Friday, August 28, 2009

$5 for Gas

For the first time yesterday, I gave someone I don't know money for gas.

This is not an usual request: to see someone on the side of the road, seemingly stranded, asking--even if you don't slow down to listen--for money. Most of the time my windows are up, or my eyes or diverted, or I just don't have any cash (whether or not it's true).

But yesterday, driving to meet a friend for lunch, I had my windows down. As I left my office building, I noticed the man sitting on the tailgate of his van, clearly very hot. I made eye contact, he started waving his arms pretty desperately for help. I stopped. I never stop. My doors were locked, but I was slightly terrified of what could happen. He stayed seated, didn't approach my car, but told me he was out of gas and asked for five dollars, or if I had any change. I hesitated, but I knew I had a $5 bill in my wallet. So I grabbed my purse, pulled out the money, and offered it to him. At that point, he approached my car, keys in one hand, the other hand raised so I could see it was empty. I had one hand on the "lock" button on the door of my car, and stretched out the other with the $5 bill. He thanked me profusely; I said "You're welcome. God bless."

It was scary for me. Probably because of all of the publicity surrounding the recent trial of the first person accused (and now convicted) of the murder of Channon Christian. But I didn't say no. And I lived through it.

The man was gone by the time I got back to the office after lunch. I hope God will bless him. I certainly won't forget him.

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