Wow i did not want to help people out, when did I be curmudgeon?

So a car running up the street dies, they get it started again and goes another 50 feet. Obvious dead battery, now I have never been one in the past not to help out anyone in distress, but I am giving up, so many people I am quitting helping them all because this time it is obvious failure to replace a battery and thinking it is not time to help an idiot in distress. Sure I help my neighbors and friends, but I prefer to let this one go by.

What is obvious to you may not be obvious to them. And it’s possible that they really would have appreciated help. You can never go wrong by asking.

You got to do what makes sense. I gave up giving jump starts when the last one, to a neighbor with a very poorly maintained and very old “car”, the jump start I provided blew a diode in my alternator. Expensive lesson. Learned. Now if somebody asks for a jump start, I’ll phone a jump-start service for them, or I’ll drive them to a hardware store where they can purchase a battery charger.

I won’t jump start any cars or do any in-depth emergency work on a stranger’s car either, for the same reasons. I don’t want to possibly damage my own car or end up being the defendant in a civil suit because I tried to be a good Samaritan. But I will make a phone call for them. Or, if the problem is obvious and simple, get them going again.

I won’t change flats either, because I am simply physically unable. Years ago I would have, but years ago I wasn’t disabled.

I dunno, I’ve been hit up so many times in the parking lots and so on, heaven help me but I’m getting callous. On Saturday, in our little town, it was the first time I’d seen folks with signs here. I went to the farm store and there was a guy with a new gas can and a sign. As I was pulling in, he was walking away and put the can in a cloth bag with a zipper. It conveniently fit just fine. Who carries a tote bag for a gas can? Then I drove to the grocery store and there was a family on the corner with a sign and an umbrella to block the sun. I didn’t see what the sign said.

On Sunday our pastor said she saw the family and I was hoping she had discussed their situation with them and would share it with us to either reinforce or uninforce our original thought. All she said though is that she told them on Monday there would be lots of places open where they could get help if they needed it.

The other thing is personal safety. Some of these car situations are decoys to draw you in so you can be mugged. So you’ve got to be super careful these days to stop and help. Best thing is to just notify the police. They are better able to determine the true problem and have access to things like gas cards and emergency meal and lodging chits from the various charities. At least here. We’ve all got stories though where we helped or were shamed by someone who provided help.

I sometimes get soda or snacks at 7-Eleven on my way home

Anyways, we all know that a lot of interesting people hang around, outside the stores

Many of them are asking for money, even if they don’t have a sign or a coffee cup

The only ones I ever give anything to are the guys that obviously are mentally challenged . . . I’m not even sure if that is appropriate terminology

The ones that are high on drugs, inebriated, or look totally sober and able-bodied, I don’t give them anything. I have a feeling some of the younger ones may be run-aways

Also, when I’m at the grocery store parking lot, I sometimes let the car idle and listen to NPR news for a few minutes, before heading in. Those guys that pound on my window, “asking” for money, I never give it to them

I’m callous because I feel that most of those panhandlers are nothing more than mooches trying to support a habit; usually a bad one.

The head of a homeless shelter here stated last year on the local news during an interview that 80-85% of those homeless bums are panhandling to support a drug and/or alcohol habit.
This made the local news when one of those homeless people asked a guy sitting at the light in his pickup for some money and the pickup owner refused. The homeless guy pulled a knife on him…

I never give money, but would take them inside the fast food joint and have them order food for themselves. I don’t like to be party to their bad habits.

As far as cars, I have stopped helping or even asking too. Apparently my 6 ft stature is not welcome, even though I have gray hair/look middle aged. Also, people are generally clueless, so even if I jump the neighbor’s car and the next week the brakes go out, they think it was related and they would come knocking on my door. No good deed goes unpunished.

I remember way back in 1972, a lady was stalled on the freeway. I stopped and had AAA Courtesy Patrol signs on the car and I was in a suit and tie. She got all nervous even though it was in broad daylight and didn’t want any help. I felt kinda bad but what could I do?

The one thing in avoiding situations is to never let someone get close enough to you to either grab you, or pull a knife or a gun. Even though I taught the course, several times I have allowed this to happen in the parking lot. You feel kinda stupid saying no I don’t have the time or a light, avoiding eye contact, etc. Luckily it hasn’t been a problem but if there were two or three guys, thats when problems start. Just another world now.

