Unacceptable Ingratitude

via Daily Prompt: Shock

Word count = 586 / Reading time = 2 minutes, 15 seconds

I ranted about a similar topic in my previous post “A Harmonic Convergence“,  a 2-minute read that gives some background to today’s rant if you’re interested.  I’m shocked I’m already having to rave about it only a month later.

Ever since the local Super Wal-Mart opened, it has been a magnet for people who find themselves in need.  I was so frequently accosted in the parking lot or inside the store by people asking for money or help that I took to keeping “care envelopes” (each containing a $5 gift card to Wal-Mart, a $5 gift card to McDonald’s, and a current list of local care agencies with addresses & phone numbers) with me at all times.

Monday, along with my other purchases, I put $8 on a gift card with the intent of using it to put a little gas in my car’s near-empty tank. (The affiliated gas station gives a 3-cent discount for using Wal-Mart gift cards, and I take every discount I can get!) As my young son and I walked back to the car, a 6′ 4″ tall, stout-limbed, imposing man with a powder keg-shaped torso approached us irritably complaining that he was visiting from Memphis (a 4-hour drive via Interstate), his fuel pump went out,  it took all his money to get it fixed, he and his son were hungry, and he didn’t have enough gas to get home.

Finding myself without one of my care envelopes, I offered him the $8 gift card I had just purchased.  What follows is a fair approximation of the discussion that ensued as I stood there holding the card out to him:

Me: “I don’t have any money on me, but you can have this $8 gift card I just purchased.

Him: “What is that?

Me: “It’s an $8 Wal-Mart gift card.”

Him: “What am I s’posed to do with it?”

Me:  “You can use it to buy $8 worth of gas here or go in and buy some food with it.”

Him, with eyebrows knit and a lowering brow: “…”

Me:  “I don’t have any cash on me.  I just loaded this gift card with $8 because I’m almost out of gas, but you can have it.”

Him, clearly annoyed: “What good will $8 do me?  That’s not enough to get me home!”

Me, becoming annoyed: “Sir, it’s all I have.  Do you want it or not?”

Him, as he snatches the card from my hand then stomps off: “I guess I’ll take it.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this type of attitude when I’m offering assistance, but it’s the first time since I started blogging.  Others have protested in the past that I wasn’t offering them enough or that a couple of $5 gift cards wouldn’t help, but nary a one has refused to take what I offer.

I seek no recognition or praise for giving aid.  I consider it my duty as a human being.  I don’t even care if the recipient doesn’t throw me a simple “Thank you” in return.   Considering what I do for a living, (you can check my “About” page if you’re interested) it’s hard enough to maintain my fundamental belief in the goodness and decency of humanity.  I strive mightily to hold onto it in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.  I’ll continue to render aid & assistance when able, but damn, I’m getting tired of people asking for help and complaining that it isn’t enough.

Does this ever happen to you?



30 thoughts on “Unacceptable Ingratitude

  1. I once offered to help an elderly man carry his groceries to his car, and he chased me off with his walking stick, yelling out that I wanted to steal his stuff. A bit shocked that the world has come to this.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I stood there, shocked and horrified … I still feel that, and when the same situation arises, there’s an element of ‘should I?’ but I do, anyway. These days though, at the first sign of aggro, I back away.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have encountered something similar several times. Each time was at gas station/convenience store. Once was a young man and his wife who had just arrived in town. They had just had a baby, but their car also broke down, and they didn’t have enough money to get back home to their baby. Another instance was a lady who said she was trying to get away from her abusive husband, but didn’t have money to fill her gas tank so that she could leave the state. I’ve recently been advised by some local friends that this is often a scam. Being the trusting soul that I am, I didn’t want to believe it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi! I’m afraid that I am a skeptic. I have been approached by people with a car or gas issue…. many times and I believe, that it’s a scam. If someone legitmately needs help , I try and assist. I donate to several charities and will often pay for someone’s meal at McDonald’s, ect., (a random act of kindness). I like to pay the charge for the car behind mine at the drive-up window, but I fear that the man approaching you in the WalMart parking lot…was not telling the truth. I believe that you are a very kin​d person. I believe that you want to help others in need, but sometimes…you have to be careful! There are a lot of dishonest people out there, too! I was approached by a woman, sitting on a curb outside of a CVS. It was a Sunday night….araoun​d 10 pm. She said that she just had chemotherapy and didn’t have a car. Wanted me to give her a ride. The store clerk came out. He told her that she couldn’t sit there. He later told me in the store, that it was a scam. He said she tries to get customers to give her rides and money. Just saying!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It used to happen a lot while I was driving my tractor trailer all over the US. Gary, IN. was the worst place I ever was to be hit up for money, it seemed like every red light I stopped at someone would jump up on the side of the truck. I have had (crack heads) come up to my truck while I was sleeping and offer their girlfriend or wife for a few dollars to get their next fix…Those I just gave them a few dollars and declined their offers. It does get annoying after a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have had a few come up to me, here in Prescott and in Phoenix. None has threatened me, yet anyway. I have given to the “Corner Monitors” near our post office, on a particularly chilly day, so they can at least get something hot to eat or drink. I know these people to be drug-free, and just down on their luck.
    Interesting side note: When I was in Paris, four years ago, a Roma came up to me, along the right bank of the Seine, and did his “found your gold ring” trick. I joked around with him for a bit, then he said “We Roma would never harm a soul. You have homeless in America, who beat and rob people.” Word does get around.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve witnessed this situation many times. Only once was I concerned about my safety. I didn’t have money or cigs to give him ( I don’t carry cash)_and he started toward me and grabbed my shopping cart (many retrieve the quarters or dollars whatever it takes to unlock one in your vicinity) and will go to every customer to take the cart back to retrieve said change. It was a scary moment as I wasn’t sure what his intentions were. Having said that, my son 6 1 came walking up and asked him what he thought he was doing. He backed off. No telling how it would have ended otherwise. Understanding there are many in dire straights (and his frustration and concern high) he still could have been a lot more gracious (in that he was offered assistance – albeit to his mind obviously not enough). I thought you handled it perfectly. Take it or leave it, buddy, it’s all I have to give you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What an ingrate! We have lots of people like that in our country. They are too lazy to work because they are living because of the alms. That’s why I only donate to charities. You are kind. Bless you


  8. Unfortunately, the world is full of such people. You are a kind-hearted good person to continue to help others and not let the actions of a few override the benefit to the whole. I am still maintaining a 4 day per week routine the hospital for continued pt, speech, and ot therapies. Every single drive there is a certain corner where homeless like to stand holding their signs asking for help. If I happen to be lucky to have any sort of money on me I always roll my window down and share half of what I have available. I have been told that one man particularly ends his day in a brand new 2017 jacked up truck to head home after standing on the corner as his regular career. I still manage to maintain my kind and giving heart and believe that if I give even a small portion of what little I have, then I have done my part. I feel no remorse or ill will towards anyone after the money or ‘gift’ has been handed over. It was my choice to comply and give. Once said gift is given it is now up to the receiver to do what they will with it, for it belongs to them now. My conscience is clear and karma will catch up with those who take from others via a misleading nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oddly the folks who beg in Manhattan seem to be better behaved! But I don’t always give money. What I do though is “lean in.” I smile and say good morning, sometimes ask how their day is going. I remember reading once that folks begging on the streets found the hardest part was people avoiding their eyes. We have many self-sufficient street folks who collect recyclables from street garbage pails and walk with piled-high carts. Those folks, you just want to get out of their way!

    Liked by 1 person

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