Help for a stranger – even if unsure

Recently, while working in a Hamilton shop, Jane (not her real name) was approached by a man who needed to use the phone. He was apparently passing through on his way north, but had run out of petrol just outside her shop. There was a petrol station nearby, but the man had unfortunately left his Eftpos card in the previous town, so needed to ring a friend to come and pay for the petrol.

After the phone call, he said his friend wouldn’t be able to come until after work, meaning a wait of some four hours. Through the shop window, Jane could see the man’s wife and young child in the car and hated to think of them having to wait so long. She found her purse and gave the man $10 to help him on his way.

Of course it occurred to Jane that the whole story might have been a con, but her decision was to help out anyway. The opportunity to help a family who were having a really bad day outweighed the potential annoyance of being taken for a ride. “It didn’t matter in the end,” Jane said. “Either way, it helped them out.”