Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What Would You Do?

Here's  story that happened to us the other day that I wanted to tell because I'm really curious how you all would have handled this situation.

So we were exhausted after driving our second day of the five day driving trip. We had just checked into a hotel there in Illinois, in a small city in the middle of nowhere, way off from the freeway.

Just as we were parking the car and now empty trailer (having just unloaded all the stuff for my daughter and her husband) and were gathering our things to go collapse in our room, we were approached by a young family.. husband, wife and three little kids.

"Excuse me" they said. "We have a question."

Instantly we felt weird and wanted to run away.

"We just fixed our transmission in our van and have no money. We don't want money from you, but wondered if you could buy us a room. For the kids. We have no place to say the night."

Our response... "um."

"It's for the kids. We don't want any money. Just, if you could please help us with a room."

P.S. We just bought the last room at this particular hotel... and not a budget one either. A fairly nice Hilton run one actually.


"Please, we are from Sacramento and we are just passing through. Please help us."

We pretty much just stared at them. Because, what can you even say? Finally, my husband said. "Let us talk about it."

So they retreated a ways and waited while we said things to each other like... "we can't buy them a room here... it's full, it's expensive. We have no cash. If we bought them a room, we'd have to go WITH them somewhere. Everything is probably full. We got the last room! I'm not going to search for a room NOW. IT's late! I'm tired! Do you think they are for real? Just passing through HERE? Who passes through HERE? Can we tell them we have no money? Cause we don't. But here we are at a nice hotel! Um. What should we do? Do we have ANY cash at all?  We can't buy them something on our card, we'd be liable. No way!"

Finally, I dug through my purse and found a ten dollar bill, truly the last of my cash. They wandered back over to us. We gave it to them and said, sorry, that's all we could do. We suggested finding some other help to go toward a room. And that perhaps there was a $50 room still available. Somewhere.

They thanked us and god blessed us and went on their way.

We felt both ripped off, charitable, relived, used and mad all at the same time.

Sheesh. I felt like there was NOTHING we could do in this situation to feel okay about the outcome!  And I mean, perhaps they were for real, you know? And in that case... .

What would you have done?


  1. That was a no win situation. They could have found a church or Salvation Army to help them.

  2. I would have looked up the number for the transient Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the area. The church offers help to members and non/members alike.

  3. After working at a hotel for five plus years I can tell you this, don't feel bad. They didn't need help. They probably knew the hotel was full and that you wouldn't want to get them a room but that you'd give them cash. It's just another way to get cash.
    That being said, I really hate that you can never truly know anymore if your helping someone or just giving them a handout. All the fakers are ruining it for the people who really need help. All you can do is go with your gut. Sorry. I hate that.

  4. I would've given them cash, like you did, but only if Corey were with me. I wouldn't do it on own. And, I wouldn't do it with my card because of the whole liable thing. I've decide that if they need help, then I'm glad I could help. If they don't need help, then shame on them and in a religious sense, they'll be judged for it not me.

  5. Definitely an awkward situation because you cannot trust anyone nowadays... It is just the world we live in.

  6. I'm not sure what I would have done. I probably would have said sorry and sent them away. I hate situations like this!

  7. That's a really hard decision! I think y'all did the best thing for the circumstances though. Like Jenny said, it's awful that we can't tell who really needs help nowadays and who's just looking for a handout.

  8. I think y'all did the right thing. When kids are involved it is hard to tell who is lying and who isn't and not make the kids deal with the situation their parents have put them in. There are always churches and outreach centers that can help and you gave them money to buy a loaf of bread and some PB & J and make a few phone calls that could get them help. You did what was right. My father in law gives cash to people in need and he says "you can't wonder where it goes but hope it helps". It always helps me to remember that.

  9. I had a woman with kids approach me at the grocery story. She wanted my groceries! Okay, not all of them but I bought two milks, couldn't she have one of them? I felt weird and put on the spot. Sure I like to help but we were in town, there were churches all over within walking distance. I was able to say no but the guilt followed me for days.

    I simple "I'm sorry, I'm not able to help you today" SHOULD do the trick.

    A friend was also approached at a grocery story (different one). She also said no. Then noticing she forgot something she went back in the store. When she came out she saw the woman getting into an expensive car.



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