May 2008

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very nice story.. ive appreciate it..


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Hello: A couple of years ago I got cash from a machine and the machine dispensed an extra $20 bill! However I had driven 20 miles away from the convenience store by then. "Oh my gosh!" I thought, and headed back to the store. When I walked in a guy was arguing loudly that the machine had shorted him $20, but he'd not noticed it before leaving the store. "Our machines don't make that kind of mistake." the clerk repeated several times. Then I mentioned that less than half an hour previously I'd been dispensed an extra $20 and had come back to return it. Obviously my 'extra' money must have been subtracted from the next customer. Here's his money.

I handed the money to the clerk, who without hesitation put it in a drawer, as he told us he would have to get with Headquarters, to find out what to do. I reached for the bill, realizing I should have given it to the other buy, but the clerk the grabbed my hand, and got very surly about my 'robbing him'.

When I left the other guy was just livid, and so was I which is why I left.

Sumit K. Lal

What you drive a Beemer??!! I thought you were an achiever.. But jokes aside, like the they say, let all the guilty escape but not one innocent should be punished. Great work Scott, way to go.


Ahhh... the Fish Man strikes again. Keep on giving. I'm going to the Catskills on Wednesday (Kutshers). I'm afraid I can only afford the standard tip, though.

Paul Reinheimer

A few people seem surprised that the coach wasn't on the bus. Speaking (admitadly) as a camp counsellor/staff member for several years, you never ever take just the bus. There's a bus (or two, or three) then a chase car with a staff member or two, the first aid kit, and all the forms that let you get the people on the bus(es) health care. This is great for several reasons:
1. If the bus is rented it likely wont be there between when you get dropped off and when you get picked up, so you need a way to get to the hospital.
2. If something happens on the road, the car can stop to load whomever is hurt, then get to the hospital faster than the bus.
3. If there's more than one bus, you don't need to try and distribute the forms amongst the busses.


Well, the last time I did this -- the black guy didn't even have a CAR in the gas station. I'm not making this up. He bounced with my $20, and laughed all the way to the crack house.


'Nother Christian here...It's wonderful to read about such a gift! Good on you, Scott. I used to be very cynical about this kind of behavior, and made any excuse I could in order to NOT give out money. "They're just buying booze", "They're professional panhandlers", etc. Goodness knows I've met my fair share of those, as I travel nearly every other week for work.

Then I thought to myself one day, "So what?" I'm a firm believer in 'what goes around comes around', and as such if someone asks me for money, I have no problem giving it to them. It's not my business what they want it for, and I really don't care, anyway. It's not always cash, either - I've been asked for food, drink, or gas pumped as well, and usually those times it's relatively legit. Paying it forward guarantees a return in the future, and it feels GOOD to give.

Besides, I've left my wallet at home more than once, so even if I'm being ripped off 99% of the time, that 1% of people who actually ran out of gas, lost their wallet, haven't eaten today, or need to make a phone call, are totally worth the rest.

May you be richly blessed for your trouble, whether this coach was the real thing or not.

Kevin Kunreuther

Gas prices really really suck right now!
You used to get a tank for ten dollars now it's thirty five!

By the way, good intentions have been known to pave the road to ...GILROY.

Rajesh Moriani, India

why wouldnt he use part of that $20 to make a phone call?

am i missing something?


Very interesting post and comments.

For myself I do tend to give money to people who ask. Doesn't happen that often around here. There are a few people who now know me and do ask when they see me every so often, but I found the simple act of showing some kindness and talking to them as a human being gives them more of a boost than the few bucks does. Let them spend the money how they like.

I only knowingly got scammed once. One guy comes up as I am walking home at night "excuse me, my stove is on, my mum is coming over, i need to get the keys off my x and need a cab quick, etc etc" (stupid story when i think back, but he was good at his line and seemed fine). so i say no worries and give him $10. a month or so later i see him outside the local pub one night. same thing, he asks me the exact same story (perfectly rehearsed and practiced). i said if he remembered me. no he says. even after catching him he only had a slight twinge in his eye of "oops he got me".

