Sunday, October 5, 2008

This n That n Whatnot

So on Friday night, after my long seminar day and then coming home to the broken fireplace and other assorted messes, I ordered pizza for the kids then retreated to the living room to regroup for a few hours.

At 9 I was taking the boys to Flip City then meeting Terry for coffee at Starbuck's til 10:30 pm so I needed some chill time.

I guess I could have cleaned something. But really? I was very tired. So I blog surfed. And read this. And then I read about 100 of the 1182 (!) comments.
What would I do? Probably give the money.
What would you do?

So, anyhow, I eventually I peeled myself off of my couch, dropped those precious 14 year olds off at the gym so they jump and bounce in a room that I do not own, then met Terry. We were just getting into the merits of digi-scrapbooking vs real paper scrapbooking when the woman who was sweeping the floor said, "We're closed you know" in a condescending voice that I thought only dental hygeniests used.

Yeah. I know. Since when do Starbuck's close at 9:30? We got into Terry's truck and drove over to Precious Memories to look at real scrapbooking supplies and once again I bought paper. Because I love paper. Some people collect fabric. Others stamps. Some have shelves in their garage filled with girl's iceskates. I have a thing for paper. So shoot me.

I had taken $60 out of the bank on Thursday night so that I'd have a "float" at the book table on Friday. Turns out everyone who bought one of Carson's books paid by Visa, so my three 20's weren't needed.

I rarely have cash in my pocket, and it seemed like a bit of a novelty, so I wanted to keep it there. But I couldn't find my Visa or bank card, so I had to use one of my 20's to pay for my paper. I added the coin change to my pocket and left the store with one hand holding my purchase, and the other hand jingling the money in my pocket.

"Excuse me. EXCUSE ME..."
A guy in a white work van with 24 Duct Cleaning printed on the side pulled up in front of me in the scrapbooking parking lot.
"Can you help me? Do you have a minute? Please..."
"I don't have a minute, but I do have, like 30 seconds. I've got to go pick up my kids."
"I'm a family man. I have a wife and kids. I work in Chilliwack but I live in Burnaby and I'm trying to get home but I left my wallet on my desk at work and I'm out of propane ..."

I'm reaching for my cell phone and planning on offering to call his wife so she can come out to Langley to meet him. Or call a friend of his, who can come out to give him a hand, or something. Maybe call BCAA?

"And I'll give you my contact information, you can write down my driver's licence number and I'll tell you where I live. And I'll give you something in good faith that I'll pay you back. Do you have $20 that I can borrow? Please? I really want to get home to my kids."

My hand lets go of my cell phone and goes back to the two $20's in my pocket. And really? It was a no brainer for me. The blog entry I had read earlier was still fresh in my mind, and I knew. There was a chance he was going to blow this $20 of drugs, but there also was a chance he needed to get home to his wife and kids. And if my son were in a tough spot, I'd hope that a stranger would be kind to him.

So I walked over to the van and handed him a $20.
"Here ... let me give you my address ..." he said, rummaging around, looking for something to write on.

"No, it's OK. Go home to your kids, " I said.

He looked me in the eye and said, "Thanks. I'll pay this forward. Next guy I see that needs $20, I'll pass it along."

I step away from his truck and face an astonished Terry.
"What was that all about?"
"He needed money. I probably just got conned, but I had a $20 and he needed a $20."

She drove me back to the Starbuck's lot where my truck was parked. Just as I was getting out, guess what I saw?

A white work van with 24 hour Duct Cleaning printed on the side, circling the parking lot. It stopped next to a woman who was getting into her car.

Then the van drove over to the Safeway parking lot and stopped next to two women heading into the store.

Then it went over to the TD Bank and stopped two people who were exiting the after-hours teller machine.

He was a con artist. And I was an idiot.

I picked up the boys and we headed over to the other Safeway to get some breakfast items for them.
"Uh, Drew? I forgot my Visa and bank card at home, so all I've got is one $20 bill and these loonies.... l think we've got $24 to spend. So, just get a box of cereal, jug of milk, some bread, maybe some muffins and a snack for tonight."

And to myself I am saying, "Don't ever fall for sob stories again. You gave some creep $20 for crack when your own kids need food."

So consider this a public service announcement. If you are a woman and find yourself in Langley after 9 pm and are approached by a guy in a white van with 24 Hour Duct Cleaning printed on the side, tell him to flake off. You know his game. You are hip to his jive.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. All he wanted was $20
2. Facebook chat. Had a 30 minute "talk" with Clint this afternoon. How did parents of missionaries survive the not-knowing back in the olden days?
3. David Crowder! Chris Tomlin! Tomorrow in Vancouver! (I have 5 extra FREE tickets if anyone's interested...) Let me know by noon.



Tricia said...

I collect paper to. I love it. I've all so given money to someone I knew was conning me.

Anonymous said...

I have con me written on my forehead I think.