An unusual situation today.
I work in a college town of about 50,000. There is a district that caters to the college crowd. Great restaurants that are difficult to get into for lunch during the school year. Today our office went to lunch at one of those restaurants and we had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated. Not a problem.
Weather was gorgeous so we waited outside. While waiting, a woman approached our group. Within seconds it was evident that something was "off." She was standing close to me and it was obvious that she was already on her days drunk. She said she had free food (a sub sandwich in a bag) and she wanted money from one of us to go buy a drink. A few in our group said they didn't have change or only large bills, etc. One gentleman in our group gave her 2 quarters and said "have a nice day." She took his change but then gave us a lecture about how we need to change our ways, be grateful for what we have, help others, that she has terminal cancer and you never know when it's going to end. And then she told me that I was number one (in sign language....do you get that?) and threw in some colorful language.
She took about 5 steps back and then said, "You can all watch this and see how it plays out." She approached a group of 3 twenty-something men and I assume she gave them the same spiel she gave us. I don't know what their response was to her but she spit on one of them. Yes, spit. Do you know what his move was? He called the cops. She walked away and he followed her and remained on the phone. He's got grounds to press charges. That's considered assault (I got that information from Lawman). Did you know that? I didn't. I don't know how that situation ended but it left me wondering if I handled it poorly.
Should I have helped her? I'm willing to help others but I also think that others need to be willing to help themselves.
My first thought was that she's probably going to panhandle until she gets enough cash for her next drink and I'm betting it's not soda.
Have you found yourself in an awkward situation like this? How did you handle it? What would you do?