When someone needs a helping hand, do you lend yours?
Me, too. My role models taught me what compassion is all about and probably like you do, I do whatever, whenever I can.
My grandparents showed me how to give by setting a great example. For instance, they helped their neighbors when they were behind on their crops. They cooked meals when someone was in the hospital or when there was a loss in the family.
Then, there’s my parents. I can’t even begin to tell you all the times they have helped someone out.
Dad has volunteered many hours in the community. He was a volunteer firefighter for years. They’ve donated time and money when people have needed it.
In fact, my mom is the first person to grab her purse if she sees an opportunity to help.
All of that rubbed off on me, I guess.
Yesterday, I was reading a story by Diane at LadiesWhoLunchReviews called “What Would You Do?” and it caught my eye. (You can read it here if you like.)
She tells about something that happened to her while traveling on Memorial Day. While parked in a parking lot, a person approached her car window and asked for money.
Her story struck me because I had a similar, yet different experience recently. One that rocked my “giving” foundations.
About a month ago, I was sitting in a business parking lot waiting for my husband and it was pouring down rain. Suddenly, a nicely dressed woman with an umbrella approached my window.
It startled me. I rolled my window down a few inches and she told me a story about how she hadn’t gotten her social security check and her rent was due and could I spare a 5, a 10, or anything?
I can’t explain it really, but something didn’t feel right. My gut feeling was uneasy.
I mean, I have given people money when I’ve had extra in my pocket, but I usually stop and hand it to them. I’ve never had anyone come to my window in a parking lot.
I was kind of nervous, red flags were on high alert and something was screaming “Not Safe.” I told her I didn’t have any money at all.
What she said next threw me a bit sideways. She wanted to know if I could go to the ATM at the gas station and get her some money.
I have never heard of such a thing. Seriously? Again, I told her I didn’t have any money and finally, she moved on to another car in the parking lot.
Later that day, the “maybe I should have helped” guilt started creeping in. All those what if’s. Do you know those? The “What if it was legitimate? What if she loses her home? What if…”
I suppose that is the human nature of compassion. The wanting to help, even when something doesn’t feel quite right.
Well, Diane’s story certainly hit home. We were both in a parking lot, both approached at our window, both heard stories, and both went with our gut feelings.
Although my experience that day was a bit scary and kind of weird, I’ve decided not to change who I am because of it. I will still help people when I can and I hope to continue to live by what I’ve been taught, which is to live to give.