Saying No

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Image Source: BR

I was having lunch with my sister at McDonald's today. A few minutes after sitting down a woman who was sitting nearby asked if we spoke Spanish. After asking her to repeat herself a few times we let her know we did and she began asking us if we knew places were they were hiring, especially because of her undocumented status. We let her know we were sorry but didn't really know and turned away. Again, she began talking to us telling us about her day of looking for work, it been days since she has and dropping her kids. I had a bit of a hard time understanding her because of the noise in the restaurant and I think her accent. After a minute I caught on that she was saying she was left without a dollar in her pocket. I kind of just "aha'd" and turned around, processing what she was saying. I felt awkward, especially having food in front of me, and her continuing to talk to me. After a while we were talking again and she repeated either she didn't have money or hadn't eaten all day. So I honestly asked her if she wanted me to buy her a meal, she continued on about her worries and I think her ear problems and I was like ma'am, my question is do you want me to buy you a meal? I felt bad, but at this point just wanted to get it over with especially because my sister was getting visibly annoyed and uncomfortable (and was since the beginning).

I only had a limited amount of money in my account going in and buying her a meal put me in danger of going into overdraft. When we got to the counter I asked for a big mac meal and she said she wanted a coffee. I understand that, my mom likes to drink coffee when we go out and if you had a long day so far maybe you need a pick me up. I would order that instead of coke, and then she said with ice. It took me a minute, I was like- coffee with ice??? Then it clicked that she wanted an iced coffee. I was like. . . .. lol (I don't blame her, if you're in a position a treat is nice- or should she have just accepted my order?). I told her I couldn't because I didn't have enough money to begin with. She was just like okay that's fine. The receipt came and I just gave it to her, she said thanks and that was that.

I think in these situations in the back of your mind you wonder if they're really in this situation or do they want money/free meal? I think in order to reach a level to ask/beg there has to be something going on so the benefit of the doubt is okay. She wasn't going to throw the food away and I would spend the next few days thinking about the situation and how I could have done something to spare someone a little suffering. I was left with 74 cents in my account, but how often does this happen anyway. This also reminds me of the time I was leaving Target and there was a woman asking for food/money too. Others just said sorry or ignored her but I couldn't do it and got her two Zaxby's meals for her and her husband (?) and felt bad she had to walk down the lot but I didn't feel comfortable letting her into my car. That was months ago, if not a year ago, so it's not like I'm buying people meals left and right. It's a rare occasion.

I think it was when I was going to Europe the first time, that my whole family had a conversation with me about being careful since they know that I can be a bit vulnerable at those times. I think I am naturally compelled to try to help someone out and they think that could get me in trouble or in a sticky situation. I am really not trying to sound like a saint, it's not only in these "charitable" situations but any. I just think there are just people like me who are unable to say no if they have the resources on them to help (if she wanted cash I wouldn't go to an ATM lol) or want to do something for another person. I remember once I was leaving work and this old woman (who was just at my shop) was waiting for the thunderstorm to go away so she could walk to her nearby apartment. I gave her a ride and she was thankful since she had superstitions about lightning and thunder. But what if I got into an accident and was liable? or she robbed and killed me? lol. She was old so I felt safe but I can think of other times where I have put myself in a vulnerable position because I couldn't deny or say no to someone. Well, the old lady didn't ask me but I felt bad leaving her in that weather.

I think this one of those characteristics I wish I didn't have and could grow a backbone. I don't think I shouldn't help people when I can (and the extreme cases I mentioned above are rare), but in the everyday forms of it I think learning how to say no will really help and improve my chances of success and happiness. Especially as I get older and I'll have many many more of these opportunities. So I think I will practice say NO (but nicely of course).

Image Source: NYMAG


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