Tuesday, July 29, 2008

To help or not to help

Was rushing to meet my girlfriend for lunch near my place today. A very old man with clutch stopped me along the road, asking me in Mandarin if i could help him.

Initially, I thought he said he needed help to get over the overhead bridge to catch a bus so I obliged. However when I was going to help him, he said that he needed to know how he could get to NUS hospital. He didnt know what bus to take. So then, he launch his "pitiful" story on me about his road accident resulting in the loss of one leg and he now have to go to NUS hospital for therapy sessions.

He claimed that he couldnt take MRT because the staff at MRT declined due to his injuries. very suspicious. I have never heard of public transport declining an physically challenged person. His story progressed with his bitching about the govenment not helping the poor, the welfare group inability to help him as he has money in the bank. Honestly, the more he talked, the more suspicious I was of him. So he claimed he needed money to get to the hospital and said he needed exactly $28.20 for the journey.

I didnt want to give him the money. So I told him that I will hail a cab for him and pay for the cab instead. He tried to refuse the cab because he said he need to "breathe" and was very tiring. I knew then he was a trickster, trying to cheat money. So I refuse to give me the requested amount. Instead, I just gave him $5 as "charity" and I left. If he decide to cheat more people with all this ill gotten money, I am sure he will suffer retribution. As for me $5 is nothing. I always believe in karma.

Just as I got along and went to the bus stop, leaving the suspicious old man behind. Hold and behold, another injured old man straight ahead. I was thinking to myself, why are all these injured people popping before me today? However, this case was truly genuine. I didnt have time to accompany the person on cab so I got a cab to send the person to the nearest hospital/clinic instead. I was truly late for my appointment if I got held back any further.

I sms my friend thatI will be delayed a little. She teased me for being such a good samaritan. I didnt think I was doing anything that a human being wont do. If it had been my parent in the same situation, I would have hoped some stranger would lent a help as well. It really wasnt a big deal.

However, what did cross my mind that old people shouldnt try to act pitiful and cheat people of money. Their selfish actions would only result in public being distrustful and stop lending aid to people who genuinely needed help. I guess being helpful is one thing, being "smart" in not being exploited of your good will is another.

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