i pulled up to the pump at a nearby goose-flying convenience store to put gas in my truck a week or so ago and was approached by a young lady carrying a toddler. oh no. here it comes. she came up to me, nodded toward the car at the next pump and told me she was trying to get to her mom's house and didn't have enough gas to make it the rest of the way to dover....about 35 miles away from where we were near new castle.
she bounced the young girl on her hip and shifted her stance slightly. did i have anything to spare? the kid's face killed me. big, innocent eyes. curly long locks of dirty blondish hair poked from under the hood of her coat. i pulled five bucks out ot my pocket that i had gotten as change from an earlier purchase. the young lady took it, thanked me and headed back into the store.
please pay for the gas, i thought. please, please, please pay for the gas. i put my debit card in the pump and started to fill the tank of my truck. she came back out in a minute or so and started fiddling with the pump across from me. she put the nozzle in and out of her car a couple of times before telling the driver of the car waiting in line behind her that the pump wasn't working and she was going to talk to the clerk.
i'd been had. just like others had been had before me and others would be after me. i knew it all along, of course, as i 'm sure most others would also. but something in me wanted to believe her story. something in me wanted to believe i was helping that child see her grandmom that night. something in me wanted to make sure that mom could make it happen for her baby.
i finished filling my tank. as i opened the door to get back into my truck, i looked over at the next pump and smiled at the little girl whose mom could no longer look my way. i think she smiled back. at least that's how i'm going to remember it.
because something in me....perhaps even something selfish....something in me just really, truly wanted to believe i was doing something good.
i know how he feels
see you around town