Wednesday 8 July 2009

To give or not.

I returned today from taking an old grand piano yesterday to a club in Carlisle. To clarify, for those abroad, that is from the south coast near Portsmouth all the way up north to 5 miles from the Scottish border.

On my return journey, I drove then slept, then drove then slept through the night. I woke again at 8am in a service station car park, to see a forty or fifty year old woman tapping on the windows of various truck drivers. At first I thought she looked like a nun. Then she approached me.

She was after money. I was eyeing her very closely and was pretty firm with her. She persisted.
The widow technique! So still unable to work out whether it was a scam I asked her to take me to the rest of her family.

The story was this. They were Romanian and were wanting to return to Europe via Dover, and they had completely run out of money. Their was no petrol in their car, which they were at pains to "prove" to me by showing me the dial. (They could have rigged the gauge).

The father of the family returned. He had been round the services staff, and public who were in the services complex. He flashed his credit card, saying that it had been blocked.

I looked right into the eyes of each family member, still unable to know for sure. Was this a "service station "scam routinely carried out up and down the motorways? What if they were genuine and they really did have no recourse to anything in England? or again were they just Romanian gypsies after a buck?

Well, for good or for bad I withdrew £50 and handed it over. The father said he wanted to return the money and asked for my address? I gave the address but no name. So if he is good to his word it must be cash.
Anyhow I spoke to a manager in the service station, just in case it was a scam, so he would know his car park was being tapped for funds that would ordinarily be spent on them.
Since being scammed in my twenties ,during a Quilmes Creations sales run for Bible House, I don't think I've ever given anything sizeable to anyone I didn't know, or could be vouched for by other intermediaries.

He who gives to the poor, lends to the Lord. But He doesn't encourage us to behave like idiots. There are plenty of really good things to give to.

What do you guys think?


Jamie said...

Give & give is not ours to question how the other person receives...just give. That is grace.

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

Do you really do it though? When you go into cities and towns and pass people asking for this and that. What tips have you learned?

Many of our network churches, say in Brighton and Derby,have arranged a voucher system with local outlets, so money given goes on food and not just the next bout of drunkenness for example.