Thanks for the read Scott. This was a great blog entry and everyone elses comments gave me much insight into the human race.

le Big MAC

Dear Mr Adams,
I'm glad I helped persuade you to get a BMW. That mileage is something else, innit?
Also, I wonder if you fell for it. This has nothing to do with him being black-I mainly get hustled by whites in the city, almost never by a black person. Still, the "my friends ditched me and I really need to get back to" insert name of nearby bedroom community, sounding as whiny and pathetic as possible, is an old saw. If he sounded too scared and whiny, he was probably lying. I'm a true cynic, no doubt.
Now to read all comments.

Prashant Waghe

How can you be sure, that this guy was not cheating you.. in India it always happens..


I was once on the subway and a couple was asking out loud for $48 to get somewhere. I saw they got a couple of bucks from one rider. I transferred to a different train and the same couple was on this train. Now they were asking aloud this time for $46 to get somewhere. Does this make the story true? To me it did, yet I had no change to give at the time.


I don't give cash, I keep Wendy's gift certificates in my car for panhandlers. So far, only about 50% of the people who ask for money for food, take the gift certificate. Why? They have to eat sometime.


This reminds me of ppl looking for a fag here in London..despite of their beggar like appearance, they just come over and say "Can I buy a cigarette from u?"...i am like ..dude take a good look at urself at some store window...u dont exactly look like a type who buys cigarette..anyway i give them a cig with a smirk on my face :)


Wow @ you people thinking he's inflating his own ego with the story. He potentially helped someone out of a serious jam, what frigging difference does it make?

If someone comes up to me and starts off with "Can I have some money" and follows up with some story about their car is broken blah blah blah and they're talking fast and swearing they'll pay you back later, I usually dismiss it; more than once though I've been approached by someone who claims to be stranded and needs taxi fare or whatever, and I have no problems giving them $10. If they scammed me, well I hope it brings them some kind of happiness; if it was a real problem, then yay, I just helped them out of a jam. Dwelling on the outcome is an exercise in futility.

The bitter cynicism being shown here is disheartening, and when people are responding with comments like "God you're such a selfish, altruistic egotist" it's no wonder people don't often do anything to help their fellow man! Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Angela S

I always wonder what kind of people we've become, what kind of world we've made, when it's the norm to think twice before helping someone out.

My line of thinking is - maybe I'm being scammed, maybe I'm not. Either way, chances are good the other person needs the money more than I do. And I'd hope that if I ever found myself in that position, someone would be kind enough to do the same for me.


I don't generally give money to people on the street, but I do sometimes stop when I see kids doing a car wash fundraiser. The other day I saw some Scouts fundraising to get themselves to a jamboree. They were charging $5 for a wash, and I decided to let them wash it. They were a hapless and disorganized bunch, but they were laughing and having fun. I think by the time they were done the entire car was washed, soaped and rinsed about 5 times over (the whole left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing certainly applies here). I spoke to their leader and some of the kids, who admitted this was their first car wash fundraiser. I gave them $10.

Last week I was in the same area and another group, a school sports team, was also trying to do a car wash fundraiser. There were no cars being washed (yet). The kids were goofing around on the side of the street, yelling at each other. When I slowed to turn into the nearby restaurant, they ran to my car and surrounded it, yelling that I should get a car wash. They were charging $10. When I told them I didn't have any cash (the truth), one kid yelled, "Oh, yeah, THAT's a good excuse!" The kid next to him immediately told him to shut up.

I not only didn't give them any money, I seriously considered finding their adult leader and giving him heck about insulting potential customers.


This tale is a bit more graphic than some, so those of you with young children might want to send them out of the room to play a video game, say "The Care Bear Chainsaw Massacre."

The era is 1960, the day is my birthday [literally]. Our family lived in the California boonies, about 40 miles from the hospital. Mom went into labor and Dad bundled her into the backseat of the car. I decided that it was 'time' and made my appearance in the carport before Dad even got the car shifted into reverse. No complications, but childbirth is an inherently messy business . . .

Dad drove Mom and bundle of joy to the hospital and got everyone settled. However, it was two in the morning and he needed to go home and take care of older kids. However, he is almost out of gas. So, he slowly cruises the streets of Willows California, stopping hopefully at the gas stations, which of course, in 1960, are all closed. So, he keeps cruising, slower and slower . . .

