1. Giving Money to the Man
We got into the car and sat for a few minutes, trying to decide where to eat. At times like this when we're delayed by late afternoon errands, making this decision is hard. So we sat there -- Ben, Trudy and I -- trying to decide.
As we deliberated, a guy walked up. He was missing his front two teeth and was a little rumpled looking.
Excuse me, he said, trying to get our attention thru the mostly rolled up window. I rolled the window down.
The man explained how he had busted his fan belt and was $4.16 short. His car was at Pep Boys around the corner at the other end of the shopping center. He asked if we could help him out.
This isn't something I usually fall for, but he spoke clearly, his story was had a genuine sound to it, and I knew that I had a five dollar bill in my wallet. So I pulled it out and gave it to him.
Thank you, he said, but the bill slipped from his fingers and blew under the car.
Shoot! he said (although it wasn't spelled like that).
The man bent over and grabbed the bill, and without saying anything else or looking back at us he walked off in the direction of Pep Boys.
2. Back of the Bus
Now it just so happened that we were headed in the same direction. We pulled out of the parking lot and merged with the traffic coming around the corner. There, within site of Pep Boys, we pulled up to a red light.
Can you see the guy? I asked. If he was going to Pep Boys to get his car, he should have been visible about then.
Sure enough, we saw him walking across the parking lot. But he was cutting diagonally across the lot, not walking toward Pep Boys.
Just then, a bus pulled up at the bus stop that was right next to us at the light. It pulled up, some people got off the bus, others got on, and the man started running.
He ran across the lot, got onto the bus, walked to the back and sat down next to the window.
And here's the thing of it, I could swear that as he sat down he looked out the window and saw us sitting next to him in the traffic. He glanced over briefly, saw our car, and quickly turned and looked the other way.
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