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Old November 9, 2009, 02:24 PM   #26
peejman
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People begging for gas in urban areas or anywhere there's pay phones and/or cell phone service are likely up to no good.

One of the colleges I went to was in a relatively bad area of the city. A friend who worked night shift at Kinko's less than a block from my campus housing got robbed and shot one night and nearly bled out (nicked femoral artery) before help arrived. Anyway, because of the location it wasn't uncommon to encounter panhandlers. After a few experiences my roommates and I came up with a standard response... "If you're hungry I'll get you something to eat at the campus cafeteria with my meal card, but I don't have any money to give you." One guy took us up on the offer. We got him a big tray of food with a slice of apple pie for dessert. He seemed genuinely grateful.


... and I meant to add, I've continued with that philosophy since then. If they're hungry, I'll get them something to eat. But no money.

Last edited by peejman; November 9, 2009 at 02:44 PM. Reason: I'm forgetful...
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Old November 9, 2009, 04:36 PM   #27
markj
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Man, all those people I sceered helpin em out. I can now see they must have been terrified to see a huge long haired huge bearded guy stop his truck, git out and ask can I help you? They might have needed to swap out their undies I must say.

I must admit I stop for fellow travellors and offer help refusing payment of any form. Just the way it is round here.

I was helped 30 years ago when my bike broke down.

I try to get gas at the corner stop in town, not a big town we all know each other for the most part.

I try not to scare folks, but sometimes ya just gotta help a person out.
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Old November 9, 2009, 06:24 PM   #28
Skans
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I try not to scare folks, but sometimes ya just gotta help a person out.
I wish I lived in a place like you do. I would like to be able to help folks out. My experiences have sometimes been positive, and other times been negative. I did give a lady a ride once because she was left stranded somewhere - I made her show me what was in her purse first, and asked her if she had a gun on her though. She didn't mind and was appreciative.

Another time I tried to help a guy who wiped out on his motorcycle late at night. he was lying face down in a pile of fireants unconsious - wasn't wearing a helmet. I ran to get help in a nearby neighborhood and went to 3 houses before I could convince someone to just call 911. The first two wouldn't even do that, yet I told them they didn't need to open the door or let me in - just call 911. The guy was alive and I waited until the cops and paramedics arrived then took off. Never knew what happened to that fella - hope he made it ok.
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Old November 9, 2009, 06:43 PM   #29
MLeake
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Helping others...

I'm not opposed to helping others.

However, I don't give money to people I don't know, unless they are working for an organization that is familiar to me.

I'm quite happy to help the little old lady with a flat tire. I've carried an air conditioning unit from a car to a 2nd floor for a little old lady who asked me to help her with it - this happened in a Boston suburb, and I found it very amusing that she'd ask a strange man in shorts and a tank top to help her - guess I looked both harmless and capable of lifting and carrying heavy objects.

I've pulled over at roadside accidents. I've gone after people who swam out a bit too far. I've gone up to a burning duplex to make sure nobody was in the house (I was with a buddy when we happened to drive by that one; we split up to hit each unit, and there were people in both, none of whom had any idea that the back wall of the house was in flames); we ended up outside with a garden hose on the flames, waiting for the FD. (Not picking on the FD, they responded with admirable speed, we just thought there was no point in not trying while we waited.)

But I don't feel the slightest bit of guilt over not giving money to scammers and panhandlers. Nor do I feel bad about not picking up hitchhikers (although I have offered rides to guys in uniform, near basic training bases, who got caught by rainstorms while walking back to base from liberty).

If I can see the accident scene, or the actual problem, then I am fairly sure of what is happening, and will do what I can. If somebody is telling me a story, then I have to make a leap of faith that past experience has taught me not to take.

And if somebody looks or feels wrong, I have no problem telling them to back off, now.
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Old November 10, 2009, 03:22 PM   #30
KingEdward
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Of the two times I've had to draw, one was at a gas station while two guys
we're talking to me while I was finishing up at the pump and before I knew it one of them was on the driver door (opposite side where I was) and his buddy was coming around the tailgate saying something about needing money and food and he kept coming and as I had first said no, I can't help you guys he seemed already angered and quickened his pace.

I thought they were going to assault me and then take the truck. Once he saw the colt .38 hanging off my right thigh he backed away and motioned his pal and they left.

