Monday, August 30, 2010

Sir..Excuse me but...


I found it in the parking lot of our local Lowe's Home Center here in Beaumont. Wasn't even sure when I pulled up to the parking space that was about as in between the entrance and the exit as humanly possible, that I was gonna run smack dab, squared up, and eyeball to eyeball with justice, but I did.

Think back to the last time you were confronted with the guy at the intersection of Have and Have Not. You know who I'm talking about, the man with the sign informing you of his situation, only needing $20 to get back home, or his water pump is busted, or will work for food which usually gets him cash instead of food.

Most of us keep cash or change in our truck consoles or the ash tray, but never is there a spare hamburger or chicken basket in the passenger seat when you really need one.

Back in June of this year, I stopped on the way home from work to buy a replacement ice cream freezer. Upon exiting the store and finding my truck, I was confronted by an individual with these words..

"Sir...excuse me but could you help me?"

The man didn't mind getting up and into my personal space with his request which was short and to the point.

Seems he had car trouble. The water pump had gone out and it was gonna take $75 to get a replacement. He had his wife and their 12 year old son with him and were from out of town.

No kidding, out of town. Actually he said they were from a little town northwest of Houston called Tomball, Texas.

Beaumont is 88 miles east of Houston. The story was a good one but there was that doubt creeping in.

Being the good guy that I am, I dug into my front pocket and gave him all my change that I had. Nothing but coins which probably totaled up to about $3 or $4 dollars.

On my trip home, I kept thinking about his plight and wondered if I had done enough.

Don't you hate it when your conscience kicks in and makes you feel like you know you could of and should of done more. I almost turned around to go back and give him some of my hard earned folding money, but I didn't.

Fast forward to today. Lowe's Home Center parking lot. Me and my son are making a few runs across town, picking up stuff we need. Dog food and dog bones from the pet store. Checked out a couple of items at Academy, then over to Lowe's for the wife's light bulbs she needs for her bathroom.

Pulling up to the chosen parking space, I notice a thin and aggravated looking woman leaning up against the metal catch pen for Lowe's shopping carts.

Man, did she look out of place. We no sooner got out of our truck, than this guy walks right up to us and says...

"Sir..excuse me, we're from out of town...that's my wife who is 5 months pregnant over there and we need some help getting back home. We live in Tomball...a little town northwest of Houston and our car is broken down...."

Hold it right there mister...that's the same story you told me a couple of months ago across town at the other hardware store. Where's your son today?

Me? I don't have a son. We're from Tomball...

Stop the lies buddy. You came up to me 2 months ago with the same story, only your water pump was busted and you needed $75 to get a new one.

Me? No sir, that had to be someone else. I swear to God it wasn't me....

You swear to God...? I don't think so pal. Do you need some help getting out of my way right now and finding your car to head back to Tomball which is northwest of Houston??

Instant justification. The look on his face said it all and put it right back on him in about as quick a time as it takes to answer the question...

Hi, how are you?

Fine, and you?

In a nutshell. I had scored a direct hit. He began to backtrack and gather himself and his 5 month pregnant wife.
Do you remember me saying how 'thin' she looked leaning against the cart storage pen, texting away on her blue berry wireless thingy?

When we exited the store, we made a quick scan to see if they were still around but didn't see any gathering of folks anywhere around.

Score one for the good guys today.

I found justification and loved it. Sure made up for it being a rainy day Monday as we drove away with his words echoing in my head...

I swear to God, it wasn't me.....swear to God.


  1. Jake, my friend, that was refreshing. Too often we read the same milk toast garbage about guilt and need and blessings and humanity and blah ad nauseum. Christ Jesus never said to feed the deceptive. In fact, he kicked their tails out of the Temple. Well done, sir. Justice is as justice does. No ill will toward the guy and his accomplice, certainly, but they are gathering a storm of deceite around themselves that will be costly when it finally rages beyond their control. You done good, bud.


  2. When I was about 20 yrs old I was gassing up my truck using a credit card. I was flat broke till payday. A woman told me she had not eaten in two days and wanted some money for food. I told her I was broke, but I did go back in the store and got her sandwiches, chips, drinks, etc. and put it on my card. As I was pulling away I saw her stuff all the food into the garbage can and go back to panhandle the next customer. Sad, but true.

  3. Yes brother, you and I have that same gnawing guilt of feeling bad when we don't do all that we might think we should have done. Been there, done that.
    There are those truly in need, but there are the counterfeits and they so often ruin things for the true needy.
    And those stories they can come up with.....