Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some people are suspicious when given to

Extra Extra
This morning before I went to buy coconut water I bought the three daily newspapers. I decided to buy an extra Express to give to the coconut man since he is standing up for most of the day and might want something to read. When I got there he was already reading a newspaper ... the Express. Someone had already bought one for him.

Driving back home with the extra Express, I was looking for someone on the road I could give it to, who might want it. The roads were strangely void of people until I came to the construction site which used to be the large field. Two workmen were getting out of a car. I slowed down near to them, held out the Express and said: "Hi, would you like a newspaper?"

The one closer to my car looked at me incredulously and laughed.

I said: "I bought it for the coconut vendor but he had one already, so it's an extra. You can have it if you want."

He looked suspicious. Was I giving him drugs?

He laughed again, almost nervously, and looked at his friend ... asking permission to accept the contraband. He then took the paper slowly from me and said: "No charge?"

"No," I said and I drove off.

It's not the first time I've experienced this. What makes some people suspicious or hesitant when someone (stranger or not) gives them something without wanting anything in return?


Lynn Cohen said...

funny, at first I thought maybe he couldn't read. But yes, people find it hard to believe they can get something for nothing just out of the kindness of someones heart.
Yours is a big heart. Nice of you to do this.

Anonymous said...

I think we have become so used to everyone looking out for themselves, that we are taken by surprise when these things happen.

I was in the Drugstore recently and an older lady overheard me ordering some medication form the pharmacist. She told me she had a whole box at home that she wasn't going to use.
Give that it cost over $200 for the box I was very grateful. But honestly, my first reaction was one of suspicion.

Elspeth said...

Lynn, yes - and there could be many different reasons. E.g. on a deeper level it could also be a kind of shyness, where someone thinks they are not worth receiving or being the recipient of kindness.

Anonymous, I can understand - it's more likely that someone would be suspicious with the offer of free medication because it's not something that people normally offer to give away.

Anonymous said...

yuh never hear doh take things from strangers? lol... i think the context is important too though. i approach people all the time with 'giveaways' and find if i have a 10-15 second intro they are much more receptive than if i just go up 'cold' lol :)

Elspeth said...

Yes, an intro can help warm things up, but then are the people suspicious of the intro?

This whole thing of giving and receiving has me thinking ...

Kimberlie said...

I think the suspicion could have to do with feelings of inadequacy. The idea that we're not worthy of kindness and gifts just by being. It seems we believe we must earn everything we are given and that we must give back or we feel guilty. I try to notice what I receive each day that I do nothing to earn, remembering that there is plenty for all and also remembering how good it feels when someone can receive what I have to give.

Anonymous said...

Yes, like when I tried to give away flowers one time. That was quite a disheartening experience, but taught me that the young and the very old are the most receptive to random kindness.


I agree..sometimes people find difficult to believe to get unselfish help...but thats the way it is..if everyone starts expecting unselfishness then there will be no more unselfishness in the earth...

I love the way you put up "small" issues and give a strong message...everyday so many things happens in our life, every moment we are getting something out of this life but our eyes and heart both are most of the time closed.