I gave my last two dollars to a stranger Sunday.
I was out and about, doing errands, and stopped for gas. Didn’t really need it yet but I had 60 cents off a gallon points that were about to expire and that’s too much to waste.
On my way into the lot, the car in front of me was having trouble. I didn’t think much of it as I made my selection until an average looking man approached the woman at the pump next to mine. I didn’t hear what he said but her response was hateful and rude.
When the man turned to go past me his shoulders were slumped. I saw his expression. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone looking quite so defeated. His lip was quivering and he seemed to be fighting tears. When he met my eyes I could see the hesitation in his. And the embarrassment. I didn’t think. I just motioned him over and asked what was going on. He was out of gas and didn’t have a cent on him.
When I was sixteen I had the coolest Mustang. It had been my grandmother’s and I adored that car. The only problem was the gas gauge tended to stick. I miscalculated once and ran out of gas on my way home from work. At night. In the middle of nowhere. Some very nice man in a beat up old truck gave me a ride to a pay phone which was about five miles down the road. Yes, that was before cell phones.
I saw this as my chance to return the favor. I asked the man to take over pumping my gas so I could have both hands to dig through my wallet. I only had two dollars with me but he assured me that would be enough to get him home. He wouldn’t relinquish the nozzle when I attempted to take it back. Instead he waited and finished filling my tank for me.
Perhaps I am a gullible fool. Maybe this is how he goes about acquiring gas money every time he needs it. I prefer to believe he was someone having a bad moment, just like I was all those years ago.