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Several things have happened today. Some of them I am not at liberty to discuss, however they factor into the decision I made in the following story.
One of the cleaning ladies at the office came over to me, she looked at me and said in Spanish “Listen, you are a good guy right? Can I ask a favor of you”. My answer to that question is the only logical answer one can present: “I like to think that I am a good guy. And to answer your specific question, that depends on what the favor is”. She seemed offended by my response, I felt bad about her confusion and decided to clarify it for her.
“If you ask me a favor that compromises me or is not within my capabilities, then the answer is no, otherwise the answer MAY BE yes.”
At this explanation she seemed to understand I meant no offense and realized I made sense. I take it she is used to hearing “Sure, what do you need?” An answer such as “depends”, seemed alien to her. She almost seemed appalled at the notion.
In any case a few minutes later she states that she was out of work for a few weeks on disability and that she is struggling financially. At this point I know what is coming next. She soon thereafter asks me if she can borrow some money from me. I said “ohh”. I thought to myself, so you gauge whether or not I’m a good guy based on whether or not I am willing to give you money? That seems a bit unfair.
Here’s the thing about me when it comes to money. I learned sometime ago that money is a toxic poison between people. That being said I don’t “lend” anyone a damn cent. If I pass money to another person, it’s a gift, given to you and never to be spoken of again. Debt is toxic and destroys relationships. It creates a master/slave relationship that I don’t want anything to do with.
Her request made me think of many things. I wondered why she had the confidence to ask me for any money as we don’t have that type of relationship. Aside from a casual hello here and there, she never really speaks with me. In fact a few days ago she was scolding me about a mess of food left at a traders desk. I had to tell her that I didn’t leave the food there so she should really stop speaking to me as though it was me. She apologized, but I could tell she didn’t like my speaking up in my defense. I’ve kept my distance since that day.
Those things considered, I found it weird that she’d ask me for cash. I thought she is either really bold and has no shame in her game, or she’s in a really tight spot to request money from a person that is pretty much a stranger. Considering my current situation, and the number of people that can depend on me at any given point, I decided that I could not “give” her any money.
Part of me feels really bad, and I’d love to help her, but like my buddy said to me “Angel, you can’t help everyone, your primary responsibility is to your son and your wife”. He’s right and I know this, but I still feel bad for the woman.
I’m sorry that I could not help you today. Should my circumstances change and I come upon large sums of cash, I’ll remember you.
What would you have done?
Growing Up Bronx