First and foremost, happy birthday to my wonderful mom! I honestly don't know anyone more generous, giving or good with people. I like to think of myself as being generous, giving and good with people, but I've got nothing on her. She schools me, bigtime.
Some of the unique things that make my mom my mom:
- She loves my children absolutely, which is a joy and a comfort to me. When she is around, they prefer her to me. She would rather be with her grandchildren than out with the adults, but does not relax when they are around. It's constant counting heads, making snowcones, taking off too-warm clothing, changing diapers, getting drinks. It's exhausting, and she's good at it. And she loves it. (I'm pretty sure.)
- She hates flying, but flies all over the place, because travel and culture and enriching experiences and seeing family trump her fears every time.
- She also hates bridges. And swimming. And confrontation. And cooking. And bad grammar. And dopey people. And attention (this post will likely make her uncomfortable).
- She is magic with teenagers and young adults. Growing up, all her children's friends would come over just to hang out with her.
- She has always encouraged me in everything I do. (Unless that thing has any semblance whatsoever of being dangerous.) She has raised her children to be educated, openminded, and inquisitive.
- I do believe that to know my mother is to love her. Happy birthday, mom! Isn't it great that your children finally appreciate you?
Driving home from Arizona yesterday, we were stopped at a gas station/Burger King in Fillmore, Utah. A man came in, kind of scruffy, and asked the gas station attendant if he could make a call. The phone call was long distance so he couldn't use the store phone. He asked if the attendant had a cell phone, and she said she didn't. Steve was standing right there and offered the man his phone, and we stood there as he (supposedly) called his dad. "Hi, dad. We're in Fillmore. We only need about 10 or 12 dollars in gas to get home. The lady says she can't take a credit card number over the phone. Can you go to Check City and wire me some money? Okay, here's my account number."
Steve whispered to me, "Should I just buy the man some gas?"
Me: "I think he's scamming us."
Ten minutes later, we're set to leave and the man is out by his car waiting for money to appear to buy gas to get back to SLC. I remember about how charity never faileth, and tell Steve to do whatever he thinks is best. Steve goes over and buys the dude $15 worth of gas. The guy seems grateful, and we all leave.
I still felt a little distrustful, which is weird, because I always give money to the beggars in parking lots and on street corners when I see them and when I have some, even when it's quite likely that I'm being scammed. It doesn't bother me then. Mosiah 4 gets me every time (read verses 16-20, and they'll get you, too). But if this guy at the gas station was scamming us last night, it was an elaborate and dang good scam, and I didn't want to be the major sucker who fell for it. I was even tempted to redial the number on the phone and talk to the guy on the other end to check out the story. You know, say something like: "Did your son just call you asking for gas money? Don't worry. We took care of him and he's well on his way." But Steve wouldn't let me.
Our last bishop was tremendously generous with a few people who may have been scamming him, and he knew this, but said, "I'd rather be scammed than be uncharitable." So that is the principle that Steve and I talked about after we gave this guy enough gas to get back to Salt Lake. And we talked about how though that might have been a kind thing to have done on our part, it wasn't overly generous in any sense of the word. There are some people in this world who would have filled the man's tank, bought him and his friend lunch, and sent them away with a wad of cash just in case they needed it.
We aren't generous like that. What do you think? What would you have done?