Sleep now in the fire
I'm not very good at saying no to people. This can particularly be a problem when it comes to strangers asking if I can spare any change, as I almost always answer "sure" and start reaching for my wallet before I can think otherwise. Recently, however, I've been "burned" twice due to this behaviour. The first occurred at Minto station. I kindly gave a man (who I shall only describe as being obviously from Minto) a dollar, and for about twenty seconds felt pleased with myself, helping out a man afford a taxi home. I say twenty seconds, since that was the amount of time it took for me to realise he was not making his way to a phone, but to the hotel/pub across the road. God damn it!
The second incident happened while I was in the city. An elderly woman approached me, asking me if I could spare some change so she could take a bus somewhere. Of course, I trusted her and did so. Who wouldn't believe an old woman? A few minutes later, while I continued my journey, something didn't feel quite right. Every old person I have ever dealt with has been kind and most gracious for any kind of assistance, and all I received for my help was a apathetic sounding "thanks". An hour later, on my way back on the same road I noticed the same old woman still asking for money. Feeling really stupid, I vowed there and then to never be fooled again when it comes to people needing money.
This Wednesday, just before class, a young woman got my attention. She asked me, in an American accent, if I could help her. After about a minute of her continuously mentioning how embarrassed she was to ask, and that she was asking me because I looked like such a nice person (true!), she eventually got it out that her car had ran out of petrol, and that she didn't have any of her cards on her to pay for anymore. After a second of thought, I decided not to give her any change. Although she was clearly well dressed, and hence didn't seem to be wanting the money for dodgy reasons, there was something odd about her accent, and I dismissed her situation as being a clever ruse. My previous experiences had made me wary. It wasn't until it was just about time for class, and so too late for me to go back and find her again, that I realised what it was about her accent that put me off.
She was Canadian.