Finally a town cop stops him. Approachs car, only slightly suspicious. Flashes giant flashlight around car interior and sees . . . um . . . graphic . . . evidence of some sort of extreme biological occurrence in the backseat. Ahh what the heck, the kids are out of the room . . . there is blood and gunk everywhere.

Next thing Dad knows, he's yanked out of the car and facedown on the hood of the car with one arm twisted up between his shoulderblades with the officer demanding an explanation.

Luckily, my dad, in his prime, could charm the stripes off a tiger. Even with his face mashed into the car hood, he managed to convince the cop of what happened. Not just that, the cop ended up calling the owner of the gas station that did towing for the police and got dad all fixed up for the trip home, with only a face print on the car hood to show for it.

A dual tale of the good [sorta] samaritan and the joys of parenthood . . .


Does this mean you are making progress with your speech problem?



This reminds me of Danny Wallace's book Join Me. He started a cult, which he called the karma army who's main function is to perform random acts of kindness. They were scammed on their first attempt.

Tokyo Joe

I helped a lady start her car one rainy night after I borrowed cables from a guy. She insisted I take $20 and I refused despite being between jobs. "Take it," she said, I'm a doctor." So I split it with the cable guy and went to a bar to celebrate having $10 in surprise cash. I got drunk, was pulled over by the Memphis police and given four different tickets (crossing the center line, expired city decal, expired car tag, and expired driver's license). Fortunately I was spared a night in jail.

I sure learned MY lesson -- never help a lady doctor in a rainstorm! (But I really haven't driven drunk since that night in 1983...)


A true story:

Once upon a time, a friend in the hotel trade (a Chef) was being transfered from a CP hotel in Charlottetown, PEI to a resort in Jasper, Alberta. He was in PEI, but the car he needed to tow a U-haul trailer with his stuff was in Kingston, as was I.

So, being March break from University, I picked up the car and headed for PEI. 20 hours later, I was on the ferry to PEI. Shortly thereafter, we were heading Westward.

Shortly after that, in rural New Brunswick in the dark of a winter night, there was a loud bang and the car was jerking around like a buckin' bronco. It turned out that the trailer ball had been installed on the car before I picked it up, but never tightened. The two and a three quarter inch long large bolt had worked loose and the trailer hitch (with ball in hand) had detached. Only the tow chains and our gaurdian angels prevented a sizable mishap when things went all pear-shaped.

So here we are, stranded in rural NB in the dark of night. About a mile or two away, we can see an all night truckstop. So I get out and hang from the back of the trailer, to ballast it and get the tongue up in the air, while my friend drives the car, pulling the trailer on tow chains, to the truck stop.

We needed a new bolt for the trailer. The locals phoned the tow truck driver, he wasn't home. They phoned him at his relatives. No joy. Truckers we talked to had bigger bolts, normal folks smaller, but nothing the right size for the trailer ball. I got advised about a dozen times over two or three hours just to lift a trailer ball (five finger discount) from the parking lot.

Finally, we settled on trying to buy one from somebody coming through. We encountered one kind fellow driving a little 4x4 pickup. He had a hitch, we explained our odd situation, our dire need to get on the road again, and offered to buy his hitch. He would not hear of it - he made a gift of it to us. He would not take money. We tried repeatedly to get him to take payment.

Only after we had it off and installed on our car did he mention the truck was his buddy's, that he was borrowing, and that he was just going to tell his buddy it had been stolen. We tried yet again to give him some cash, but he just laughed and drove on.

That hitch got my buddy and his stuff to Jasper on time. That fellow saved our bacon. I hope his friend took the bad news in good spirits.


Maritimers are incredibly generous folks, helpful to strangers in need. But they have an odd sense of possession and NEVER LOAN THEM YOUR TRUCK.


I live in seattle, and there is a guy downtown who has had a sign for the past year saying exactly:

"ninjas killed my family, need money for kung fu lessons."

I doubt his situation is really that bad, so everytime I see him I laugh.

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