Walking home today from the hospital (MGH in boston) for my 5 year checkup / physical and had a weird experience.
So on my way back home, I notice a road in between buildings that is a more direct route back to my apt, so I start aimlessly walking down there for a good 50-100 feet before I hear behind me a few times, "excuse me, sir! Sir, excuse me!"....so, since nobody was really around, I stop and turned to see what was up and sure enough, some normal looking guy, about 5'10, in a blazer with glasses approaches me and says something along these lines:
hey man, real quick, thanks for stopping - a bit out of the ordinary, i got a flat tire back down the street and just picked up my sick kid who's in the car so I need to go get a Fix-o-flat over on Charles street...i can give you my license as collateral, but do you mind lending me $13.95 for the Fix-a-flat and i can get you back? ....real embarrassing to have to ask but would appreciate the help...
to which i responded confusingly, "oh charles street is right down there..." to which his response was "oh, i dont have my wallet on me"...and then the nail in the coffin: "I'm not a beggar" - why would he say that??
So basically, having played a lot of poker in my day, i was #1 shocked at how elaborate his story.. was #2 suspicious about how and where he approached me #3 how his eyes would dart around and #4 how hard he swallowed when i asked a simple follow up question and #5 how upon closer inspection his blazer looked worn, his teeth had an insane amount of tarter on them and ... well that's when it just got weird.
Now i'd normally have no problem helping someone out and even offering $20 to whatever if someone was in a real jam, but because of the reasons above, this was clearly a bunch of bullshit lines and I was 99.99999% sure he was just lying and did this on a regular basis to rip people off. What kept me off balance was that it was actually very well executed with only a few verbal flaws...but the body language was screaming lie.
So I said something that in retrospect probably wasn't the best idea: "sorry, i play a lot of poker, I just dont buy it"...i thought that would be that, but instead of just giving up, he went fairly ape shit calling me everything you can think of...which just further confirmed my decision. Nobody acts like you killed their mother if you don't lend them a few $ as a complete stranger - i think what really pissed him off is that I had called him out on his bullshit...
So as I was walking away he followed me and kept screaming random shit like "you f-cking sh-t - you're calling me a liar?! that is so degrading?!!!" to which i responded as i kept walking, "relax man, i don't even know you"...
After I was a safe distance away, i had a weird mix of feelings. Maybe I could / should have played it differently to actually help the guy out. Sure, he didn't have a flat tire, or a sick kid in his car, but he probably could have used the cash. That being said, was interesting to see how you react in these types of situations and how confronting someone face to face can be very uncomfortable. I've personally always hated pathological liars, whether they are "friends" or conmen on the street.
Personally, my stubborn rational side wouldn't let me give $ to someone that was clearly very street smart and knew how to hustle. How can this guy not be hired in sales somewhere? My guess...drugs. What do you think you guys would have done? Do you give to homeless / beggars regularly?