Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random Acts of Grouchiness

As I pulled into the gas station Sunday, a rusted, beat-up truck came in from the other direction. For some reason, I expected him to allow me--older, female--to go first, but he wasn't that kind of guy. After a moment of fuel-station chicken, I eased back and waved him on.

I'm not sure why he was in such a hurry, because as I got out of my car, a young woman in gray sweats exited the passenger side of the truck and approached me.

"Would you have five dollars?" she said. "I have my one-year-old son in the car and we don't have any gas."

Then why are you out driving around? Despite my uncharitable thought, I reached for my wallet, only to remember I didn't have it with me.

"Sorry," I said. "I don't have any cash."

She approached a couple of other people with similar results before returning to the truck, where Mr. Lemme-Go-First was waiting, nozzle already in hand. I'm not sure what for, since he had no money. She shook her head and he looked pissed.

I crossed the asphalt, inserted my credit card into the slot and said, without making eye contact, "Go ahead and fill it up." Then I crossed back and began filling my own car.

When his tank was full, he hopped in his truck and peeled out of there like he thought I was going to flag him down and repossess his gasoline.


People will now leave me flattering comments, saying how nice I was, but I wasn't. Not really. The truth is, I'm better at "random" than I am at "kind." I couldn't tell you why I even did that, other than I've been that broke, and I've been with that guy, and even though I know that fifty bucks worth of gas is a drop in the bucket of what that girl needs to turn her life around and prevent that little boy from growing up to be just like his douchebag dad, I figure a bellyful of gasoline in her truck means one thing she doesn't have to worry about for a couple of weeks one Ohio winter.

And that's what I can do.


  1. Wow! Jeanne, I love random acts of kindness, but this goes beyond that. I'm going to remember this!

  2. That was nice of you, but the dickhead didn't deserve it.

  3. I don't even know what to say to that, I mean, it was awesome of you but that guy? I don't get it.

    Just for fun sometime, though, when you're in the drive through at Starbucks, spend four bucks and pay for the person behind you. I've done that a few times and it always brightens my day. Of course, you'll want to make sure it's not a car with about eight passengers, but you get the idea.

  4. Your action was even more generous because you didn't get a warm-and-fuzzy feeling from it. And maybe it will cause that young woman to think about things in a new light.

  5. Asswipe- oh, is that the response we should see?

    I hate to say it, but I dated a few guys like that in my very young twenties, and thank god I got embarrassed enough to lose them along the kids with'em either!

    He got in front of you so fast, because he knew if he waited for others, maybe other males, well he might not get any...period. Not that you want to feel worse, but I am sure he does it all the time, and makes her do the talking for a reason.

    Asswipe- all of them, Asswipes.

  6. I think what you did is more awesome because you did it in spite of the person this guy was. When we give to nice people we get a thank you and even a pat on the back. Giving to people like this with nothing in return is a true act of kindness. Bless you for your kindness.

  7. You are a better person than me. So this is a random act of grouchyness..I can't wait to see what you do for kindness:)

  8. I did the same thing last year at a rest stop. The "dad" said he needed money to fix the solenoid in his car so he could get his family home. His skinny methhead wife and dirty little daughter made me hate him....but I gave him 20 bucks. All we did was allow them to get high again. I felt better until I saw that you did the very same thing. Color me cynical.

  9. So you think that guy was really the kid's dad? You are much kinder than I am!

  10. I can't believe he could be so ungrateful. Really. I just don't get it. I feel bad about abusing friends' generosity if I even have to borrow a few pence (like when coffee prices suddenly go up and I've already counted out the exact right amount of change... one day I'll learn to stop being so precise...)

  11. I have a rule now where whenever anyone ask for money, and there are many ways and tricks they do it, I just give. 5 dollars, 50 cents, whatever I have, I just give and not think about it. To me, they ask, they must have a reason and need. So I give without wondering the justification.

    She is grateful to you more than you know.

  12. Wow, just wow. And I hope they pay it forward. I know you dont want nice comments but what you did was damn decent, really! I understand it nothing to do with him and everything to do with them. You did a great thing.


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