Friday, December 3, 2010

When a Stranger Cries

I like to think of myself as a good person. I hold doors for people, donate a few bucks to charity every once in a while, and buy copious amounts of girlscout cookies. I feel good about myself, and I like being able to help others. Sometimes, however, I think maybe being a good person isn't worth all the hassle.

One summer, I think two years ago now, I was coming home from my girlfriend's house very early one morning, probably around 2:00, and I notice my gas light comes on. My gf lives a good 45 mins away from my apartment, so I have no choice, I need to stop for gas.

The only 24hour station along my route home is a seedy joint, that a lot of weirdos hang out at in the early morning weekend hours. But, I'm riding high after seeing my gf, so I don't sweat it. I pull into the station, and am greatful to notice it is pretty deserted, no oddballs hanging around the payphone calling their drug dearlers, no thugs just looking for trouble, nary a soul.

I pull to the pump and start to fill it up. As I'm pumping a red pickup squeals into the parking lot, comes to a rolling stop, and out flops a woman. She's hardly out the door before the pickup takes off like a rocket back the way it came.

The woman, girl really, she couldn't have been over 21, staggers toward the payphone. Right then the pump stops, tank is full, and I walk inside to pay my bill. When I come back out the girl is now sitting on the curb of the parking lot crying her drunken eyes out. She's wearing a shorty skirt, and high heels, and I that stupid instinct in me starts nagging. The little angle on my shoulder tells me, "It is pretty dangerous for her to be here, in her state, in her clothes, at this time of night."

I walk over to the girl, and ask her if she's okay. She says she's fine. I ask if she has someone coming to pick her up, and she says to mind my own business. I shoudl have listened to her. I told her that it was dangerous for her to be all alone, in this area, at this time of night. She stops crying a bit, and seems to have lightened up. She starts telling me how her and her boyfriend had a fight at some party, that he cheated on her, blah blah blah. I ask again if she has someone coming to pick her up and she admits that she doesn't. I ask if I can call a cab for her, and she explains that her purse is still in her boyfriends truck.

I'm a nice guy, but I'm not a sucker. I realize that this could have been some sort of scam on he part to get some money out of me. However, I looked at this situation like I look at most situations of this manner: I would rather get scammed 9 times out of 10 and help that 1 person that really needs it then to not help anyone to keep from getting scammed.

I ask her where she lives, trying to figure out how much money she'd need for a cab ride home, and when she tells me her address I realize that her place is actually on my drive home. I don't have a lot of money, but I want to help this girl, so I decide to offer her a ride.

As she is considering it, the same red pickup that dropped her off comes barreling into the gas station again. Instantly I knew I was in trouble. Out jumps her boyfriend, and instead of coming at us, he walks to the back of his truck and picks up a tire iron. I grab my cell and dial 9-1-1. The boyfriend quickly walks towards me and the girl, and he's screaming like a mad man. He calls me this and that, and tells his girlfriend he's going to beat her "fat ass to death."

I try to make my way toward the station door, but the girl is holding on to my coat, trying to hide behind me. We get tangled up and both fall to the ground, and I drop my phone. I see that it is connected, so I just yell out the name of the gas station and the approximate location, saying that I need help. I hop back up to my feet, and the boyfriend is within feet of me. The girl is still on the ground. I'm trying to talk some sense into the boyfriend, telling him that I was just seeing if she was okay, and he's telling me how he's going to kill me.

The person running the gas station cashier opens the door, and yells that the cops are on their way. The boyfriend shoots the cashier a dirty look, and the cashier disapears back into the station. The girl is finally back up on her feet. She runs insde the station, and the boyfriend looks at me like it was my fault. I was sure he was going to take a swing at me, but he doesn't.

We both seem to hear the cops cars in the distance at the same time. The boyfriend looks at the girlfriend, hiding behind the counter with the station cashier, screams that she's a whore, and then walks back to his truck. He drives away like a lunatic in the opposite direction of the sirens.

The police arrive a few moments later.

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