Scammed for $6.00 on Christmas Eve

  • Comments: 5
  • Written on: December 24th, 2007

This morning my wife sent me to the gas station to grab a couple bags of ice for the throng of family we will be entertaining over the next couple days.

I pulled my 16-month old son Jacob away from the ton of toys he unwrapped that morning, bundled him up and headed off to accomplish our Christmas Eve mission.

We pulled up at the gas station a few minutes later when a woman tapped on the passenger-side window of the minivan. She was dressed in a heavy coat that was well worn and her hair was a mess. I rolled the window down a couple inches to see what she needed.

“Sir,” she said, “please help me. My car ran out of gas on 16th Street and I only have $1.00. I have to get to my family’s place for Christmas. Do you have any money you can spare for gas? Anything will help.”

My B.S. meter immediately spiked, but it was Christmas Eve, and what if she was telling the truth? There have been a couple of times in my life when the kindness of a stranger has made all of the difference in the world to me. I only had $6.00 cash, which would have bought 2 gallons of gas at best. The First Noel started playing over my XM radio, and Jacob was alternating between my face and the face of this strange woman with great interest.

I decided what the heck. It’s $6.00 on Christmas Eve, and if she is telling the truth and she gets home to her family maybe she will look back on this moment and help someone else in their time of need.

I pulled the $6.00 out of my wallet and handed it through the 2″ opening. She thanked me, turned away and started walking toward the corner of the building.

I thought that the direction she was walking was a bit odd, because there were no streets there that led back to 16th Street. Part of me wondered if I should have offered her a ride back to her car.

Just as I finished that thought, a rusty,multi-colored, four door compact car that might have been a Honda at one time in its life, pulled away from around the corner with the “out of gas” girl in the passenger’s seat.

Maybe her friend gave her a ride, I thought… But then they went to the corner and turned away from 16th Street. Part of me was put off that I had fallen for the old, “my car is out of gas” line, but another part of me looked back at my son and hoped that he would be trusting enough to fall for the same line someday.

As I bought my $4.00 of ice on a credit card, I thought there will always be people that want to scam the system, steal from others, click on their own ads, or whatever makes a quick buck.

I just hope there is always someone who is willing to trust one more time because maybe… just maybe… that girl was taking the long way back to 16th Street.

Merry Christmas, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday with those you care about.

  1. Johnny Jack Patterson said on December 25th, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    If you were by yourself, it probably would have been a foolish move, knowing that they would probably just do it to someone else.

    Since you had your son with you it was probably the best move to make. Maybe he won’t fall for it like you did, even though you knew what you were falling for, but it taught him compassion very early in life. That image will probably stay with him all of his life. A lesson well worth spending $6 for don’t you think?

    Johnny Jack Patterson

  2. Daria said on December 28th, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    In the Christmas Spirit, I probably would have done the same thing. Though it *is* a bit sad to think that people might be taking advantage of just that – the Holiday Spirit. I also agree with Johnny Jack Patterson, above – compassion is an important quality in people. Your son will benefit in the long run. Happy New Year!

  3. Emily said on December 29th, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Holiday Spirit or not, I would have done the same. Yes, she could be telling the truth or maybe she wanted the money for something else but it’s only $6 and hopefully she will make good use of the money, no matter what.

    We need more people like you who are not skeptical and paranoid and would lend a helping hand.

  4. Thor Schrock said on December 29th, 2007 at 10:12 am

    Thanks guys. Since I wrote this something else occurred to me… She didn’t have a gas can either 🙁

  5. Bobbie said on December 30th, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    This happened to me, too! It was only a couple of bucks, and after I mentioned it was my birthday (it was) he sang happy birthday. So I suppose I paid for a show. Totally worth it, he could actually sing very well!

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