Is my mum being unreasonable to think that I took a risk?

(51 Posts)
SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 00:45:42

Be warned that this is a strange story.

About a year ago I was approached by a weeping woman outside a Superdrug store requesting me help her pay for a medicine she desperately needed. I was obviously wary at first because I didn't know what her agenda was and so I refused. When I walked out half an hour later I saw her standing outside the store and sobbing. I felt awful and she seemed rather genuine to me so I bought the medicine for her. It only cost me £3 as she had enough to pay the other half.

She never went out of my mind and I have always wondered why she was in such a horrible situation. sad sad

Strangely enough, I saw the same woman while walking home a couple of days back. I recognised her but she didn't recognise me (probably because she was so distressed when we had met). I asked her how she was now and if everything was OK. She said her daughter was very sick but she couldn't remember our meeting in Superdrug. I have no idea what compelled me to do this but much to her complete surprise, I gave her 10 quid for her daughter.

She was tearful and seemed genuinely shocked. Now here comes the part that made my mum think that this woman is an ex-con hmm. The woman asked me if I lived nearby and what I did for a living. I didn't answer her questions directly just wished her luck and left. I also made sure I wasn't being followed when I went home.

My mum is rather paranoid and she thinks that this woman will now hang around that area and wait for more handouts or maybe follow me home and harass me. She even alluded that this woman might try to rob me confused

I understand that perhaps it is best to stay away from people one doesn't know well but surely my mum is being a bit too paranoid by worrying so much?

whethergirl Fri 27-Sep-13 00:50:05

Your mum sounds like my mum. Paranoid and dramatic. grin

I think you did a nice thing and there is nothing to worry about for the moment, is there?

AgentZigzag Fri 27-Sep-13 00:51:32

If the woman had approached you and given you a sob story there could have been something in what your mum said.

But you went up to her, you chose to offer her a tenner, she was probably just making small talk asking about you - being nice to someone who'd done such a lovely thing for her.

Does a small part of you believe your mum?

It's good to be cautious, but she's saying it over nothing.

You're very kind though flowers

ShakeRattleNRoll Fri 27-Sep-13 00:52:59

Yes I agree your mother is being very paranoid and unnecessarily so.It was a very nice gesture of you.You will get your karma one day

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 00:55:52

Thank you! People with sick loved ones are my weakness because I've been there. In that moment I wanted to help out and so I did.

The thing about my mum is that despite being dramatic, paranoid and often extremely annoying, she is usually right. This is the only reason that I am giving what she said a thought...

NatashaBee Fri 27-Sep-13 01:01:27

I think it's a bit strange that she didn't remember you. I would probably remember someone paying for my shopping. But it's not like she asked you for money when you bumped into her.

ShakeRattleNRoll Fri 27-Sep-13 01:03:34

I expect your mother is right in not trusting her so if you do bump into her again don't get too involved keep your distance

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 01:06:13

Natasha-I think maybe she thought that I was going to ask for the money back? Or perhaps she didn't remember because she was so distressed during that meeting?

She did come across as a bit flustered and teary to me. She looked like someone on the verge of a nervous breakdown sad

And while this made me sympathetic, it made my mum even more suspicious!

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 01:07:20

Yes I don't plan on getting any more involved in her life. I still can't fully rationalise why I did what I did but I just went with what I felt like in the moment.

BOF Fri 27-Sep-13 01:07:22

Wouldn't a sick child get free prescriptions though? I've no idea of the circumstances though, and you sound like a lovely kind person.

prissyenglisharriviste Fri 27-Sep-13 01:11:54

Hmmmmm. I picked up a hitchhiker who was claiming to be a marine. Was hitching back to work (entirely plausible story) as he had been attending a memorial service for a colleague that he had served with in <insert plausible operational area> And has his jacket and wallet nicked in a bar, with all his cash, ID etc.

It was about 2am when I picked him up (long story - I was driving back from working away, happened to be in RAF uniform, and saw him standing at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere). Anyways, we were chatting (he was weirded out that a single female had picked him up in the middle of the night) but we chatted loosely about work. He said a lot of his family were army, I said dh was. All very loose - no names, no security drama. He asked which regt dh was in, I said x. He said 'oh my cousin is in x too - he might know him.' I said 'doubt it - big corps.' He said 'my cousin's name is xxx'. I said ' are you kidding? Dh was his best man! How wild is that?!' He said he had missed the wedding because he was away in <plausible ops area>.

I dropped him at reading services so he could continue his way down South, and gave him £20. Told him to give it to his cousin to give back to me next time he saw him. I had only told him my first name.

Went home and told dh, who freaked out that I 'd picked up a hitcher. And my mum. Ditto. Thought they were being terribly dramatic, as it had turned out to be x's cousin, but as they said , I didn't know that when I picked him up.

Fast forward to Christmas time, and cousin and his wife came over for dinner. Around dessert and a couple of bottles of wine later, I said 'ooooooh! Did your cousin ever give you my money?'

No cousin.

