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Blessed out

I really don’t think you have the power but I appreciate the sentiment.

This weekend, I had to go do some grocery shopping. An otherwise uneventful trip to the supermarket ended oddly. I was at the check out and some elderly man walks by and asks the cashier if they have a pay phone. She says they do not. He seemed a bit flustered and concerned so I offered him use of my phone. He was thankful, said his phone’s battery had just died, and he just needed to call his wife and tell her he was running late. He made the call and left a message. He gave me the phone back and said bless you.

Then, I’m in the parking lot loading my groceries in the car when a man comes walking toward me. He seemed a bit disheveled and intent on being near me so I made sure my truck’s door was between us and had my weak side toward him. He holds his hands out toward me palms up and begins to speak. Conversation goes like this:

Him: I ain’t no bum or nothing [he shows me his calloused hands that indicate he was a laborer]. I’m a roofer. I work for [such and such].

Me: [an odd opener I thought] I believe you. Can I help you?

Him: Today’s payday and I just spent my entire check to fix my wife’s car [he motions to a car and a woman and child are sitting in the car, it’s not running]. It’s just about out of gas and I need some gas to get my family home to [a few towns over].

Me: Sure. How far a drive is that? [And I hand him $10.]

Him: ’bout 50 miles. Do you have a card or a phone number? How can I get this money back to you.

Me: Don’t worry about it. Be safe and get your family home.

Him: Bless you.

Me: Thanks.*

I get in my car and start heading home. My phone rings. It’s the number the first guy called. She inquires who it is and I explain that I loaned her husband my phone so he could call. I tell her he said that he was going to be a bit late. And she thanks me and says “bless you.”

* yeah, his story could have been bogus. Who knows? But he did have a wife and kid in his car. I believed him. And I’m not gonna leave a woman and child to sit in Kroger parking lot.

31 Responses to “Blessed out”

  1. Robb Allen Says:

    That’s nothing. This one time I sneezed in front of a bunch of nuns….

    I do have to request that you turn in your NRA card. According to “The NRA Rule Book as Described by the Brady Campaign”, you were supposed to drop the ‘roofer’ right were he stood then blast a few holes in his ‘family’ to boot followed by a loud “YEEEEHAW!”.

    Joking aside, I’d say the blessings were backwards. The people you touched with your kindness were the ones being looked after.

  2. Zack Says:

    Coolest blog entry that I have read in a looooong time.

    Bless you, man.

  3. David, Chandler, AZ Says:

    I’d rather be scammed out of a few dollars than take a chance that someone needed help and I didn’t give it.

  4. Ted Says:

    You’re a good man, very cool.

  5. GregF Says:


    I’m pretty sure it was bogus. I’ve run in to that one a couple of times in Wally World parking lots in VA. They always have a woman and kid in the car. I always give them a few bucks too, just for trying, so don’t feel like a sucker (I’m sure I’m enabling something, oh well). Bless you anyway :o)

  6. Drake Says:

    Generosity and decency stand on their own merits, regardless. Even if it was a con, that’s on their heads, not yours.

    Knowing that you protect yourself with a level head should it come down to it, I would hope that you would be willing to take a chance on helping others in the future.

  7. Robert Says:

    I think of what kind of lesson the kid in the car is learning, and don’t give them any money. I *will* offer to drive down to the gas station and put gas in their car, if that’s what they really need. 99% of the time they decline the offer.

  8. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    I also give those handout guys a few bucks. Never more than a ten. Unless they’re part of the group of conmen that work the Wilmington train station/bus depot or the local Walmarts. If I spot those guys, they get told off and generally high tail it.

  9. Cargosquid Says:

    Bless you.

  10. wizardpc Says:

    The local homeless shelter here in Nashville says the best response to someone asking for money for gas to make it home is:

    “What was your plan for gas when you left the house this morning?”

  11. yj Says:

    should of ask what the dime would have gotten you with the old lady.

  12. smijer Says:

    I could write a post entitled “f*d out”.

  13. Don Says:

    Like David said,”Iíd rather be scammed out of a few dollars than take a chance that someone needed help and I didnít give it.”

