There were, however, exceptions to the hands-off approach. One guy was so in my space that it made me afraid. Another practically jumped Joe at the ATM. A third was preaching the love of Jesus so aggressively that I was pretty sure his "hero" as he kept calling him would punch me in the face if I didn't declare my devotion.
And then there was the man that approached us as we were walking back to the hotel on Thursday night. He was dressed reasonably well and told us that he had been taking Greyhound buses across the country. He was on his way home to Alaska but had left his ATM card in a machine earlier that day in LA. He had a cellphone but was unable to reach his parents. However, the bank was sending him a replacement card the next day. His intent was to stay in a hostel for the night but he was $12 short. He assured us that he wasn't crazy or homeless, just that he had fallen on a bit of bad luck.
Joe felt compassion, as Joe often does. He gave the man not $12 but $13. Everybody "awwwww"...
Except, and I didn't say anything
Let's now fast-forward to Sunday morning. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will recognize Sunday as "The Day of the Bus Ride To and From Hell Via the Scenic Route With the World's Suckiest Tour Guide EVER". Look for a post on the "Eternabus" (tm @dpringle) coming soon. Anyways, Joe jetted off for the ATM while I waited (and waited and waited) for the tour bus to pick us up. During my wait, I was approached by a familiar face.
"Hi, I'm on my way back to Alaska via Greyhound but I left my ATM card in the machine yesterday in LA and I can't reach my parents. I'm supposed to receive a new card today but in the meantime I wanted to go to a hostel for some rest and a shower. Could you help? I'm $12 short. Also, I'm not crazy or homeless, I just had some bad luck."
I could've/should've just said no and walked away but
I'd like to say I felt better afterwards but that wouldn't be entirely true. Mostly because I now regretted my earlier decision to not speak up - on Thursday night when I wanted to tell Joe I thought he'd just been bamboozled. Because now I had totally bungled my opportunity to say "I told you so!" when Joe returned.
And that's the real bummer to me. Not the loss of $13 but the loss of the "I told you so." Best wife ever, right here.