This morning, I had a momentary burst of charity and kindness. Or a brain cramp. Not sure which.
I was on my way to work, when I saw a petite woman standing along side of an older Volvo wagon, holding a gas can. It was a typical winter Seattle morning - gray, raining, cold. Before I knew it, I had pulled over and let her in the car.
"Thanks, she said. Wasn't looking forward to the walk. What a bad day to run out of gas."
I pulled back into traffic, ready to drop her about 1/2 a mile away. She started talking again and my "uh oh" meter started to go off.
"I hate that I keep running out of gas (uh oh). I've got this interview for a job today. Pays $15 an hour. I need that job (uh oh). I didn't finish school. Kinda stupid, I know (uh oh). God, I hope I have money for gas (uh oh)."
At this point she's digging change out of her pockets. I am in the rental car, so fortunately the normal $10 worth of change we have laying around is not there. I eye my purse in the space between us. "Sorry, can't help you there (uh oh. Mentally calculating how much cash I have and will lose, when she rolls me. Wondering if she's armed. Wondering what do I have in the car that I can use as a weapon. Whether or not I can take her in a fist fight, if she's not armed. I've got at least 4 inches on her, but she looks solid and I just lost weight. I'm wearing heels and a suit. Last fight I was in was more than 20 years ago in high school.)."
We arrive at the gas station and she jumps out. "Can you wait for me, for just a minute? (uh oh)" Petitions a few people for change. Goes into the store. I momentarily have this thought of throwing the car in gear and bolting. But I don't. She pumps gas into her gas can. Comes back to the car.
We drove in near silence to her car. "Gas station attendant put an extra $1.00 on the machine. I hate to keep running out of gas (uh oh, only two more blocks to go)."
I arrive back at her car. She thanks me. I drive off, quickly as I can. Realizing that when I'm the only parent on this continent, that was a risk I probably shouldn't have taken.
Or maybe it wasn't really a risk at all.
How many karma points does that buy me? Would it have bought me more without all the "uh oh's"?
If you run out of gas, I apologize in advance for not stopping. I'm still questioning my choice.