I like to think I am a kind and trusting person. Having said that I know that I have become a lot more jaded and cynical over the years. Wasn't born yesterday after all (don't laugh). Our City has had so many reported instances of a new breed of scam artist. Seemingly distraught people on their way to the hospital, only to find they've run out of gas, left their wallet at home in a rush or inadvertently taken the wrong bag so have no ID, cards or cash. cry me a river right? A few years ago I was approached by someone who looked like a bum with that same story in the Wal-Mart Unicity Parking Lot. I told them to go talk to customer service. I mean wouldn't you?
Today I'm walking down Corydon at a fairly brisk pace when I hear HONK, HONK, HONK and a woman comes rushing across the street, barely making it. She appears flustered, I smile and give her the "that was a close one look" and continue on my way quite quickly. Next I hear "excuse me, excuse me" She's wearing black pants, black shirt and carrying a black sweater - in this weather?? Looked like the middle age (not my age) grandma type
Lady - are you from Winnipeg?
Me - yes (smiling)
Lady - well, I'm obviously not (laughing). I'm from Hadishville, do you know where that is, just west of Winnipeg on the #1 toward Kenora?
Me - (in a rush) ok (shrugging shoulders, sure, she could be)
Lady - well I'm having a bit of a dilemma (starts rambling)
Me - (interrupting) ok, so what's your dilemma?
Lady - I'm on my way to the hospital, I've got baby stuff in the car. My nephew grabbed the wrong back pack today, I don't have mine. I tried calling there I don't even know if my niece got the message (can you hear the alarm bells in my head?) I just.
Me - you know what? I've heard this story before. I've become very cynical - I'm sorry, but I can't help you
Lady - (face drops like a rock, sadness pours out of her) - oh, I'm sorry - I was just going to ask you for a few quarters
Me - (war of the worlds now going on in my brain as I study her for a moment) ok, a few quarters I can do
Lady - no, no
Me - ya, I can do a few quarters, good luck
Lady - thank you. I'm sorry your so cynical have a good day
I proceed down the street, not even two steps - I turn around and she is GONE, I mean nowhere to be seen - GONE
So have I made the right move, sent a scam artist packing? Or turned away a fellow human in need??? Maybe an angel in disguise? The girls at work seem to think I got taken for a long ride and just encountered the latest in a long line of people who've taken the scam out of the parking lot and into the neighbourhood. What else could I have done? See if she kept digging a hole, asked for a specific amount, that she would mail me a cheque? I almost offered up my cell phone for her to make a call, but didn't want it to get stolen.
On another note - is hitch hiking illegal in Manitoba? I saw an RCMP officer picking up a hitch hiker on the trans-Canada between Winnipeg & Headingley - just curious.