Sidewalk Ghosts / Lawrence / Never Give Gas To Grifters Drinking Red Bull

“Stay Alive”

I was out with my family when at a gas station we were approached by a desperate looking woman. “Please can you help me, We need to get home to Pomona, and we don’t have enough gas.”

I’m wasn’t sure if I had sucker written all over my face or I was just charitable. Either way, It was close to the holidays, and why not give a little. I put $10 of gas in her car. Even though I was very skeptical, I’m a man of my word, so I began to pump the gas. After all, It was the holidays.

But here is what got to me. As I was putting the fuel in their car, I realized all those sitting in it were knocking back freshly cracked cans of Red Bull. At over two bucks a can, I knew I was getting duped, I quickly stopped pumping. I was done. I did my part, the sin was on them. If they were grifters, all I could do was hope they changed their ways soon.

I tried to give them a chance for redemption by inviting them to share with 365. What a surprise, they declined with a, “We’re sick.”

Within minutes they were after another target. A senior citizen who was pumping at the next station. These people were shameless. I had not even left the parking lot and they were onto mark two.

One thing I need to mention. My exploiting friends have one of my business cards. So this note is to them if they should decide to read this post.

“I hold no grudge. But recommend that you do some deep self-examination as to your contribution to society. Ask yourself this, ‘What good am I doing for the world today? Sweet dreams.” Sorry the sweet dreams snub was my inner frustration about them escaping.

Now back to the story. I approached the senior to whom my unnamed friends were soliciting, my goal, to be sure they did not take a cent of his money. Well, he was smarter than I, and was on to them in an instant. Not a cent was exchanged. The grifters exited, leaving me with a new friend of 365, Lawrence.

Lawrence was very gracious, but due to circumstances, he only had time for an extremely brief chat. I’m not even sure I could call it a chat. Lawrence was in a great hurry, his wife had been patiently waiting in the car, and it was obvious that she would rather be elsewhere.

I did my best to quickly share my regular introduction to 365: An explanation accompanied by an iPad sampling. We got through that, and Lawrence was engaged and intrigued. Time for questions. Well, what I really need to say is, question.

That was pretty much all I got, one question.

But still, one question deserved one answer.

That Question
What words of wisdom would you like to share with the world?

The Answer
“Stay Alive.”

It was a start, I’ve had bumpier beginnings, but as I began to crack my mouth in asking question two, the passenger door flew open, “Let’s go! I don’t want to have my picture taken!!!!!” Lawrence’s wife had met her wit’s end and was ready to go home. I appreciated her request and halted my interview, knowing if I pressed harder I would most likely be putting myself, and Lawrence, at risk.

So appreciating the wisdom of I had gained this night, I leaned on Lawrence’s council, “Stay Alive.” I honored thy wife.

I learnt two important lessons that evening.

Never give gas to grifters drinking Red Bull.


I don’t think I’m scared of carnies anymore.

Lawrence, thanks for the short interview that evening. You have a great sense of humor, and I hope you and your wife got home safely.

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