I helped a guy once in a parking lot who came up to me around Thanksgiving.
I had ten bucks on me and I gave it to him. I don't know if the story was legit but he was needing a little gas money and had 3 kids in the car.
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Old November 10, 2009, 03:33 PM   #31
MLeake
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KingEdward...

... I won't give you a hard time for helping the guy.

The reason I probably would not have is that I've been too many places where adults deliberately use kids to sell crap you'd never buy, or to beg successfully when you probably wouldn't have paid the adult.

Go to Thailand some time, or various other third world places, and look at how the kids basically get treated like Fagin's urchins.

I'm frankly afraid that if I give money to the guy with the kids, or the starving puppy, that it's only going to encourage him to keep using the kids and underfeeding the dog.

I'd rather give to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, where I don't have to worry about whether the recipients are exploiting helpless things.
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Old November 14, 2009, 12:09 AM   #32
FM12
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The use of gasoline as a deterrent is a very risky one. Consider it a LAST measure, if at all. I've seen gasoline do terrible things to people, and has immense potential to destroy everybody and everything around it. Please be careful around the stuff, even when at home. Trust me on this, FM (Fire Marshal) 12

(There may be a fire extinguisher close by that you could pummel the guy with. MUCH safer)
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Old November 17, 2009, 07:06 PM   #33
StiveC2007
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The last time I gave money to a pan handler was when i was with a group of friends. there was this guy standing asking for money, another friend asked him what he was gonna buy. The pan handler answers a hot cup of coffee, my friend calls bull and says if you tell me the truth I will give you somthing. the pan handler answers ok im gonna buy booze. we all ponied up a buck and gave the guy seven dollars. sure enough we saw him later with a bottle of cheap cheap vodka in a brown bag.
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Old November 22, 2009, 11:16 PM   #34
fawcettlee
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Hmmm.

Interesting situation. I think we've all been approached with a like story and a request for help. I've helped a few and spurned quite a few. Having said that, however, I've also been in a situation where I had to rely on a stranger's generosity when I found myself without even a dollar and an empty gas tank. I'm glad you weren't hurt.
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Old November 23, 2009, 05:36 AM   #35
ClayInTx
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A popular scam is one sometimes called the “Smiling Charlie”. They look for persons in the act of leaving a store, never someone who just drove up and is going to be there awhile.

A conservatively dressed, good haircut and clean shaven if male, person approaches you with a story of bad luck. A typical opening line might be:

“I’m not a bum but I’m really in a bad situation. I’m on my way to my new job. Last night my wife/kid had to go to the hospital and it took all my money because I’m between jobs and don’t have insurance. I need just enough for gas to get to (city name).”

Or, car trouble, anything which would cost several hundred dollars. There’s always a wife or family in the car. All they ask for is a few dollars. If they can get ten bucks every ten minutes that’s sixty an hour, not bad wages.

These persons are never aggressive, act very humble and polite. If refused they offer no argument. If you give them money they go get into their car and drive away—and as soon as you leave they’re right back.

I always tell them no but offer to call the sheriff and get him to take them to a local charity which will help them on their way. (Many churches actually have a program to do this Lutherans especially.) Their typical response is to ask the name of the church and they say they’ll go there, and here’s no need for the sheriff.

No matter what you suggest, other than handing them some money, you’ll find they have a logical answer to avoid any law enforcement help. They’ve got all the answers ready because they’ve been through all this a thousand times—it’s their job and they’re good at it.

The good news is that these persons are not a threat to you. Just tell them to get gone and they’ll move on with almost always a “God bless you, sir. Have a nice day.” Of course you know what the real meaning of that phrase “have a nice day” has now, in instances like this, evolved into.
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Old November 23, 2009, 01:51 PM   #36
Daugherty16
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A couple questions...

JROD: Can't fault you for your generosity, but some of us who've lived longer and seen more have become jaded . I've lived in LA and SF, and work in NYC now. Bumming is a way of life for a lot of folks, some of whom have reduced it to fine performance art. So for those reasons, i made the personal decision to just say no. I give plenty each year, but structured the way i want it, not the way some bum wants it.

