Monday, January 3, 2011

The Right Thing

Sometimes its hard to do the right thing, and that can be for many reasons. The reason tonight is "because I'm not quite sure what the hell just happened." Allow me to explain:

Me, Box, and Kate go to the IHOP now and then to hang out late at night when just about everything else is closed down because the three of us tend to be night owls. We've gone there so many times, in fact, that we're likely considered "regulars" and without even asking the three of us are usually brought our drinks of choice. To say that we visit that restaurant a lot would not be incorrect.

Which reminds me, I need to check in on Foursquare... Ok I'm back.

Anyway, on occasion we see some interesting characters drift in or hover around the place. No one dangerous, mind you, just people who some could be called weird. And tonight we met one of those.

This guy walks up to us with a cane and a bandage around his head. Not a bandanna, mind you, a makeshift bandage. I moved to go past him and get inside, thinking he was just passing through, but he stops in front of Kate and Box and tells his story: He's in his 60's and was looking for a ride to Pelendale Rd. to get to his sister's house and couldn't afford any other way to get there. Furthermore, he'd been ambushed by some people and was not only beaten but also received some serious burns on his body after they threw gas on him and lit him on fire. He then confirmed his claim by lifting up his shirt just a little and revealing that he was indeed injured and in bad shape. He then offered us three dollars to whoever would give him a ride, all the money he had.

Now I may not make the best decisions sometimes, but mama didn't raise no fool. I'm certainly not going to give this guy a ride because that could lead to all sorts of trouble. Its sad that we live in such a world, but its very true. So that was out of the question, obviously. My first thoughts were to find a way to get out of this because lets be honest, it was a weird situation with a messed-up old man wanting to get in my car.

But as he talked (and he did that at GREAT length) I remembered a story I once heard while I was in church (yes, I'm going to get preachy). To make it quick, God tells a man that he's going to call him so the man sits by the phone and waits. A beggar knocks on the man's door asking for food and he angrily turns the beggar away, saying he's busy waiting for God. Another man comes asking for money for a charity and the man once more turns the visitor away, saying he's waiting for God. This goes on until the man gets impatient and calls for God asking "Why didn't you call me?" to which God replies "I did, but you kept turning me away." and the moral being don't be a dick because you might be turning away the creator of everything, so lend a hand when you can.

So I wanted to help this guy, but I didn't want to put myself in danger. Then a stroke of genius hit me; a cab! I could call a cab! So I told the old man (and Kate and Box by proxy) of the idea and all seemed to be in support, so we walked into IHOP and asked Pam, our waitress, (why you need to know that I have no idea) if she had a phone book. She did and we called up the local cab company and found it would be $12 to charter a cab from that IHOP to his destination.

I'm pretty damn strapped for cash, and all I had was $5. It was the only $5 I had left. But it was the right thing to do, so I threw it in. Kate, being awesome, gave a whopping $10, and we told the operator to send a cab. (Box was broke, but I'm sure he would have helped if that wasn't the case.) We waited outside with the guy, who couldn't stop thanking us for our generosity, and very shortly the cab arrived. We gave him the cash and wished him well, and he thanked us one last time and wished blessings on us all before getting into the cab and departing for, hopefully, a safe warm place to sleep for the night.

I hate how I live in a world where I must second-guess myself in situations like these, where I must wonder whether or not me and Kate just lost $15 to a guy who lied to us with some sob story. But I also know that I'd feel guilty if I didn't help because while there are some assholes who will say anything to get that next hit or that next bottle, there are also some people who truly need help and/or get their asses handed to them in an impromptu brawl and only want to get across town so they can be with family and rest. And its damn hard to differentiate the two types, which just adds to the confusion. In the end, I just have to be trusting of my instincts and assume that I'm correct; that I did the right thing.