This was a thought-provoking one, so I thought I'd play along with Janet:
A few months ago, my boyfriend and I were on our way home from Philadelphia. On the way we spotted a man pulled over to the side of the road. Assumably his family was waiting in the car. He was flagging drivers down and my boyfriend pulled over. He told us that his car had broken down and that help was on the way, but that unfortunately he did not have all the money he needed to pay for the tow truck. So he was asking strangers, out of the kindness of their hearts, for anything up to fifteen dollars to contribute to the total cost. He also offered to pay us back if we were willing to give our address to him. My questions to you this week are this:
1. Would you have stopped in the first place? Why or why not?
No. Because I'm suspicious and cynical, and because there's a better-than-good chance I've got kids in the car. I would, however, note where I was, stop the car about a mile away, and call 911. Anybody who's got real car trouble will be helped by police. I don't believe the tow-truck story, either- last time I got a tow no one asked me for a dime until after I was safe.
Once upon a time, I was with friends who did stop to help someone like that. It was an older couple and we were a bunch of teenagers out at night, and the guys in the group changed a tire for the folks. I wouldn't have stopped if I'd been by myself; I've seen Silence of the Lambs.
2. Are there any factors that would contribute to your stopping or not stopping that would ultimately change your answer?
Nope. Even if I forgot my cell phone and I couldn't help, I'm confident that a bundle of other folks have theirs and would have called.
3. If you stopped, would you or would you not give him the money he asked for?
Hell no. No more than I buy that painting the guy needs to sell down the shore to get bus fare home, or any other random give-me-money scheme.
4. If you gave him the money, would you supply your address?
I haven't even given you good folks my last name- why would I give some stranger my address?
5. Does time of year or time of day effect your answer?
No. I guess the idea here is because it's cold maybe I'll react differently, but once again I'll call police and they will be out to check up, so I don't feel like I've abandoned anyone to the elements.