We’ve all been there. You’re walking down the street and a guy carrying a hard hat approaches you with a sob story.
“I was supposed to make money on this construction job and it got cancelled and I’m stuck here two hours from home and if you could just give me a few bucks to get home it would really help me out.”
So you give the guy a couple bucks. You feel good. He might be lying, but at least you have a clear conscience. If he really was stranded you did a good deed. Pat yourself on the back. Surely one day, you will approach St. Peter at the gates of heaven and he will say…
“You did a lot of horrible things in your life, but that one time in Huntington West Virginia you helped the poor guy that was stranded. You know what? head on in. You’ve earned it!”
Then, the next day you see the same guy carrying the same hardhat on the same corner running the same scam he ran on you the day before. He wasn’t stranded. He was full of it.
“My car broke down and my pregnant wife is inside and we just need to get home if you could help us by giving us fifty dollars for gas.” “My identity was stolen and I need your help.” “I haven’t eaten in days even though I’m blatantly overweight.” I’ve heard every story in the book. The other day I was in Sherman Oaks California and I was approached by one of these guys. I knew he was full of it the minute he opened his mouth.
“I am a doctor, a surgeon, and I live in San Diego. I was doing volunteer work at a church nearby and someone broke into my van. They got my wallet and phone and everything. If you could just loan me forty dollars for gas so I can get home I would be happy to send you back 500. Do you have paypal? I could send it the minute I get back. Did I mention that I’m a surgeon?”
I knew the guy was full of it. The devil on my right shoulder said “This guy is full of it.” The angel on my left shoulder said… “Yeah dude. This guy is full of it.” But then my conscience got to me. What if you’re wrong? What if the guy is stranded and in trouble? What about Karma? What if St. Peter is like “Remember that day the guy in Los Angeles asked you for money and you said no? Well that was Jesus in disguise and now you’re going to burn in Hell forever. good job, dummy!”?
“Listen, man.” I said. “I get it. That’s a good one. The whole story about being at church for volunteer work? That was awesome. I’ll throw you a few bucks, but you don’t have to bullshit me and tell me that that you’re going to pay me back. We both know that’s not going to happen.”
“Sir. I’m a doctor. I will send you a THOUSAND dollars.”
I gave him a few bucks and said “Listen. Here is my business card. it’s got my email on it. I don’t want any money in return. Not a dime. All I want is a thank you email. That would really make my day. Here’s a few dollars.”
Funny, a week later and I still haven’t even gotten a stinking thank you email. Shocking right? Maybe he is busy performing important surgeries I guess. And when I say “performing important surgeries” I mean smoking crack cocaine in an alley somewhere.
When you’re in Los Angeles you have to be ready for situations like this. They will happen to you all the time. If you cant have a clear conscience by not giving the bums money, then always keep a few spare one dollar bills in your pocket. Don’t go crazy and throw away fives and tens because you feel bad and they might not be lying. Just throw Dr. Bullshit Artist PHD a buck or two and be on your way.