This is an open letter to the man that asked me for gas last night in Niskayuna.

I was at Stewart's on Balltown Road and just as my brain was realizing gas is now $3.77 for the cheap stuff you approach me out of nowhere saying something I couldn't hear. As I tried making sense of what was happening my dog was barking and wanted to sink his teeth into you. Then I heard you ask, "will you buy me some gas?".

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When I was a kid it was far less common to encounter someone asking for money or food or anything than it is in 2022. Today I see it so often I have become desensitized. I hate to say this but when you approached me my first thought wasn't kind.

The difference with you is that you didn't ask for cash. You asked if I would put gas in your car because you "just needed to get to Rensselaer." I have to admit my mind was wrestling with what to do. It should be automatic to help your neighbor but it wasn't automatic for me last night.

To be honest dude, you looked like you just needed a break. I also noticed you had a child with you and I pictured myself, with my son, and how difficult it would be for me to ask for help. That's when I said "pull up to my pump".

When I got back into the car my girlfriend said "the world is not your problem but that was nice of you". I am not writing this open letter to you for a pat on the back. I'm writing it in an attempt to figure out what has happened to us that we have to struggle with helping someone in need.

As each of us drove away, I've spent a lot of time thinking about you and hoping I wasn't wrong somehow. Did I do the right thing? More importantly I hope your drive brought you closer to a better place.

Lainie Rae
Lainie Rae
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