Running Out Of Gas

Joshua Johnson on April 6, 2015

I”ve run out of gas.

I know you”ve seen her, we”ve all seen her. She is the woman at the gas station asking people for $1 so that she can buy some gas to get home. Sometimes she has a gas can, sometimes not. Either way, it’s the same story, “I”ve run out of gas. I”m stuck. I need help.”

Often, people choose to latch on to part of the story. The part that they believe to be false, the part about her car being right down the road and being out of gas. I think focusing on this part allows us to feel better about ourselves. After all, if she is lying about her car running out of gas, she is probably a bad person and I shouldn”t feel bad for not help her, right?

I suggest we should consider the other part. She may not have a online casino car down the road, or even a car at all. But that doesn”t mean that she isn”t VERY “stuck and in need of help.” Perhaps stuck in a way that is difficult to understand herself, or difficult to explain to a friend over a long meal – let alone a complete stranger and in under 30 seconds.

Or maybe, if you don”t give her $1 because she is out of gas, it is easier for her to accept the rejection than it would be if she poured her heart and soul out to you, only to have you turn your back on her.

She, not her car, has run out of gas. She is stuck.

Giving money to someone that is asking for help is a personal decision. And to be honest, it is one that I struggle with myself. If you give, I encourage you do so without lecture and without judgement. Just give. Give the benefit of the doubt that they will use that money in the way that will have the most impact for them at that time. If you choose not to give, that”s okay too, but you are not off of the hook. Any reasonable excuses you may give yourself for not giving to an individual can”t possibly hold up when considering giving to reputable organizations that do everything they can to help people just like the woman that “ran out of gas” right down the road.

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