About 15 years ago I stopped on the New York State Thruway on my way home. It was about 7pm and it was cold and dark outside. The car I stopped for had four way flashers on and I could not see anything else about it. As I pulled up in front of the car and got out it became clear that the driver was an 18 year old girl, thin and pretty, cold and scared. Her car had overheated and my quick roadside diagnosis (later confirmed) was that the engine had seized. I got her in my warm car and offered her my cell phone and a ride to the service plaza 4 miles down the road. As I dropped her off there she thanked me and assured me that she had a ride coming. Two weeks later my boss called me in his office and handed me a letter from the young lady. It was the nicest, most heartfelt letter of appreciation for what I had done. She remembered the name of my company from when we had been talking and sent the letter to my office. The letter reminded me of the importance of stopping and helping people out when we can.

I used to give a little money if the person looked like they truly needed help. The last person I gave money to was a little old lady all alone in the parking lot of a big electronics store. When I came out to leave she was climbing into the driver’s seat of a fairly new RV. She headed straight to the interstate and she had out of state tags. Some people.

I was approached in a Home Depot parking lot by someone with a new Cadillac Escalade with a dead battery. IF he could afford to own such a car, he could afford to call for a jump. And why did a new Escalade have a dead battery? I refused, politely.

I have since stopped carrying jumper cables in my car.

My wife worked on a utility crew as a truck driver.
One job site, there had been a guy standing on the other corner with a sign that read “Need Money For Food”. After an hour the wife went across the street to the nearby fast food place and got some food for the guy.
When she handed it to him, he didn’t even thank her, but when he moved the sign a bit to stash the food behind it…there were a half dozen bags of food behind that sign.
He left later and all the bags of food were left behind.


I’ve changed tires and given jump starts for people. Often, the people who look as though they can least afford it, offer to pay me. I always turn it down and tell them you can pay me by helping the next person.
I did have blowout on the interstate about 10 years ago. A well dressed young person in a late model car pulled over and offered to help which I accepted. I had never changed a tire on the 4Runner before,but this man knew exactly how to lower the spare. He didn’t want to accept any,payment, but we forced some money on him anyway.
I grew up in the country and it was just part of our culture to help others.

Trading stories, a weird one that happened to me was at an Arco gas station. I was nearly done pumping when a little girl about 10 or 12 comes up and asks if I can help with gas money. I did not know what to make of this and was concerned for her and so asked where her parents were.
She vaguely gestured in the direction of a pump on another island and when I looked, I hoped there would be an adult watching the girl. But no, no one looking my way and nothing like an adult asking others for help.
I kept trying to see if there was an adult connected to the girl and wound up saying no to her. She just silently moved on to another car. This was not in an urban area and not a bad neighborhood.
I still don’t know what to make of that event.

Bad doggy! Bad! Bad doggy!

Don’t worry about it. You can’t help everyone. Sometimes you might want to and have the time, and that’s great. If you occasionally help your neighbors out, that’s more than most people do.

Just to further the discussion, I’ve been stalled about four times on the highway over the years. Cars just whizzed by and no one stopped-not that they could have helped anyway. When I had a timing chain go I was at a stop light. I had my hood up and had called a tow and the guy behind me just honked. Like why do you suppose the hood is up loser?

Now my wife blew a tire at night on the highway about 20 miles from home after a shopping trip. This was before cell phones and it wasn’t late enough for me to head out looking for her but some guy stopped and changed the tire for her. I was grateful. My son lost a serpentine belt on my Riv one night due to a wobbly water pump pulley about five miles out of town. A couple guards from the casino stopped and gave him a ride home. Again I was grateful.

In Minnesota like most states there is a good Samaritan statute that requires offering assistance to your ability in the case of life and limb. So in the winter when it is below zero, I always check stalled cars to see if the engine is running or anyone is in the car on the highway. Sometimes its just calling 911 in the case of a truck going in the ditch on a slippery road and it would be a hazard to try and get to them and stop. So I guess it is using a little common sense, but several kids have been killed in Minneapolis changing tires for someone on the side of a busy freeway. Its really a job for a pro with flashing lights.

I go to occasional conventions in Chicago, and keep a $10 bill to give someone I think needs it. I dropped it in a guys bucket, a couple of blocks up watching traffic and people, ambulances arrive at the corner and load him up, hope I did not shock him into cardiac arrest! While cruising the bars in Chicago late at night I came across a guy in a wheelchair with a need money for whatever sign, I was about to give him a couple of bucks, and he said don’t, this guy brings me down on the train, then takes all the money I collect. So a litle bit later some guy on a bike, seemed really decent asked me for some cash, I told him about the guy in the wheelchair, he was pissed, I gave him a 10spot and said go help him out. Never knew how that unfolded.

My wife had a flat tire on the beltway about 15 years ago. She had our 3 daughters and her mother in the van too. The prison work gang came over and offered to help. They changed the tire for her and were very polite the whole time. Their chaperones were not far away, of course. Still, she was positively impressed with them. Probably no chain saw killers in the group, though.

Could have been chain saw killers in the group, not many are all bad or all good!