Live to Give

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. 

What??? 

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. 

30 thoughts on “Live to Give

  • Jessica, I think the important thing is that you followed your instinct which in this day and age can be very important for safety reasons. I’d be very suspicious of someone who wanted me to take money out of my bank account at an ATM for any reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Diane. THIS is what I tried to write in your comment section. Ha. A little wordy for a comment. :)

      Yes, I thought that was odd. It actually screamed out, I go in and someone takes my truck. I was so glad when my husband arrived.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Did you see Karen’s comment below? What happened to her friend? Yikes! You’re right about instincts and intuitions. After reading all these comments, I’m really glad I wrote about it now.

          My original intention was to show that *Even though we had all those “boths” that were similar, it was gut instincts that led us to our decisions on whether to help.
          *That sometimes even in the best of situations, human nature questions someone else’s need.
          *And, how sometimes a weird experience can sort cause fear and doubts about whether to help someone in the future.

          What I didn’t realized by writing this is, the lessons I’d learn from the whole experience. I love how everyone agrees that safety is #1.

          I always look for the lessons in things that happen. Perhaps this situation was a lesson in listening to my gut. And like Jenny said, not feeling guilty for doing that. :)

          Liked by 1 person

  • I would have done the same thing. Once, I did not listen to my gut instinct, and I was conned by someone I knew who appealed to my desire to help. Since then, when my gut warns me, I listen. I think you did the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a very good lesson in what you said. I’m sorry you were conned. I’m glad you listen to your gut, and that I did, too. I had no idea that would ever happen. We’ve been to that store a billion times. I didn’t think twice about safety when my husband and I decided to meet there. I think that’s why I was shocked by someone approaching my window. Glad it’s over!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Hey Jess, lovely post about giving and helping but Diane’s story sounded a bit different to yours. I think you did the right thing, always follow your gut instinct. I would have done exactly the same thing as you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Miri. Thank you. Yes, I agree. Diane’s was really different in a lot of ways. I’m glad to hear that everyone agrees that safety comes first.

      What got me to thinking about it further, was reading Diane’s post and the comments that followed. The “trying to decides” what’s legitimate and whether there is a true need.

      Plus, I was thinking about how sometimes one bad experience can make us stop doing things we love. I don’t want to do that.

      Thank you for reading. Means a lot to me! :)

      Liked by 1 person

  • Like you I want to help others, but I think you were right to trust your instincts. I think the most deserving people are the ones who exhaust every avenue at their disposal before ever asking for anything, and only then will they ask for enough to get by. I’m not saying she wasn’t deserving, I just don’t see it as the right way to ask for help. Hold your head up and know you did the right thing for you and her.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love what you said. All of it. The last line really made me stop and think. I had to sit on it awhile, so I could really let it sink in.

      I never thought about it as being the right thing for either of us. I mean, I knew something didn’t feel right, but then I felt bad. And, all I really considered was her odd approach.

      One thing I’ve definitely learned from all you kind friends is, following instincts is a must. Reading Karen’s comment below, reminded me that it’s always better to be safe.

      The thing I’ve noticed sometimes about giving/ helping is, need isn’t necessarily based on what something looks like. Somewhere in the mix, the mind can tend to get a little judgmental, if you know what I mean.

      It might seem easy to maybe give to someone who looks down on their luck and has a “hungry” sign. But, maybe not so easy for the mind to get around a possible need of someone who’s dressed nicely, with no sign.

      I think that may be where part of the What if’s and guilt comes in, the human part of judging the need.

      I once heard a story about an elderly fella who sat on the sidewalk with a cup everyday seeking coins, etc. Eventually, it was discovered that he had been in the military and donated every cent he collected. He didn’t keep any of it.

      I carry that with me.

      I decided not to let this one weird experience jade the next chance. :) It’s definitely been a lesson.

      Thanks for your helpful insight. I appreciate your thoughts and time!

      Liked by 1 person

  • I agree that you did the right thing. That little voice is there for a reason; it keeps us safe. My girlfriend was recently approached as she sat in her car on a very warm day (she was on her phone with the window rolled down a few inches). The man TOLD her he needed help, did not ask, and her first instinct was to help. He wanted help with his “windshield,” and when she thought for a minute, she then asked him, “Where would I be helping you?” He said, “In my backyard.” That’s when she put petal to the metal. She went home and called the police. Our nature is to help and that is what makes being human such a wondrous thing. So glad you are safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I was raised by my grandparents who set a similar example for me so I try to help anyone I can. I even have an envelop I stick a few dollars into each month I call my giving account. I don’t use that for charity but rather individuals who are in need. Anyway, at one point I was living in Arizona where there was a large homeless population. I would regularly give money or in the summer I carried water bottles and crackers to give to those looking for help. One day I was in a parking lot waiting for my teenaged on to get out of work when I noticed a man who I’d thought was homeless and given money to in the past walk to a car parked near mine. He removed his old dirty clothes and cleaned up then began talking to someone he knew telling them how much money he made that day and how it was a better gig than his last job. That was the last time I gave money to a homeless person. I’ve since offered to buy a meal and bring it to them but never cash.While I was ticked off in my situation I didn’t feel threatened but can imagine how you would have in your encounter. I think you did the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lois. Thank you for your comments. That is certainly not something I ever considered. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. It’s kind of like Weird Guy With The Dog commented, we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Thank you for taking the time to share yours. :)

      I definitely learned some lessons in my experience. I’ll carry them forward for sure. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  • Like the others, I agree that you were very wise to follow your instincts. There are so many ways to be helpful and caring – but unfortunately there are some people who take advantage of others. Lend the helping hand within a context that you are comfortable. It’s so much safer that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sheryl. I LOVE what you said. You helped “rebuild” my giving foundation by helping me remember there are many ways to be helpful and caring. Also, “Within the context” really hits home. :)

      Thank you for reading and offering your wonderful insight. Means a lot to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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