I was recently approached by a young man in a Wal-Mart parking lot asking for a few bucks. He had a story (doesn’t everyone?). He and some friends were traveling and were a couple hours from home when their alternator went out. They repaired the alternator, but then didn’t have enough money for gas to get home.
A hundred thoughts went through my mind in a split second. Do you have a credit card – can you charge it? Can you call a friend or family member?
Then more thoughts went through my mind. How do I know he is telling the truth? Is he just scamming me and planning to use my money for drugs or alcohol? I could offer to buy them gas instead of giving them cash. I could ask them to show me a receipt for their alternator, or just ask them how much it cost. If they hesitated when they answered, I would know they were lying.
But then I realized I was looking for reasons not to give, instead of reasons to give. And I’m not sure that is the right way to go through life. I gave him $5 and wished him well. $5 won’t buy much gas, but they had a fuel efficient car, and it might have been enough to get them half way home. Or it might have been enough to buy half a hit of whatever his drug of choice might be, if in fact that was his goal. I don’t know, and it’s not my place to judge. But I do know that my wife and I have been blessed and we can and should give to others.
Giving cash to strangers is a tough decision because you never know what they are going to do with it. You can’t research an individual like you can research a charity, making it much more difficult to avoid being scammed (more on avoiding charity scams, and a note on charity fraud from the FTC).
But you don’t always need to know everything. Sometimes you just need to give with a pure heart and leave it at that.
On a similar note, I want to introduce you to a new website that has the goal to help people through monetary gifts. The idea is to help people through very small cash gifts.
Love Drop – a new way to make an impact.
If you like micro-lending, the process of many people giving small loans to help entrepreneurs and others achieve their dreams, then Love Drop might be right up your alley. Love Drop is micro-lending with a twist – it is micro-giving. The idea is to give small amounts of money to help make a financial impact in someone’s life. Love Drop is brought to you by the founders of ItStartsWith.Us, Love Bomb, and Budgets Are Sexy. The project is just getting started, but look for it to make a big impact on people’s lives in the near future. You can learn more at LoveDrop.org.
Love Drop is out to make the world a better place. Give with a pure heart, and change someone’s life.