Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You can pass on a choice

This morning on the train a young lady got on and sat down opposite to me.  During a phone conversation she revealed that she had come to Melbourne from Perth, was six weeks pregnant, a victim of domestic violence and had been sleeping rough at the back of a school for the past few nights.  She looked tired and unwell but there was a ring of truth to what she was saying. 

On her lap she had a notebook and whilst she was talking she was making notes of the conversation, the name of the person she was talking to and the time and she was referring back to other notes she had previously made.  She was ringing around charities and womens refuges trying to find somewhere to stay without luck so far although she had found one that would give her a bed and food for $40 per week but she would have to pay that upfront.  The person on the other end of the phone told her that they would have no funding available until Monday next week.  As she politely thanked her for listening, she hung up, got a vacant far away stare on her face and a tear rolled down her cheek.

A young girl who was getting off at the next station gave her $10 and she looked up at her bewildered and said to her "Are you sure?"

I sat there for a little while longer and thought about the $60 we'd spent on takeaway Chinese food last night and the shelves of unread books I have at home because I have the luxury of having a regular income.   And I thought that this young lady was someones daughter and whilst there may have been some spin in what she was saying, she maybe deserved a better deal for the next week at least.

So I handed her $40 and she looked at me and said again "Are you sure?"

"Yes", I said, "Use it for your first weeks accommodation and when you're back on your feet pay it forward."

She thanked me and cried again and I felt a few tears well up as well.  I hope she does get herself a feed and that she does use it for a bed and meals and not for a score.

I guess some of us are lucky to have choices.  I chose to give her the $40 which for me won't break me.  Now the choice as to how to use it is hers.


Andrew said...

Whether or not she was scamming, the real scammers spoil it for the genuine who are very down on their luck. I have heard so many scammer stories, I don't bother to even listen,which is unfortunate if by chance they are genuine.

Peter (Worldman) said...

Yes, many of us are lucky not to be confronted with problems like this. And, indeed, for the lucky ones of us, what is 40 dollars? I guess we have spent this amount many times uselessly. And so it is good to spare it and help someone in troubles. And I am sure other people have helped this lady too. Because, in this world, there are many of us with a good heart.

Finn said...

Good on you. I prefer to believe she was sincere and that you helped her get a place to stay. There's no way to know if she follows through, but I'm betting she will.

Finn said...

Good on you. I prefer to believe she was sincere and that you helped her get a place to stay. There's no way to know if she follows through, but I'm betting she will.

Terri said...

That was a very generous thing you did. We could all take a lesson from this, learning to take care of one another instead of only worrying about ourselves.

Onedia said...

In this country many are agog over the passing of law that most countries have had for many years. Your act represents the kind of behavior that would make our mandates less necessary if we acted similarly -- instead some of my fellow citizens are behaving deplorably about doing the right thing.

Good for you and I bet she remembers both you and the young woman for some time.

Nick Phillips said...

Good for you. To be honest I don't know if I would have done what you did. In the country I live in there's just too many scammers for me to tell genuine from a fake.

Jen said...

It is sad to think many of these things can be a scam... but I think in this case it sounds genuine and I'm sure being in such close proximity your reading of her body language and reactions obviously convinced you it was real.

You did the right thing.

You gave with good intent. You will be rewarded in some way for giving of yourself.

If she was scamming of course there will be a reaction to her action too.

I like the advice you gave her and hopefully she will remember that when she does get back on her feet in the future.

How is all else going in your life Laurie?


Anonymous said...

Laurie, trying to get in touch with you via email regarding my phd project, but having problems. Can you please send me an email so I have your new address. Best wishes and thanks Brook

Shari said...

I've been so fortunate in my life - not rich but employed and with a roof over my head! It's good what you did and I hope someday she is able to pay it forward!

Loz said...

Hey guys - thank you all for coming back. Life's been too busy to write. One day I'll write about the job but not here not now.

Jen - we've bought a block of land and will build a house big enough to fit all of the kids if they choose to live with us.

Brook - I don't have your email address either send me a message at and I'll send you my private email address.

Loz said...

don't even know my own gmail address try -

Dorothy Stahlnecker said...

I'm so glad I checked in to say hello and hope all is well, I've been so darn usy as is flying...thus good for you no matter what, you did what was right. and I'm wishing you a great month.

Dorothy from grammology

Michelle Zive said...

What a lovely story. So often we're stuck in our heads, worry about ourselves or our family, and take for granted our health or how blessed we are. Thank you for sharing this awesome story!