I was getting gas for my truck the other night. A pretty simple activity today with pay at the pump and fast passes, and something that is relatively solitary – many times happily so. As I was about half way done, a young boy, about 10 or 11 years old, approached my car. I did not see him until he was standing about 3 feet from me along side my truck. I was surprised, but looked at him, smiled and said hi. He said hi and then took a step closer – he could have been in my kids’ grade school class – clean clothes, hooded sweatshirt, sneakers.
The next moment shocked me……”can I have some money?….my dad lost his job and we need help….” at which point I looked up to see his dad at the door of his truck, about 30 feet away, in the next bank of pumps. Dad did not wave, or smile, or indicate anything, except that he was paying attention.
I said no, uncomfortably…… and he turned and walked away. The dad went back to getting gas. I got back in my truck, started it up….my mind was racing. I was shook up from the event, not sure if I should be or not. I went thru a whole range of emotions – from anger, shock, frustration, fear, distress, concern (for the boy and the dad) and frustration (at them and me).
•Once I got my wits about me I realized I could have given him my card, since we do recruiting…duh – if he really needed a job….
•Anger over the dad doing that to the kid – irrespective of the true issue….
•Distress over not helping them or seeing what I could do……
•A bizarre frustration that he did not start the conversation with please or say thank you at the end….
•Sadness over the situation, but also a tinge of anger wondering if the requests was a lie…..
Am I alone here – I still am not sure if I would react differently if this happened again, but not sure if or what I should consider. Would love some input.