He is not coming at us. He's walking this way, but it's only my imagination that he's about to approach the car. He's gonna walk around the car and be on his way.
I pretended that I didn't see him and made a quick effort to lock all the doors. And, just like in the movies, I fumbled with this task. I didn't need to say anything to my wife, as she slid the sliding door shut before KK even had her seatbelt on, and slammed her door.
Rap. Rap. Rap. Was the sound of knuckle on glass. A queesy feeling rushed through me. Yes, I am a whimp. I live a sheltered life in a small town. People like this don't just approach you in a small town, at least not normally.
I rolled the window about a third of the way down. "Can I help you," I said, making good eye contact with him, thinking that perhaps I had mis-stereotyped him at first. He was a middle-aged man with rosy red cheeks. Of course, it was freezing out. I didn't smell alchohol.
"Can you spare a dollar," he said.
Now I have no problem giving a man a dollar, but I had no idea where one might be. My wallet could be in the glove compartment, or it could be in my backpack, or maybe even in my wifes purse for all I knew. I certainly didn't want to prolong his visit at my window while I spent the time to look.
"No. I don't have any money." There, that should get rid of him. Right? He'll just do the honorable thing and walk away.
He didn't. "Well, the other thing, and this is probably more important." My wife started the car. "Would it be possible to get a ride?"
If it were just me, I still wouldn't have given him a ride. But, considering I had a car full of people, two of them being children nine and four, there was no way I was going to even consider giving him a ride.
"I have no room I said." So please go away.
"Okay," he said, "Thanks for your time."
He walked away and my wife drove off.
"I have a dollar right here," my wife said, grabbing a buck from between the seats. "I would have given it to him."
I had no idea it was there. "I was just afraid of what else he would want."
"I've heard stories of people like that pulling out a gun and blowing up everyone in the car."
"The idea certainly crossed my mind."
"I was told in school," my son chimed in from the back, "that people who do that are usually reporters undercover."
I laughed. My wife didn't. She said, "I doubt that."
"I don't," I said, for no other reason than to build my son's ego.
My wife said, "He was probably just a regular homeless guy in search of something." She paused before adding, "The funny thing is, there was a help wanted sign on the McDonald's window."
"Good point," I said.
"Then again, if he got a dollar from half the people who stop at that McDonalds, he'd make a good days wage."
With that the man was forgotten, until this writing.
So, does not helping this man out make my wife and I incensitive? Did we set a bad example for our son by not at least giving him a buck?