The other thing is the potential set-up for a robbery/mugging or worse. Your anntena obviously went up, and you wisely (instinctively or from Situational Awareness?) created distance. Pax's point about the gas pump (tempered of course, by the FM's words of experience) is a good one. No need to feel sheepish, she often presents thoughts or observations a lot of us would have missed.

But you said you had a shotgun in the car. I presume it was unloaded, as is the law most everywhere, and possibly cased. If so, other than visual deterrence and having a large club in your hands (not necessarily bad things), what would it have gotten you? Wasn't it in the back, behind a locked door? Could you have gotten to it and loaded it quickly enough, with your back presumably to the BG while you were halfway in the car and bent over to reach the back seat, to have been of use if the BG were armed or just determined? Jumping in and locking the one unlocked door may have been a better and faster option - why fight if getting away is so much easier?

Anyhow, it went down ok and it's just a theoretical exercise now - exactly what this forum is for. I know i've learned a lot over the years since i found TFL. The question is, what would you do differently today?
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Old November 24, 2009, 01:34 PM   #37
Eagleks
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" I need some money for gas so I can get home "....

My answer has been, well I keep a small can of gas in my car I can give you, now "where's your car". You'll know in an instant if it's a scam, as they will flatly say... no, I just need the money. No one has ever pointed out nor taken me to their car.

Now, at a gas station... I would have probably did what you did as he was actually asking for gas and had a can.
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Old November 24, 2009, 03:09 PM   #38
Uncle Ben
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I'll never ever give a single dime to someone that asks for money. I am not going to support anyone's drug or drinking habit, which is likely the reason that they are homeless and jobless in the first place.

I had an older lady at a gas station (who was obviously homeless) ask me if I would buy her a hotdog. At first I said no, but when I went inside to pay she had gone back inside and I saw a hotdog on counter so I asked if it was hers and told the clerk I would pay for it. At least she didn't have the chance to spend the $ on her habit (if she has one).

Another time there was a guy standing by the Wendy's drive thru asking people for money or to buy him a handburger. I told him no as I drove by, but bought an extra burger and walked it over to him (no danger since there were plenty of people and cars next to us). His eyes lit up when I told him it was for him. I told that all things are possible with God and that God could help him out of whatever mess he in. I asked him if he had a problem with drinking or drugs, and he said yes, he had a drinking problem. He went into a whole story about how he needs a few hundred bucks to get out of a jam, so I'm sure he wanted to see what he could get out of me.

You know that any cash he got that day was more than likely going to buy booze, so why should we risk feeding that addiction by giving away cash? There are other ways to help...

Lastly, on a completely different note, I would have to say that dangerous criminals prey on those that seem weak, so a person that is willing to help them seems perfect. They have minds completely different from ours, so there is no way for us to understand that.
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Old November 29, 2009, 12:52 PM   #39
CUBAN REDNECK
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Look around; know your surroundings

Situational awareness is paramount in any venue where cash is being handled. Pan handlers of all stripes tend to hang around train stations, bus stops, gas stations and restaurants because they know that they can score a few bucks from good natured people who want to help out someone a little down on his luck. I have also been accosted several times at large gasoline stations in SW Florida. I try to assess the situation as best that I can, e.g. a guy in a car with his old lady and three kids is probably safer than the guy who sends out his girlfriend in a Daisy Duke to sweet talk you with eye candy and charm. Crimes of distraction can occur anywhere, so remember to keep your distance, look around for #2 (partner of the approacher) and most of all JUST SAY NO. It seems paranoid but it will probably keep you safe.
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Old December 9, 2009, 02:16 PM   #40
STEINER
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I don't always so "no" to beggers. I know most will buy beer or smokes with my donation. I hit rock bottom 20 yrs ago and lived in the back of my truck for a short period. I never want to eat another 99 cent whopper the rest of my life.
Anyway, this lady hit me up recently for $7.00. I was exiting a store and she approached me with " my car broke down and me and my kids need to take the public rail back downtown". I saw no car or kids. She was pretty rough.
I handed her the two one dollar bills I had in my pocket. She looked at it and said "what the hell am I going to do with two dollars?" Wow... I stuffed the bills back in my pocket and walked away as she was cursing me out.
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Old December 9, 2009, 09:44 PM   #41
Mr. Davis
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The most important thing is knowing how you're going to respond in advance. If you don't have a plan as to what you'll say, then you'll give in.

