About two weeks ago I went and hung out with Running at the gym. It was too cold to run outside, so I went to the gym, then showered and all that. I came out and got in my car and sat there a couple of seconds, basically decompressing like “okay, I’m done and I’m going to drive home.” It was about 8 pm I think. I was parked over by the drug store since the parking spots around the gym fill up on weeknights. I’ve done it before, nothing out of the ordinary. Then as I’m sitting there in my few seconds of decompression, this lady walks along the sidewalk in front of my car and motions to me. I rolled down my window and she walks closer and starts talking to me in a “will fall apart into full on crying” voice. She tells me she’s from St Bernard (the parish) and she’s trying to get to the hospital to see her mom. She thought she was at Slidell Memorial, but she’s actually at St Tammany Parish Hospital and now she’s out of gas. I told her I wasn’t going that way (it was 25 miles away) She asked me if I could help her get some gas. I told her I didn’t have a gas can with me. I wasn’t going to drive her to go get any either. So I had $3 in my wallet, and gave it to her. She thanked me and walked off. I figured if she had a fuel efficient car, that would buy her a gallon of gas and she’d be able to drive the 20 or so miles to the other hospital. Besides, the only other bill I had was a $20.
I thought about her story though on my way home and it was such garbage. Did she tell me she was from St Bernard so I’d feel sorry for her? I have family in St Bernard, they wouldn’t leave their house with no money or credit cards with little or no gas. They would confirm what hospital to go to before showing up at the wrong one. They wouldn’t stop in a parking lot a few blocks away from the wrong hospital and beg for money. I surmised though, that I only gave her $3, so if she was going to do something like go buy a bottle of Jack, she’d have to find 8 other people like me.
Fast forward to last night. I stopped at Academy Sports to get a Saints NFC Championship shirt. It was about 8 pm. I walked out to my car and was about to open the door when THE SAME LADY comes up to me and says “excuse me, I’m trying to get to St Tammany Parish Hospital…” She was even using that stupid “about to cry” voice. I cut her off and said “that’s okay, I saw you a week ago.” She looked at me, and immediately turned and walked toward the IHOP nearby. I got home and after telling someone about it right when I got home, was encouraged to call the police to see if what the lady was doing was illegal. I called the sheriff’s office, and talked to a lady there, who said it was illegal to commit fraud, which this lady was surely doing. She laughed a little when I told her how I saw the same lady and she tried to use the same story on me in the exact same way. She took down a description and said she would call the local police about it since it was more a local police issue.
I hung up the phone and ate a leftover gameday burger and drank a High Life. The entire fiasco brightened up an otherwise gloomy evening. I hope the cops found her and gave her something to really cry about. Then I realized, I should have asked for my $3 back.