Con jobs

Around 2 or 3 weeks ago I was heading home from work and a man approached me saying that he and his wife were from New Ross (a small town maybe about a 1hr drive away from Halifax). He told me that he had lost his wallet and didn't have any money to get gas for the trip home. He was fairly presentable and clean shaven and sounded pretty legit. The fact that it was after midnight at this point in a residential area added a bit of credibility to his story as well, you don't normally see people bumming change in that neighborhood. I felt a little bad for him but I didn't have much money on me and I told him I couldn't spare any money. I felt a little guilty about that as I walked away.

Today the same man approached me outside of Tim Horton's and told me the same story. Now I know this is just a con job that he's trying to pull. I know it was at least 2 weeks ago that I saw him because I've been on day shifts that long and I was walking home from work at night the first time he approached me. I find it extremely hard to believe that someone stranded in Halifax for 2 weeks wasn't able to scrape together some change for a phone call in order to call someone who could help them out. Second, he still looked fairly clean shaven and presentable. Anyone stuck for 2 weeks and not enough money to get home certainly would look a lot worse for wear. If they were legitimately stranded then that really wouldn't be the case. If he's had somewhere to stay for 2 weeks then either he's had enough money to fill up the tank of gas or he's got someone in the city helping him out in which case I think they'd be way more willing to loan him $20 than put him and his wife up for 2 weeks.

I just found the whole thing really annoying. I mean I try to be a good person and will help out people bumming change some times. But I'm also pretty cynical and will assume someone might be trying to scam me. When I ran into this guy the first time I did feel a bit guilty that I didn't give him any money and really started to question my cynicism. It's not often that you catch con artists in a lie so usually you never really do know the truth. What annoys me the most is that con artists like this are just making it harder for people who are legitimately in need of help.