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Monday, June 04, 2012

No good deed . . .

I think I helped a lady buy drugs tonight.  And I feel bad.  Actually, I feel totally ambivalent about it - I felt really good about being the kind of person who would help a total stranger, until I started to realize that she was conning me.

I was leaving my book club meeting in Armory Square when a woman approached me to ask for money for a cab.  I should have realized right away that her story was bullshit, because where is she going that costs $43? She said she needed $20, which honestly, I would have given her if I'd had it, but I didn't. After I gave her the $8 I had, she asked for a ride to her mother's house, about a mile away. It was raining, and no real inconvenience to me, so I said sure.  But that's when I started to realize that her story was full of holes.  Why does she need cab money if I'm giving her a ride?   (She had a whole patter about being a church going girl, and having a pin in her leg from when she was hit by a car on New Year's Eve, maybe all true, who knows. She said she lives in Cicero, but when I offered to give her a ride there, she said, almost panicked, that her kids were at her mom's house.)

Oh well.  I tried to help, based on what she told me.  Should it be on my conscience if she lied? Once I realized she was lying, should I have refused to give her a ride, asked for my money back? At that point, I was just hoping she wasn't setting me up to be mugged or car jacked.

I also find myself wondering if this is a successful approach for people like her.  I know that most of the people who go to my book club wouldn't even engage in a conversation with her, let alone give her all the money in their wallet, plus a ride into the "bad" part of town.  The women who ride my bus would  run a mile in this situation, or they would mace her. But clearly it works with some suckers, I mean people, or she wouldn't even have tried.



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