It was approximately a week ago when I was walking from the South Kensington tube station towards my sister’s flat in the nearby Glendower Place. It was around 10:30 pm and I just got back from Paris via the Eurostar. It was a short and stingy trip due to my voluntarily tight budget. Still, in my pocket were a piece of €50 note and a piece of £50 note. I guess it’s enough for me to spend in the next two or three days before I go back home.

Although it was a short walk to Glendower Place, it was cold and dark. There was a light drizzle that made the coldness even more chilling. I can’t wait to get to my warm room in the basement of Jerome House and make myself a cup of hot coffee. Suddenly, from the darkness in front of me, came a huge man, hauling a huge suit luggage behind him.

“Excuse me. Could you please spare me a few pounds? I just got robbed, I’ve lost everything”, the man dejectedly showed his torn side pocket of his trousers. Seemed like it was slit by a thin razor, which was a normal method used by many European pick-pockets. He spoke sorrowfully in a North American accent, a tourist maybe. The pale streetlight shone on his eyes, red and watered, like he had just finished crying shortly before he met me.

Treasuring the cash that I have, even though I felt sorry for that person, I shun away. I’d given him some cash if I had small change. But it was not his day. I felt bad. Uttering, “I’m sorry” repeatedly to him as I walked away made it even more depressing.

After a few steps, I could still hear him begging, “Please”. I continued walking.

*****

It was approximately a week later and I had just finished work at a client’s office somewhere in KL Sentral. It was 10:30 pm and I was walking towards the entrance of Plaza Sentral’s basement car park. Then a woman approached me. “Sir, can you help us? My husband and I had just arrived from JB this evening and we were robbed. My husband was badly beaten. Could you spare us a few Ringgit?” Her husband then appeared, hauling a huge suit luggage behind him. I looked at the man’s face under the pale streetlight and I could see a fresh gash on his lower lip, slightly bloodied. “Yes sir, please help us. Just a few Ringgit so that we could find a way to return home”, the husband spoke with a lisp, probably because of the gash on his mouth.

Ah, the same scenario within a week! I stood there analyzing the two characters in front of me. My mind reminded me to the event in London a week before. If it wasn’t because of the previous event, I would’ve walked away without hesitation. But I stood there considering the whole thing. In my pocket was a single piece of RM50 note (Yes, I don’t carry much cash with me. I’m stingy, even towards myself).

“Tuhan saja boleh balas jasa baik encik kalau encik tolong kami”

I stopped analyzing and said, “I’m going down the basement to pay for my parking. If I decided by then to help you guys, I’ll come back”. I walked away, still indecisive. In my mind I pictured the couple’s sorry faces, and also the pitiful North American guy.

I paid RM4.00 for my parking. The parking attendant returned to me two RM20 notes, an RM5 note and an RM1 note. Now, if I were to help the couple, which note should I give away? I walked past my car. I slowly dragged my legs up the stairs and soon after, I was in front of the couple once again.

“Here’s RM20. Please take care”

There were words of commendation and gratefulness uttered by the couple. Also, a subsequent discussion about giving my bank account number to them for a return payment but it was swiftly dropped.

“Tuhan saja boleh balas jasa baik encik sebab tolong kami”

Well, if it was a scam, then it’s a scam. As simple as that. If not, hopefully they’re alright. I also hope that the North American guy is doing alright too.

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