Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mrs Chako Almost Gets Rolled

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.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife


BamBam said...

This is going to sound really "out-there" but, Karma made you do something special and it will pay you back.
Picking up someone that appears in distress is never easy. Trust me, I know. As a commuter, I've had to make the decision several times. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
I'm proud of you for doing something so noble, but I worry like hell that you'll do it again.

Despite the fact that we get along, you're a pretty good judge of character. Instinct always rules. Had you been in serious trouble during the situation, my guess is you would've bolted at the pumps.

For the record, it wouldn't have mattered much if The Doc was on the right side of the planet or not when you were out there alone.
But it can be said that your state of mind because he's not, might have had some effect on your take of the situation as it occurred.

The Marquis said...

"But he has an Axe!?!?!"

"And Bud Light."

Yeah, parenting changes a lot of things. In the past my wife and I have driven strangers to the nearest train station. Now though, with a kid, it's different.

I'll give money to the homeless, I'll pull my car over in a bad snow storm and give someone walking my umbrella, I'll do a lot of things. I'd stop to help a stranded motorist if I knew a thing about cars (I'll help push a stalled car). In this day and age when everyone has a cell phone, help is usually not too far away.

I'll do a lot of things, but I'm not letting anyone get me in a confined space where my size has little to no advantage.

I tend to be a good judge of character, but it just takes being wrong once.

And like BamBam said, it's great that you reacted to a fellow human being in their time of need. It's a selfless act and evidence that humanity is still on the right course. But I worry as well that it's something you would do again.

Glad it worked out for you.

DrChako said...

It worked out well... this time. It certainly sounds like a scam except for the fact that she actually put gas in the can. I wouldn't be surprised to find her in a similar location tomorrow, gas can in hand.

Please don't pick up anymore strangers until I get home, m'kay?

-The Husband

Betty said...

She has promised to never do this again. I am small but can lift my own body weight, wear 4" heels and will kick her behind!

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

Some are saying that your Karma was paid already in Vegas when you met The Rooster...cough!cough! Did I just say that? Yes, yes, yes I did.

Drizztdj said...

Please never do this again.

Falstaff said...

think of her having to walk to the gas station in the butt-cold as a stupid tax, and if she "keeps running out of gas" maybe she'll eventually get tired enough of walking in the ridiculous climate you live in to buy a clue and stop running out of gas!

Don't make me move north to babysit you. Hillbillies do not deal well in places that have actual winter.