Thursday, January 27, 2011

So This is what Financial Peace Feels Like

This evening, I gave a guy at the gas pump $10.  His story was that he was from Baton Rouge, his sister just had a baby, and he was out of gas and needed money.  I'm pretty sure that he was lying.  However,  when you're asking strangers for money, the stories may be lies but the need is probably true. 

It's possible he was telling the truth; I've heard weirder stories.  For instance, back when you used to have to pay the Hong Kong airport tax in cash, my husband ended up stranded between the airline turnstile and the airport because no one had informed him of the requirement for paper money.  He could see the atms past the turnstile, but airport personnel refused to let him through until he paid the tax.  He tried everything - asking for money, offering to sell anything he was carrying - and was continuously rejected for half an hour until a nice Aussie took pity on him and gave him cash.

What matters for today's story, though, is that I was able to responsibly give him the cash.  I had the money budgeted into my toy budget and enough cash in the bank to get me through the month.  There was a time when I would not have had a spare $10 in my budget at the end of the month for anyone.  There was a time before that when I would have already have been spending February or March's paycheck at the gas pump, and would have unthinkingly given him money because "$10 isn't very much, anyway.".  I like where I am now a lot better.  I had earned the $10, it was mine free and clear, and I was able to use it to help another person when they asked me for help.


  1. You know, when I was in high school, me and my ditsy girlfriend (who by the way ended up being valedictorian of our class) took a bus to Boston. It was about an hour bus ride and $10 one way.

    Anyway we had a great time and felt all independent spending a saturday at age 13 in the big city. Then it's time to go home and she says she didn't bring any money for her return bus fare. I had a little extra on me but we were 57 cents short. We ended up begging for the rest of the fare home. It was so embarrassing, but thanks to people like you, I did end up making it back home. Not all the stories are lies. I'm living proof.

  2. Good for you!

    Ten dollars can make a huge difference in someone's day, whether they're stranded at the gas pump or don't have cash for dinner (or even if they're desperate for a pack of cigarettes). Regardless of whether or not he was telling the truth, you surely improved the quality of his day.