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Can I Trust In America??

Updated on February 6, 2014

Trust In America

I Wish I Could Trust People Enough To Help Them

I really hate the way America has changed. It is really terrible that you can’t trust people enough to help them out. Especially this time of the year when I really want to help.

As I was driving to the store tonight in the pouring rain, I saw a couple walking down the street. This part of the street has no sidewalks, and at this particular point, a very narrow shoulder. Because of the pouring rain, the ditches were filled with water. This couple had coats on and hats pulled up tight. I figured if they were out in this weather, they were not just taking a casual walk. I wanted to stop and ask them if they needed a ride. It would only have taken a second, and they were probably going in the same direction I was. But I didn’t stop. With their coats on and hats pulled up tight, I couldn’t tell if the couple was male or female, young or old. I couldn’t tell anything about them. They could have been an older couple needing a ride to the grocery store. Then again, they could have young punks waiting to rob someone, or worse. I hate not being able to trust people enough to help them out.

When I got closer to the store, I saw a man with an umbrella and a handmade sign. “Homeless vet. Need money for food. Laid off.” I wanted to stop. I wanted to help. But I didn’t. I didn’t know if he really was a homeless vet. I didn’t know if he would use any money I would give him for food. Or would he use it for drugs or alcohol? I couldn’t tell. I hate not being able to trust people enough to help them.

I remember growing up, my parents would help anyone that needed it. They didn’t worry if someone was going to hurt them or scam them. They just stopped and helped. My dad was always giving rides to hitchhikers. My mom was always stopping to help someone who was broke down beside the road. If they were out of gas, she would put them in the car and take them to the nearest gas station. They were able to trust people enough to help them.

As I drove into the parking lot, I thought about what my parents would have done if they had seen the couple walking in the rain. I thought about what they would have done if they saw the man with the sign. I knew what they would have done.

I turned around in the parking lot and drove back down the road. The couple was still trying to brave the rain. There was at least a sidewalk now, but they were still getting soaked. I pulled up beside them and asked them if they needed a ride. As they pulled back their hoods, I could tell that they were indeed an older couple. I was still a little wary.

“We didn’t think anyone was gonna stop,” the man said. “Thank you so much!” the woman said. I asked them where they were going, and they told me that they were going to the same store I was headed to. As I drove back into the parking lot, I saw the man with the sign. I pulled up to him and stopped. I handed him the few dollar bills I had in my purse and said “God Bless,” and drove on.

I dropped the couple off at the store, and went and did my shopping. When I was done, I searched for the couple, so that I could give them a ride back to their home. I didn’t want them walking in the rain again. I searched all over the store and couldn’t find them. Sadly, I drove home, driving past the man with the sign. I looked for the couple along the road, but again didn’t see them.

I went on home and thought about the evening. I hoped that I made my parents proud. I trusted people enough to help them…


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    • johndvan profile image

      johndvan 6 years ago

      Sharing your writing is another kind of trust. Thank-you for both the story and the trust.

      I feel the same tensions. it's easy to delude ourselves that safety can come from isolating ourselves inside a safe cocoon - my buddy in San Francisco drives his wife and son around town in a huge Hummer. I can remember him saying he would drive around in a tank if they were available.

      It feels good to get out of our tanks. Safety comes from building community, sharing and supporting each other.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 6 years ago from California

      I could feel your struggle in this write. I know that it is difficult to know if you are safe when extending help to someone--and yet, if it comes to our turn to ask for help, I would hope that someone would extend it--so I usually just help out--if they choose to use the money that I give them for drugs or alcohol, I suppose that it their choice--and maybe, if I were in their shoes, I would make the same choice--I just don't know--thank you for sharing this!

    • claptona profile image

      John D Wilson 6 years ago from Earth

      Hi Justteacher,

      Pretty amazing in the "land of the free' we do not do things out of fear.

      What's the cause? I'm sure many things.

      I've been traveling Central America for over 16 months, and it is rather unusual to have a vehicle here. So, those that have one, usually help those that do not.

      Unless you are a foreigner - then you do not because of the likely lawsuits that can be filed, and the trouble one can get into with the locals.

      Weird world - when the act of kindness makes one open to so many dangers - bodily harm and legal.

      Good that you overcame both to help out someone in need.


    • Dakota-brown profile image

      Dakota-brown 6 years ago from Chattanooga

      An absolute dilemma. A battle between heart and mind.

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      It such a shame the we as a society have come to this. I too, am guilty of driving past such folks. I have walked right past those with thier hands out. I have also given money, but only when I feel that they may be legit as to if they are not just trying to scam. But Jeff May claims a very good point.

      Justateacher, I am very sure your parents would be very proud of you...when you get that feeling of doing something right, it is irreplacable.

      Thanks for sharing,


    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 6 years ago from St. Louis

      Inspiring. I have taken to giving money to those who may or may not be homeless with the logic that even if they were scamming it, they obviously needed the dollar or two more than I did. As far as givng someone a ride, wow, I'm impressed. Jeff.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      A story made even more beautiful by your honesty. Every one lives their lives according to their own frame of reference. If past experience is the reference and those experiences are negative then that is how we colour our present. The future is created by how we feel in the present so as long as we keep the present stuck in the past the future remains the same. Thank you.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Kim - Yes - I know I was lucky in this instance - again, it's not something I normally do, but it felt right...

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      I was driving home late a few weeks ago on an isolated street. There was a van broken down with flashers on. I was afraid to stop - thinking that it might be a set up to victimize whoever stops to help. It just felt odd to me. I kept going but I called 911 - in case someone needed help and/or in case it was a set up. I'm glad you're ok and your situation turned out ok. I wouldn't have stopped or felt guilty about it. There are too many people today who are actively addicted and dangerous. Your parents lived in a different day. Everyday there is another article about a young woman gone missing. I wish it were different, but it's not. It's sad really, and you captured that loss of trust nicely. Thanks, justateacher.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Thank you both for your kind comments. I don't usually do this, but it felt right tonight. It could have turned out much differently, but thankfully it turned out fine.

    • Jackwms profile image

      Jackwms 6 years ago

      Good for you.I think you can make an educated judgment in most situations and act accordingly. If you are a single female driving alone, you are at great risk, so be very, very careful. I have helped people like this a few times, but have balked at others. When I didn't help, I sometimes felt guilty. Follow your instincts.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      That was beautifully written. I could feel your struggle. Sadly, it is taking a risk to help people, and I probably would have gone on, especially with the people walking. I am so wary of people because I hear so many stories about things that happen. Bless you, though, for doing that. You made your parents proud. And yourself, I suspect. And you made a difference in three lives, at least. Maybe they paid it forward!

      Great hub. Voted up and everything else except funny. You told of your experiences well.