Couple learned the hard way to balance generosity and safety

Couple learned the hard way to balance generosity and safety

Cold winter deception

Cold, alone, and without shoes, a woman in her 20s sat on the ground near a light rail station. She shivered on the chilly winter evening, her worn, dirty clothes providing inadequate protection against the frosty breeze. Couple learned the hard way to balance generosity and safety

When Bill approached the station after a long day at work, he spotted the woman. He noted her lack of winter weather protection and saw her body trembling to keep her warm. Bill moved toward her and asked if he could help. Couple learned the hard way to balance generosity and safety

The woman told Bill she was cold and hungry and could use a bite to eat. Bill told the woman that his wife was at home with their two-year-old son making dinner and invited her to join them. The woman’s eyes lit up with hope, and she quickly accepted. She told Bill that her name was Melinda and that she appreciated his help.

When they arrived at Bill’s small, third story apartment, Bill introduced Melinda to his wife Beth and their son Tom. Beth welcomed Melinda to their home and offered the use of their shower and a fresh set of clothes while she finished preparing dinner.

For the next few hours, the couple enjoyed Melinda’s company. At the end of the night, they asked Melinda if she would like to stay the night. Melinda gratefully accepted the offer and went to sleep on the couch.

The next morning, the couple woke and began their daily routine. Beth tended to her son’s needs while Bill checked on Melinda. When Bill went into the living room, Melinda was nowhere to be found.

Melinda left the apartment sometime in the middle of the night. Bill told Beth about Melinda’s departure and the couple became concerned. They initially didn’t notice anything missing until Beth looked for her keys. Bill went outside to check on their only vehicle and found it missing.

Bill told Beth the bad news. The couple’s only vehicle, a 10-year old four-door which they recently purchased, didn’t have comprehensive insurance coverage. Unless the police recovered it, they wouldn’t be able to get another one for some time.

The couple’s hearts and finances were crushed from this experience with Melinda, and will probably cause them to avoid similar acts of selfless generosity in the future.

This story is based on an actual situation that happened to a young couple. Despite the loss of their vehicle, the outcome could have been far worse.

Bringing a stranger home and inviting that person to spend the night might seem like the right thing to do, but it can put your family in extreme danger. Melinda could have taken the couple’s son with her when she stole their vehicle. The visitor could have also caused physical harm to the couple and their child while they slept.

Always keep your family’s safety in mind when contemplating a generous act.

If you want to assist someone you encounter on the street, avoid giving that person access to your family, your home, or your home address. You don’t know the intentions of the stranger you’re attempting to assist, nor do you know that individual’s criminal history or mental stability.

Provide the assistance you can, but keep your family’s information private.

The well-being of your family is your number one priority. Give generously to those less fortunate than yourself, but don’t put you or your family in harm’s way to do it.

couple learned the hard way to balance generosity and safety

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about the author

Rod Spurgeon

Rod Spurgeon is a professional writer, editor, and photographer. He writes a weekly column at ownyourdefense.net, is a content contributor at senior.com, and is the author of several science fiction novels and novellas.
 
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Global Business from Arizona State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix, and also received an Honorable Mention from PR News Daily’s 2015 Nonprofit PR Awards.
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