our part.

    Now, I will say this about NOT giving. You can sometimes can contribute to a problem becoming worse or dangerous to others. There are some places where people can literally get surrounded by people asking for help and the people asking can be dangerous. I understand in some places in Los Angeles it can be illegal. Sometimes there are people who not only want you to pull out your wallet, but also want to take it from you or see where you keep your money.

    Obviously, you need to use good judgement when deciding how to help people, and there is always more you can do with an organized operation like a charity.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. I learned this the hard way. (I'm just full of stories, aren't I? lol.) The first time I visited the slave castles on the coast of West Africa, I got jumped. I had just come out of one of the castles -- Elmina, IIRC. While I was stunned and raw and trying to recover, a cute little boy came up to me and asked for money. I wasn't thinking, so I reached into my little pouch and handed him the equivalent of a dollar or two. All of a sudden, a man lunged at me, seemingly out of nowhere. He was physically impaired and dirty and smelly and (I eventually figured out) he was saying, "I beg you. I beg you." I have never been so terrified in my life, partially because I was so emotionally raw over what I'd just seen, but partially because I could have been in real danger. If this strange man had intended me physical harm, I would have been physically harmed. Period. He had me. The irony, of course, is that I "helped" the cute, clean, obviously well-fed little boy and I was repulsed and frightened by (and therefore didn't help) the homeless, dirty man who really needed help. *sigh*

    Agreed. I would add whether and when to how. Even if you do see someone in what seems to be in real distress, keep your wits about you. Opening your purse or wallet when it's dark, in an isolated spot, when you're alone, when they're not, when you don't have clear visibility, when you're distracted, etc... might just be a bad idea.

    And, when it comes to charities, I would also add a couple things. One. I like to research charities before I give, just to make sure that the maximum amount of money possible is being applied to intended cause. And, since I work for a corporation that does matching gifts for 501c3s, I take advantage of that whenever I can. I may not have a lot to give but, as long as what I'm giving is not zero, doubling whatever I have to give is a good thing, I think.
  10. flashdance

    flashdance Active Member

    Someone once asked me for a lift at a gas station! I obliged because she seemed quite desperate/worried.

    It later transpired she had missed her train (I figured out what she was upto when we reached the destination! lol).

    Don't think I would do that again, it was kind of a gullible thing to do as I didn't know her at all - total stranger. I just wanted to help but felt used and it knocked my trust in other people a bit - if she had been honest fromt he start. Sigh.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I've seen one too many silly slasher movies to ever be comfortable letting someone in my car. I wouldn't call it gullible, though. Risky, yes. Empathic, yes. Gullible, no.
  12. flashdance

    flashdance Active Member

    lol, i love 80s horror films... actually.... I remember feeling a little unnerved with her there :eek: ... I was late for a meeting too but in a way happy I could help someone :)
  13. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    I would say most likely the OP had experienced was a scam, 3 out of 4 times in a month? Isn't it obvious? Same excuse- kid sit in a car and parents have no cash or credit cards? Probably best to snap a pic of the guy and report to local police? This does smell fishy to me. I agree that should use one's judgement and be aware though. If I were OP, I would probably help for maximum first two times, and this sort of thing keeps coming to me, it seems possible that the scammer even recorded OP's car license plate and just keep using different people in the group to get money out of same victims. Really should be aware.

    A friend of mine had been approached by a street bum asking her for some change for food, after she gave, she noticed that street bum was calling someone by using an expensive phone, that expensive cell phone was that kind of most expensive one on market at that time. My friend was so pissed that she worked so hard and still hasn't saved enough to buy that kind of pricey phone, but that street bum easily could afford a luxury phone by his "work".

    Also another time a cab driver told me a story of a street bum jumped on his cab, asked him to drive to bum's home for change of clothing, the driver found out the bum lived in a luxury house with his wife and kids, he changed out of his bum clothing into nice suits, told the driver,"today is my days off, I'm changing into something nice and I'm visiting my kids." !!!! That cab driver commented that ever since he witnessed that, he told every person he met not to give changes to anyone begging on street or at subway, better to give to charity directly.

