2009-08-14

Trusting my instincts

The other night at dinner I was reading my book, when the lady at the table across from me asked about my Jambalaya. I gave a pleasant, positive review and went back to reading, while she went back to talking to the guy she was dining with.

Later on, there was some police activity in the parking lot. Apparently 18 motorists had called 911 about a drunk driver on the road. Seven police cars showed up and pulled him over in the parking lot. The couple starts chatting with the waitress about this and conversation turns to the off duty cop the restaurant often has on site (note to self: choose a different restaurant next time). That cop mainly deals with disorderly drunks or people skipping out on their checks. The three folks joke about making customers wash dishes.

The waitress brings their check later and then steps away. The male then gets my attention, explains that they are over the road truck drivers who get paid the following day, and they are short on the bill today. He asks me for $15 to cover them.

I say, "Sorry," and turn back to my book. This does not sound like the kind of thing I want to get involved with. After all, everyone's running scam, right? If you know you don't have the money because payday is the next day, why go out to dinner?

I sit there reading and thinking about this. Maybe I'm letting my inner New Yorker get the better of me. Maybe these folks really did miscalculate their costs and are in a spot. I began to wonder if I did the right thing. I didn't seriously consider changing my mind, but I felt a little guilty to have just dismissed them.

After a couple minutes, I heard the woman tell the man, "Well, I'll just put it on the debit card." And he came up with dollar coins for the tip.

So, obviously, they had the money.

And now I'm torn.

On the one hand, my well honed sense of cynicism made the right call. So that make me smile.

On the other, this situation is even more disgusting than if they had no money and went out to eat planning to skip out on the check. They actually had the money, but they weren't willing to spend theirs. They thought the better solution was to beg some stranger at another table with a made up story.

Regardless, they paid and left. And everyone was happier, despite feeling a little dirtier, at the way the evening turned out.

7 comments:

Chris said...

I think you did the right thing and don't feel guilty about it. There are scammers everywhere and you have to protect yourself. I can't believe the audacity of a person asking a total stranger for $15 period, let alone the fact that they had the money all along in their checking account. This is exactly why we don't trust our fellow human beings any more.

Daisy said...

I think you did the right thing. If you have extra money that you want to give, there are a lot more worthy causes than buying someone a meal at a restaurant!

Your Daily Cute said...

Crazy. Glad you didn't fall for it.

Anna said...

Considering there are a lot of us who "save up" so we can enjoy an evening at our favorite (albeit cheap) restaurant, the thought of someone asking for money to cover their check kind of ticks me off! You did the right thing and it also sounds like you need to find a new restaurant!

Pricilla said...

If they knew they only had so much money why did they order more food than they could afford?

THAT is the question, eh?

*sigh* They should have gotten sandwiches at the deli, not a meal in the restaurant.

Sometimes citysense is good sense.

JT Locke -- The Frugal Housewife said...

I agree! I think these people were scammers. I don't believe that they were over the road truckers. Also I agree that if you are running short on cash then you probably wouldn't be going out to eat knowing that you couldn't pay for it, unless of course you are a scammer looking for a free ride!

Troi said...

Scammers always sadden me, because as you say, they make us skeptical and reduce our chances of being the Good Samaritan when the cause is actually legitimate.