Tuesday, December 20, 2005


So um...what the hell just happened?

I was walking back from the metro, coming back from work late. (don't worry, wasn't working too hard, just making up for a lengthy lunch.) I walked through the dark parking lot, almost apt. safe apt. I saw someone else walking through the parking lot, but it was the silhouette of a non-threatening looking woman, so I didn't do the lightning fast reach for the pepper spray.

She then called for me, and I started a bit, and she began walking towards me, and I drew back. She put up her hands and said "oh no no I'm not a scary woman."

Then she came over to me and told me that a car had just run a red light. And hit her car. And she's pregnant. And had tears in her eyes. My first instinct was to offer her a hug, so I asked her if she wanted a hug, and she was the one who looked a little taken aback, and said yes, and we hugged in the dark parking lot.

Then we got down to business. She said that she worked at a nearby hotel, lived way out on Leesburg Pike, and she didn't have a way to get back to her house, since her car was totalled. She had gone to the police station, and they offered to keep her car for her until she got it taken care of the next day, but they couldn't help her get home. She didn't have any money. There was a shuttle that left from a hotel that went out to another hotel, and from there she could take another shuttle, but she didn't have money for it.

Part of me was trying to figure out a way out of this, but then another part of me played a little slideshow in my head. Of, oh...the random woman at the UPS store giving me a ride back to D.C. The lady at the Metro trying to console my pretty much inconsolable tears in the Spring. Rob the MC, from three years ago, giving me and two of my friends a ride from the Bowie Bay Sox Stadium. And countless others who have given me a hand and a smile along the way.

So, I said that I would go to the ATM and get money, but that I wanted to verify her story with the police officer. So we started walking - in the opposite direction of the police station, I may add - to find the police officer down the street who helped her. Things were looking shady, my favorite guards were long gone for the day.

She saw a woman getting into her car, so she said she was going to walk over and ask her for help. I was like "okay...you do that..." hoping that I could shovel this responsibilty onto someone else, and I stood on the sidewalk and called E, just in case I was going to be on the evening news. Figured they could play my voice mail as a poignant goodbye. While the phone was ringing, I saw a gray car at the sidewalk that was, well, totally in bad shape. The hood was smushed and raised off the ground.

I left a detailed message for E, speaking low. But all she really heard was "It's Meg...pregnant...car accident... woman...$30...important - WHAT? I'LL BE RIGHT OVER! E...call you lat-"

Pregnant Car Accident Woman called me over, and said the lady in the car had given her $20. I told her I could go to the ATM, and we walked along into the darkness of the metro plaza. Here was where I was thinking "Hmm. Does she have a gun? Is she really pregnant, or is that a stash of money gained from other people walking home?"

I asked her if it was her car on the side of the street, and she said no, it was in the police station parking lot, but then asked what color it was. I said it was gray, and she said that was hers. It looked really bad, and I told her that she should go to the hospital to get the baby checked. She said that she felt fine. This was when E called, and I picked up and told her I'd call her back in about 5 minutes. I was like "um yeah...I'm okay...I think."

While walking, Angela told me over and over how grateful she was, and how she was appreciative and could pay me back the next day. I told her that it wasn't necessary, and I told her my little UPS story, in the hopes that she'd realize that she wasn't the only one who has needed help before and the kindness of strangers.

We finally get to the ATM, a little hole in the wall that I've never noticed before, probably installed in 1985, and the damn thing WOULDN'T WORK. I inserted my card and removed it many a time, flipping the card every which way. Putting it in quickly, pulling it out slowly. Fast, slow. Slow, fast. Fast, fast. Slow, Slow. Thought "Well, on the bright side, if she's robbing me, she's not going to get any money!"

Then we decided to give it another shot at another ATM, at the Holiday Inn. As we walked, we talked. She told me that she had just moved here because her dad had died of lung cancer, and she was with her mom. The father of her baby is an alcoholic, and she told him that she didn't need someone who wouldn't be a good role model. We commiserated, and I was like "oh, finding a good man is such a hard thing." (Cue in rosy lighting and the sisterhood scene.) And she suggested that I move to North Carolina, because apparently there are a lot of good looking guys down there.

Then I had my Bridget Jones's Diary II moment. We were walking under the dark bridge (yet another brilliant opportunity for my tragic disappearance) and I waxed poetic about how hard it is to find someone. Said that I had been with someone (sorry, L, for repeatedly bringing you up in here...) and that we just weren't right for each other.

And she goes,

"oh I know! What is he like? Obsessive? Possessive? Really mean?"

And stammered "um...uh...no...he's a really great guy...we're just not right for each other."

So we finally made it to Holiday Inn, and we went to the ATM and it actually worked. E called again (you good friend you!!) and I told her I'd call her in 15 minutes, at the latest. I gave Angela some cash, and she thanked me and said that if I ever need a favor, if my family is ever in town, I should tell her and she'll get them a room. (hmm.) I told her I'd take her up on it, but I didn't get her last name, so I wasn't serious.

She said she was a Christian, and she believes in helping out people when they need it. I told her that I'm one too, and I feel the same way. She promised to help someone out, next time someone needs it.

Then we parted ways, her to get the shuttle, and me to the apt, cell phone in my hand, calling E, who was anxiously awaiting my call.

So guys. What do you think? Was I duped? Or is a pregnant lady now safe and sound at home? And if I was duped, was it worth it, just in case she was telling the truth?

sorry to burst your bubble, but i've met that lady walking back to cpt twice.. and i'm not sure if the same thing can happen to someone.. 3 times now. sorry man, you were duped. but it was very well written, i might add..
Wow, I was going to weigh in on the "you probably weren't duped" side because that sounded like a convincing story.

On the other hand, surely the police could have given her a ride to her house? :-/

Tough situation.
absolutly worth it- you rock- doesnt matter if you were duped- fact is you are a good person and thats what counts.
sounds like a story that recently happened to my M-inlaw. She ran into this young girl at Applebees with her three kids. Told my M-inlaw all about how they'd just moved there from Texas, trying to get a job. Even pulled out the "i'm a Christian too" card. So... some sixty dollars in her pocket later (from M-inlaw and family) she left. My M-inlaw called her a few days later and found out from whoever answered the phone that she was actually a stripper and crack addict... or something like that.

getting duped isn't the end of the world though - at least you're nice enough to help :)
duped but at least your definately going to heaven... hahaha as if that was in question
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