When I was in college, I had a guy come up to me and a friend in a nearly deserted theater parking lot. He was dressed fairly well, and told a story about needing $17.23 or some other random amount to finish getting his car repaired so he could get back to another university, about an hour from town. He also took great pains to find out where we went to school so he could pay us back, even asking if we knew certain people at that school so he could meet up with us.

We gave him $20, and he left. We got in the car to leave, and my buddy told me he could smell alcohol on the guy's breath. He never got closer than 5-7 feet, so that's saying something.

I look back on that incident as youthful ignorance. When we pulled out our wallets, he could have pulled out a weapon and said "I'll take the whole thing, thanks". More to the point, it was almost midnight - nobody was doing work on a car that late.
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Old December 16, 2009, 01:18 PM   #42
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The local newspaper did a story a few years ago about pan handlers. One guy stood on a bust street corner near the local shopping mall. He begged for money using a sign. At the end of the day, he had collected over $300. Not bad for a few hours of begging.
I was asked by a pretty young lady for some gas money. She told me the usual song and dance about getting home to see her family...blah blah blah. When I told her that she was not getting any gas or money from me she offered "herself" to me....yea right. When I told her that I had seen her begging for gas money two days before at the same gas station she left me alone. I told the clerk to call the cops on the hooker outside. I found out that the clerk and the girl outside were friends and had been doing this scam for a few weeks.
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Old December 16, 2009, 05:16 PM   #43
markj
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Darn. almost got me today. I walked out of a store with a few items, a guy asked me for a couple bucks for something to eat.

I said hey I am on lunch and am going to get something right now hop in and I will buy you lunch for the conversation we can have.

He waved his hand at me and went off in a huff stopping at another car where he recieved a 5.00 bill.

Was I afeered for me life? Not one bit even tho a guy was shot in his head a few blocks away just the other night (Omaha). I only wanted to share a meal and some conversation. I would have bought him anything on the menu too.
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Old December 17, 2009, 06:12 PM   #44
oldman1946
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Quote:
On one occasion I thought I was helping out a young girl in distress and she turned out to be a prostitute. So, you never really know. Now, I hate to say, I pretty much avoid helping anyone I don't personally know.
Well, lets find out if you helped her out? Her profession would not matter if she was in need.

I changed a tire for an attorney once. He needed the help and I was in a position to give help.

I pulled a Baptist preacher's car out of a ditch several years ago but he was a nice guy and I did not mind.
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Old December 17, 2009, 08:08 PM   #45
mnhntr
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Heres the scam guys and girls. First if you fill up using a credit card, not a debit card, or use your debit card by hitting credit, the person inside working at the station can allow the next person to fill up on your dime. If you hit clear when you are done then they cannot pull this scam. Always use the clear button when you are finished filling up.
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Old December 17, 2009, 10:08 PM   #46
Edward429451
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I had a guy approach me at the 7 11 for money to buy a fan belt for his car so he could get home. WHere's the car? A couple blocks from here. So I moseyed to the back of my van and pulled a few belts out and let him take his pick of one that might fit.

Did he scam me? Who cares for a 5 dollar belt? I'd rather get scammed for 10 belts than let one person in real need out in the cold. Maybe I'm stupid and maybe I'm not.
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Old December 18, 2009, 01:22 PM   #47
Balog
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My Dad and older brothers stopped to help a fellow who's truck had broken down far out in the boonies where we lived. He ended up throwing down on them with a shotgun. Not a robbery attempt, guy was just crazy and thought they were out to get him.

A few weeks back an attractive and helpless looking late teens girl approached me outside a grocery store fairly late at night and laid down a good spiel about breaking her key off in the ignition, needing to pay a locksmith so she could go get her kid etc. I considered offering to extract the key myself, but knew how vulnerable that would leave me and said no. As it happens, the first store did not have what I needed so I went to another a couple miles down the road where another girl said her sister had broken off her key etc. Again I refused, but I was wondering if they might be legit. Last week I again went to a local grocery store where lo and behold the same pretty young thing was begging in the lot, albeit with a different rap.

On another note, before I was old enough for a concealed carry permit, I borrowed a pistol from a friend and open carried everywhere. Perfectly legal in AZ at the time, and no one ever said anything to me about it. Just a thought...
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