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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, as I was crossing the street after leaving work (I work downtown) a woman approached me and asked if I could help her.

I said sure, and she proceeded to tell me her mother was in the hospital, and she needed to see her, but she didn't have the money to get her car out of the parking lot.  She almost teared up as she told me this.

"How much do you need?" I asked.

"Eighteen seventy-five, minus a dollar," she replied.  I winced.

"I'll pay you back," she said, "I promise."

"Let me check my wallet."  I had nineteen dollars.  I gave her eighteen.

She pulled out her cell phone.  "What's your number?" she asked, "We can meet tomorrow."

I pulled out my cell phone.  "I don't have my number memorized," I said.

"Just call me," she said, so your number will be in my phone's memory.  She gives me her number and I do that.

"Are you free at lunch?" she asked.

I remembered that my coworkers and I were planning to go to a lunchtime concert tomorrow in a downtown park.  I tell her this.

"Great," she said, "I'll meet you there."  Then she gives me a hug and thanks me.

So, am I going to see her tomorrow?
 

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Nope... not a chance. (sorry.)

I work with homeless and drug addicts through a non-profit group, of which I am on the board. I've met and talked with many homeless, and many addicts. At the time I talked with them, of course, they were coming off their high, and they looked/acted like very normal, reasonable, nice people.

But the odds are SOOO stacked against you at this point. Unless you know this girl, my money would be on the fact that your money is already gone, and not to get a car out of parking.

Now.... That being said.... I'm a cynical person by nature, and I really DO hope you get it back. But in my world view, if I go with statistics, assume that you won't and then I'm wrong, I'll be pleasantly surprised. But if I go with statistics and they come up right again, I've already expected and handled the event, mentally. No harm done to my fragile little psyche, right?

Should you have given her the money, anyway? Probably. I would have. I just wouldn't expect it back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She wasn't dressed like a homeless person, and didn't act like one.  Of course, it could have been an act.

But yeah, I gave it to her knowing there was a good chance I wouldn't see her again.
 

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Be sure to let us know!!

Last summer I gave $5 to a homeless guy out here in the 'burbs.  You see homeless downtown in Chicago, but virtually never in the 'burbs.  After the fact, I wondered if he was for real. 
 

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I'm going against my usual cynicism that makes me dislike most of the population and saying she's good for it and you may not see her tomorrow but will at least get a call explaining why and setting something else up.
 

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swolf said:
She wasn't dressed like a homeless person, and didn't act like one. Of course, it could have been an act.

But yeah, I gave it to her knowing there was a good chance I wouldn't see her again.
She's good, that's for sure.

I knew someone in Ohio who lost her job and hit up the exit ramps for awhile to make ends meet. They eventually offered her her job back, but she refused. Turns out she made more money standing on the corner begging for money than she did at a real job. Sad, huh?
 

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About 2 weeks ago, my kids and I were at a park.  We found a cell phone.  Daughter 1 exclaimed, "Oh cool!  A new phone!"  I told her no, we look for a phone number with the name "home" and call it.  We did, and an ecstatic little boy rushed back to the park to retrieve his lost phone.  This weekend, Daughter 2 left her camera at a museum.  My husband said, "Well, somebody just got themselves a shiny new camera."  I figured he was right and that there was almost no chance someone would have turned it in.  But I called them anyway just in case.  Sure enough, the person who found it did the right thing, and her camera was waiting for us to come pick it up.  There are lots of good people out there.   I think you'll get your money back.
 

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I bet "yes" but then I am an eternal optimist. :) The times I helped a stranger who offered to pay me back, however, I asked that they "pay the favor forward' instead by helping someone else in the future. The advantages in this for me is that the stranger does not get any of my information (yes, I am a bit cynical as well) and I can keep my optimism as I don't get disappointed. ;)
 

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I'm actually concerned that she has your phone number.  "Hey, remember me?  Now I'm at a restaurant, short on money for the bill."
I hope I'm wrong and she sees you tomorrow with a smile and some cash.  But either way, that was nice of you and you get some good guy points in my book. 
Find a way to turn it into a story, and get your money back that way.  ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lisa Scott said:
Find a way to turn it into a story, and get your money back that way. ;)
I actually thought of that. While it was happening, I was thinking, is this woman trying to scam me (out of more than $18)?

As I was thinking of ways she could do it, it occurred to me that would be a good story.

And she can call me all she wants, she's not getting more.
 

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It doesn't matter.  You gave from the heart as well as the pocketbook.  If she does show up to pay you back, would you accept it?  I can see you now, smiling your secret smile, knowing you did something that was right.  Trust that it will be paid forward. 
 

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Been There....Done That.  (Drove a guy to the next town, bought gas for his car, drove him back to his car). I never got my $$$ back and actually felt very used. Did not care about the money, just rattled my faith in fellow humans.

But "What goes around, comes around". 
 

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I kinda believe in karma, so even if she doesn't pay you the money back, you will get paid in good karma coming to you.
Alot of people have been burned in that kind of situation and then they stop giving. But the way I look at it, giving or helping is the right thing to do when you can, what happens after you give is on them, you have done the good thing and will be "rewarded" in other ways.
Sometimes you can be surprised though, I have been in a bad spot once or twice and had a strangers help and did give back. Not everyone is scamming for drugs or alcohol, especially in this economy.
 

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I never expect to get money back...when they offer, I ask them to pay it forward. Drop it in a red kettle at the holidays, give a few bucks to someone on a street corner with a sign. That saves me any disappointment, and who knows? Maybe people really do pay it forward. I get jabbed at a lot from friends with "you know it's going for booze or drugs." But ya know what? Doesn't matter. That lady may have used the $18 for something else, but YOU know why you gave it, and in the end that's all that matters. If she pays it back, sweet :)
 

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I like to think there is good in humanity. which even you showed today by listening to her and helping her; so, yes ... if she went through the trouble of exchanging numbers, I think you'll see her. But, if it were me I would've felt like this;
Thumper said:
I never expect to get money back...when they offer, I ask them to pay it forward. Drop it in a red kettle at the holidays, give a few bucks to someone on a street corner with a sign. That saves me any disappointment, and who knows? Maybe people really do pay it forward. I get jabbed at a lot from friends with "you know it's going for booze or drugs." But ya know what? Doesn't matter. That lady may have used the $18 for something else, but YOU know why you gave it, and in the end that's all that matters. If she pays it back, sweet :)
 

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GreenThumb said:
About 2 weeks ago, my kids and I were at a park. We found a cell phone. Daughter 1 exclaimed, "Oh cool! A new phone!" I told her no, we look for a phone number with the name "home" and call it. We did, and an ecstatic little boy rushed back to the park to retrieve his lost phone. This weekend, Daughter 2 left her camera at a museum. My husband said, "Well, somebody just got themselves a shiny new camera." I figured he was right and that there was almost no chance someone would have turned it in. But I called them anyway just in case. Sure enough, the person who found it did the right thing, and her camera was waiting for us to come pick it up. There are lots of good people out there. I think you'll get your money back.
I believe in good people. Shortly after my honeymoon, my husband and I were in Ikea spending some of our wedding cash and I lost a one-of-a-kind, handmade opal bracelet that we'd bought on our trip. I was devastated. I figured no one would ever turn it in, if it was found. To my surprise, I got a call from the store saying that someone had turned it in!

You may not get your money back, but obviously she needed it for some reason. Hopefully it was a good one.
 

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Yay, I can officially go back to being a pessimist.  Thank you for renewing my lack of faith in humanity ;)
 
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