Last night I had to stop to get gas. As I was pulling into the bay, I saw what appeared to be an old homeless guy moving between the pumps asking for money.

I hesitated to get out of my car. I had a ten in my pocket which I didn’t want to give up because it was my lunch money. But that wasn’t the big deal. I really just don’t like talking to strange people in strange situations. It makes me uneasy. I feel like I don’t know what might happen next – it’s the same feeling I get around dangerous bugs or animals. I just don’t know what they’re going to do.

I figured if he came up to me, I’d tell him I only had the card, which was of course a lie.

I was relieved when it seemed like he was moving in the direction away from my pump.

But then while I was standing there, pumping my gas, I thought that I should give him my ten. Or maybe I’d keep my ten and offer to buy something inside the minimart. But I still was nervous about talking to him.

But I was ashamed of myself. I feel bad about not wanting to talk to him, or to give him money. I always feel awful after the fact when I had a chance to give alms and didn’t, especially if I lie about it – the lie compounds the “sin” grievously.

As the tank filled, I started looking around to see if I could find him – maybe he was coming over, or maybe I could find him. But he was gone.

Sometimes I disappoint myself.

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