This evening, Holly and I were driving back from San Diego and we stopped into a gas station to buy something to drink for the road. While in there, we overheard a guy talking about how he locked his wallet in his car and had ran out of gas and needed some cash. He was dressed in a sort of tux or something. 40- or 50-year-old white male. He told me his name, but I forgot it.
Anyway, Holly and I decided to help him out, so we offered to get him some gas and perhaps a gas carrier so that he could take it back to his car. I mean, it wasn't gonna cost more than $12, so no big, right? He was grateful, but there was this weird vibe from the cashier. I didn't get it.
When the guy went out to gas up his container, the cashier looked me in the eye and said, "Hey man, y'all are generous people and all, but you can't just do stuff like that." I was spinning... "What?" I was thinking. Is he just saying people shouldn't be generous? I don't get it. Then he's like, "Seriously, that guy is a scam artist, and he just played you." What? I was so confused.
I still don't completely understand what happened, but Holly had some good thoughts regarding the situation. She said that it probably didn't look good that this potential fake was the one who got our 'generosity' when this kid who's working for $6/hour just sat there and watched. I mean, who was being rewarded?
Although I am not necessarily convinced that the guy was a scammer, I can see these points, and honestly, it is kind of humbling... or even humiliating in a sense.
It was kind of a cheap fix for feeling generous. Perhaps being truly generous with resources might not just look like giving money away, but actually giving time and relationship as well. Perhaps the best place to channel funds is into places where we can not only assist, but where we can build relationships. I don't know if it can always look this way, but it is a good idea.
It is actually the idea that Darin and Shane had when putting together Relational Tithe, something Holly and I are a part of... and something we feel great about.
Anyway, just thought I'd share my experience with you.