    My parents and other relatives from China also told me in Chinatown or Shanghai, there are such group of scammers who will drug people and took all their money afterwards- they would approach victim, pretending be lost, show you a map asking for direction or show you something, after you reading the stuff they put in front of you, you either pass out or would listen to their instructions, then they would ask you to give all your money to them and you would just obey, after you wake up, they would all be gone! Really creepy! In NY Chinatown and Shanghai, there were victims had given lots of money to such scammers. Really have to be aware! When my parents visited Shanghai for vacation, mom's sister advised her not talk or maintain eye contact with any strangers, just keep walking straight. Now they are warning me about these scam too, really crazy type of scam! Better be safe than sorry!
  14. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    I agree with this 100%, most of time I don't feel comfortable of pulling money out of my purse when someone begs at subway or street is because I really hate others see where I keep my money. NYC subway or street definitely aren't good places to show where you keep your cash! Safety first!
  15. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    I guess you could call that being Shanghai'd?
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  17. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Eh, I dunno. I'm pretty jaded. I give at work (payroll deduction) directly to charities. But directly to people? Not so much. First of all, I practically never have cash on me. (Even if i did, it would be in my wallet, and no way in hell am i stopping and digging out my wallet--just not smart.) I used to carry change for when I walked to work, specifically to give to the homeless people, but I stopped that; I should start again though.

    Mostly I go by feel--if it feels like a scam (the guy with nice shoes and clean hands asking for money when you walk up to the ATM, or the guy with the bizarre convoluted story involving a map you have to get closer to read--btdt) then no. But if it seems legit, and I am able, then...yeah. It's not consistent, just more of a vibe at the time thing. Shrug.

    That said...one time a guy asked for money for food. He had the whole sob story--please help, very hungry, just wanted to get something to eat. I remember it was right before Christmas and it was very cold. I didn't have cash on me, but I had been planning to buy myself something to eat o the way home...so I also bought a sandwich and soup for the guy. I brought it back to him...and he refused it. He wanted money, and got angry at me for not giving him any like he had asked. Kind if turned me off to giving, truth be told.

    That said, another time I walked past a guy begging with a sign. Homeless vet, hungry, please help, yada yada. I thought it was a scam. Too well dressed, too clean, just didn't feel right. ...and then I watched the guy walk over and pick up a piece of sandwich or something that pigeons had been fighting over and eat it. I still feel guilty for ignoring him, or not buying him something to eat.

    OTOH, I walk past about the same half-dozen homeless people every day I go to work. Do I give to all of them? One of them? Rotate? The one who no one ever seems to give money to? I don't know.
  18. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I rarely give money, but I will give food.

    It was kinda funny when I was in Guatemala... there was a scrap of young boys and a dog following us. Of course they were set out by their parents to beg from the "rich Americans" and of course we were told millions of times to ignore them. Well they just kept following and saying "un quetzal, un quetzal? un quetzal por tortilla?" endlessly, with their tiny little hands outstretched and hungry hungry looks on their faces.

    We went into a cafe and had lunch and when we exited I brought a stack of tortillas. Instead of handing them money I gave the tortillas that they had so desperately needed the money to buy. They took the tortillas and immidiately threw them on the ground, and went to the next person. "un queztal por tortilla?"

    Even the dog ignored the tortillas.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    That reminds me of the time twin sis and I visited the temple/ruins in Cozumel, Mexico ( a definite must-see, if you ever cruise that part of the Caribbean.) A little boat dealie (a catamaran?) took us from the ship to the shore near the temple. As the passengers disembarked, we got swarmed by dozens of adorable kids who were selling miniature packs of five chicklets for a penny each. Our guide warned us not to give them money. I almost gave them money anyway. The thought of five and six year old kids selling chewing gum tugged at my heartstrings. BUT those were some darn clean and well-dressed beggar kids AND I was ticked that they weren't in school on a midweek morning. What the heck. Their parents were pimping them out to sell gum rather than sending them to school. I decided not to support that kind of child exploitation.
  20. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    would be more appropriate to call being drugged + robbed. Not a good thing. I'm not kidding you, a few months ago at NY 6th Avenue near 47th Street (the Diamond district), an Asian guy dressed in monk clothing approached me with a sinister smile and tried to hand me a booklet sort of thing, I screamed out loud "Don't touch me" and kept walking straight and he did not follow me, thank god. I was really freaky out and still remembered the evil smile on his face. I think I did the right thing to avoid eye contact and kept walking straight, nothing gonna to be good happening to me, even though he wasn't trying to drug me, why the heck he tried to hand me things? I bet he either tried to ask me for money or sell me things? I don't have time to stop for scammers.

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