X had picked him up a few months before, and given him some cash, and his business card so that the dude could send a cheque to his place of work reimbursing him (obv not his home address). Dude had memorised the details and was using them for authenticity. I do often wonder how many other people he had memorised. Clever chap to have memorised all the driver's details and be able to recall them at will in context.

I'm not allowed to pick up hitchers any more...

nennypops Fri 27-Sep-13 01:11:57

I can sort of see where your mother's coming from. I was approached once outside a railway station by a woman whose hand seemed to be bleeding quite badly, and she was asking for money so that she could get home. I was quite shocked and said she really needed to get to hospital, and offered to call an ambulance, but she didn't want to know. Then I started to wonder about the whole story - how come she didn't have a return ticket or the money to get home anyway? And I realised that most people in that state would be really quite shocked, but she showed no signs of it at all; and again, most people in that state would at least make for a bathroom or something to bathe the wound, or would have approached the station staff for first aid, but she had done none of that. So I ended up saying I wouldn't give her the money and repeating that I would happily call an ambulance or the police to help her get to hospital, and I got a volley of abuse. And the next day I happened to be at the same station and saw the same woman apparently with another fresh cut to her hand approaching people for money.

It's a real shame that that sort of behaviour makes people distrustful of anyone asking for help, but I'm afraid that's the reality.

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 01:13:00

When I first asked her if she needed something she said she was OK. I gave her the tenner because she was choking back tears while she said it so I suppose she wasn't OK after all.

I imagine the child does get free healthcare but she probably still needs to pay for food and things. And she clearly didn't have money. She was in the same outfit that she was in when I saw her a year ago.

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 01:18:34

Oh wow those stories are rather awful.

I genuinely hope that my random act of kindness doesn't get me into trouble! Because I live in this area and walk that street everyday it would be a real problem if I was harassed by someone around there.

I am also not interested in anything controversial at this point because I am about to start my new job and I don't want any sort of mess with the police to raise alarm bells with my employer.

Graciescotland Fri 27-Sep-13 02:00:22

I was asked by a woman on the street for busfare home; which I gave but she was back in the same spot the next night asking again; no recognition. Really puts you off helping strangers.

DropYourSword Fri 27-Sep-13 02:37:53

It sounds to me like this woman was entirely genuine. She was going through an awful time, you stepped in to help but she didn't personally remember you because she was distraught at the time. She's still struggling and you approach her remembering her. She was probably tearful and flustered because although she didn't remember you personally she might have been really touched you remember her, and more so when you gave her money unexpectedly. If I was her I would have asked you the same sort of questions...because I would want to send you something to thank you with. Home address is too much, bit workplace is safe enough with being TOO anonymous. I think it sounds like your mum is seeing the worst in a situation...It would never even occur to me to view it this way!

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 03:01:15

Well, it is really awful that some people take advantage of kindness like that.

I hope I don't have to regret what I did.

DropYourSword Fri 27-Sep-13 03:02:15

In what way do you think you might end up having to regret it?

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 03:13:40

Ah it's probably nothing it's just my dramatic mum panicking over nothing and making everyone panic with her. She is convinced that the woman will now hang around the area I frequent everyday and harass me for more money. So I am hoping that my mother is wrong! I have a feeling that in this case she will be but you never know.

Mimishimi Fri 27-Sep-13 03:14:22

I think your mum is right to advise you not to give her any personal information but you didn't do that anyway. It was nice of you to give her the money but was she asking others for it the second time also or did you just recognise her whilst she was walking/shopping etc ?

claraschu Fri 27-Sep-13 03:14:40

You were kind.
Even if she tricked you, I really don't see how this could turn into a big problem.

Eastpoint Fri 27-Sep-13 03:14:58

Where we live in London there are several people who do this, we have a very active local website so they are discussed. We have 'the crying boy' who is in his late teens, a man who claims to have insufficient money at a local petrol station to fill up so he can visit his child in hospital, a lady who claims to live about 8 doors away from the door she's knocking on who needs money to catch a taxi to the hospital. They tend to work the area for a while & then disappear before reappearing again. I think your mum was right to think you were tricked & that the reason she didn't remember you was because the woman is a con-artist.

Chottie Fri 27-Sep-13 03:28:08

Are you in the UK, children get free prescriptions, all you have to do is to sign the declaration on the back of the prescription form. If you can't read or write the chemist will do it for you.

Sorry, I think you've been had too. Be grateful it wasn't anymore money.

I was once stopped in the street by a young man who said his wallet had been stolen including his return train ticket and he needed some money to buy a ticket, could I help? I offered to walk to the station and buy a ticket for him. But strangely, he did not wish to accept my help confused

SeekingEmployment Fri 27-Sep-13 03:35:30

No the second time she didn't approach me. I saw her and before I could stop myself I asked her how she was now.

DropYourSword Fri 27-Sep-13 03:38:15

Just remember though, when OP bought the medicine the first time there was no mention of a prescription. She could have needed something over the counter but didn't have a prescription, so it therefore wouldn't have been free.

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