We were visiting recently and I must have mentioned my unpleasant experience with the aggressive, stoned panhandlers. Chad began to talk about helping people. He is a trucker. He owns his own truck. As he travels far and wide, he sees many people who are of a different population than I usually see. He has lots of opportunities to help those in need.
Chad told me that he didn’t think it was particularly helpful to give someone less than five dollars, and he sometimes gives more. He also told me that he resists the temptation to give counsel when he gives money. He resists telling them to be sure to buy food rather than one intoxicant or another. I understood what he meant because I had given 10 dollars to a man who told me he was going to go buy beer with it. I told him that it was his money and that I didn’t care what he did with it.
A few weeks ago, Chad stopped at a truck stop in Tremonton, Utah, for a restroom break and to stretch his legs. He said that when he went inside there was a woman with a baby in her arms and two children clinging to her legs at the cash register. The clerk was explaining, “You have to have cash or a credit card.”
When Chad came out, the woman and children were gone. He asked the clerk where they were. The clerk did not know. Chad said that as he was walking across the parking lot toward his truck, he was in mid-stride when it was as if some force spun around and pointed him in another direction. He walked over to the motel and went inside where he witnessed the same scene. There was the woman and children and a clerk was explaining that she had to have cash or a credit card.
Chad approached the woman and asked, “Ma’am, are you in trouble?” She said that she was. Chad gave her a hundred dollars, saying, “This ought to get you a room and something to eat.” As you may imagine, she was effusive in her gratitude. She explained that she had been traveling with a man who was not her husband nor was he the father of the children. He had pulled into the truck stop and told her and the children to get out. He then drove away. Chad says he wasn’t sure what the relationship between the woman and the man was.
I’m not sure how appropriate it is to retell Chad’s story here. There is the risk of sounding like he did it so that others would think what a good guy he is. But, that isn’t the case. He really is a good guy and doesn’t need me to toot his horn for him. I just think it is a touching story.
I told this story to one of my sons the other day. He related that he and his wife had gone to Walmart to buy some groceries. They had been lounging around in their sweatpants when they decided to go to the store. My son has a good job and makes decent money, but his wife is a very conservative shopper. She was pressing the checkout clerk for every sale price she could. Sometimes the clerk did not agree with her and my daughter-in-law would point out in the advertisement flyer that she was correct.
This haggling caught the attention of another shopper. My son and his wife must have looked indigent in their sweats, and more so because of the haggling over the price of things. The other shopper offered them 10 dollars. My son says that he tried several times to assure the woman that they did not need the 10 dollars but she was insistent. It was a dilemma for my son, but he finally accepted the money. I’m sure that the giver had good feelings for what she had done.
I was in Page, Ariz., years ago. There was apparently an ordinance that prohibited selling liquor before a certain hour of the morning. I was buying gas. There was a man at the convenience store who was clearly desperate to get some alcohol into his system. He seemed to almost be in agony. I thought that if I had had beer in my cooler, I would have given him a can or two. I would like to be like my brother, more willing to give and less willing to judge.