  14. Link P Says:

    I follow Robert’s practice. If the story is genuine, you can help, and if it’s bogus, you don’t get taken.

  15. Mikee Says:

    The preponderance of professional beggars in Austin, Texas, making some kind of a living off the white, middle class guilt of commuters at red lights, is amazing. Same folk, same red lights, day after day, month after month.

  16. Sailorcurt Says:

    You blessed them, so they wished further blessings upon you. They were just asking God to recharge your batteries.

    Besides, blessings are like good memories…you just can’t have too many.

  17. Danielle Says:

    Add this to the list — NRA members are some of the most considerate, caring people in this world.

    Well played.

  18. Justthisguy Says:

    Bless you, you old softie, you! As the Mexicans say, God will repay you. Bread on the waters, and all that.

  19. cyrus Says:

    one thing i like to keep in mind, is don’t give cash.

    i prefer to give gift cards to places, pre paying for gas, etc. Cash is just to easy to waste.

  20. RAH Says:

    The worst is that it was a con but you only lost $10 that you assume you would never get anyway. Best to assume that they really needed it and will pass on the kindness to another.

  21. stencil Says:

    This (“bless”) treatment is your punishment for being stuck in a Christian enclave. Here in Massachusetts the recipient of your $10 would have asked if you couldn’t do a little better, and the wife at home would have demanded that you go back and track down her husband so she could give him an expanded shopping list. Since you have demonstrated the ability to help, you’re expected to do your utmost.
    Shiny side is, you get recommended for reenlistment.

  22. Lyle Says:

    This is a contraction of “May God bless you” or “May the good Lord bestow his blessings upon you, my good man”. It became shortened to “God bless you” then “Go’bless you” or “Lor’bless you” and then simply to, “Bless you”. It’s English tradition– both the blessing bit and the practice of cutting or blending syllables. “May the good Lord have mercy on us all” is much easier to pronounce as, “Mercy” and most understand it to have the same meaning.

    In short, language is interesting.

  23. Lyle Says:

    Oh, and regarding who has or has not the power; it was once believed that both blessings and curses, asserted by us mere mortals, did in fact carry weight into daily life. When we say, “Damn it” we are, without realizing it, engaging in the ancient practice of placing a curse on someone or something. It was once considered very powerful. Hence the lingering taboo on “curse words”.

  24. Skipelec Says:

    Hey Bro, got any spare change?

  25. nk Says:

    I always knew I liked you.

  26. Lyle Says:

    Similarly, the term “thank you” all on its own would be a command to you to thank yourself, if we didn’t understand that the missing “I” in front of it is implied. “I thank you” is what we’re saying. Now it’s more commonly reduced to “Thanks”, which is taken as, “You have my thanks”.

  27. Number9 Says:

    It will be passed forward. That is the way it works.

  28. DrStrangegun Says:

    Your intentions were good. Their reasons are on them, not you.

  29. Dan Says:

    Nice story. Nothing wrong with heart warming stuff every now and then.

  30. Josh Says:

    Some of the comments people have posted are just downright wrong and not funny in the least.

    “should of ask what the dime would have gotten you with the old lady.” -yj

    Con or not, I’ve been in those shoes before. Had money in my bank account (no debit card, I was under 18 at the time), car is out of gas (on way to bank) and eventually one guy gave me a ride the ~2 miles to the gas station, had a plastic gas jug on him, gave me $5, drove me back to car, put gas in car, fired right up and I thanked him for his time and generosity. Asked for his name and number, and I’d get it back to him — he just said help out the next person I could.

    God bless you, and anyone else who might decide to help a person. Karma can be a b!tch.

  31. Andrew Says:

    Just the other day, a guy came up to my car as I was about to get out. I kept the engine running and shifter in R, and unzipped the window a bit to see what he wanted. He said he was a disabled vet, showed me his VA ID card, and said he needed gas/bus money to get to the VA to validate his disability. I gave him a couple of bills that I had in the car.
    Guess gas is expensive these days.