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View Full Version : "I know I'm a big, scary, Black man..."



Lobodeb
12-27-2006, 10:48 AM
So, I'm on my way to work this morning and I'm stopped at a stop light. A man taps on my window. I do as I always do, roll my window down only an inch or two because I can't hear what he's saying as he's pointing to the back end of my car. I thought I was dragging something or my car was smoking or what have you. He tells me, "I know I'm a big, scary, Black man, but I don't want to hurt you." Then goes on to tell me about him not having any money and he ran out of gas. His initial comment upset me something awful. Was it because I only rolled my window down a little? I would have done that if it was a White man, a Hispanic man, a green man, etc. Criminals come in all shapes and sizes, but for him to assume that I'm a racist like that really got my goat. I would have helped him had it not been for his bone headed comment. I even asked him why he had to say that, but I didn't stick around for his response. I drove off.

Sorry for the rant, but his comment bothered me in 2 ways, that a) he thought I was afraid of the big Black man and 2) that society has treated him in such a way to stereotype me that way. So sad....

rosethecopycat
12-27-2006, 11:28 AM
Hey, I don't lower my window to anyone.
Not even a tiny, scary grandmother.

critter crazy
12-27-2006, 11:29 AM
Hey, I don't lower my window to anyone.
Not even a tiny, scary grandmother.

I am the same way!! I dont care who you are, if i am without hubby, and especially with my kids, i dont stop for anyone!!

K9soul
12-27-2006, 11:57 AM
I think it's very sad that you left him without any help simply because you perceived some insult in what I would have interpreted as him just trying to break the ice and alleviate any nervousness you might have. I'd be a bit nervous for any man to approach me in my car alone,but if he had come to me and said that I'd have smiled and laughed and said he's not scary to me and helped him. Helping our fellow man shouldn't be conditional, especially since he happened to choose words that he may not have meant in the way you took them at all, but that's my opinion.

Vela
12-27-2006, 12:00 PM
You are assuming he assumed you were racist. SO assumptions aside, he probably just didn't know how to initiate conversation, and perhaps he has been treated by others to the point where he feels most people are scared of him and in all reality was probably not directed towards saying you are racist in any way. I think you are reading too much into it, but it's too bad that you drove off and left and didn't help him based on an assumption=(

caseysmom
12-27-2006, 12:01 PM
I wouldn't like anyone approaching my window. That being said I wouldn't have minded his comment...I think a lot of people might perceive that and he was being honest with the experiences he had.

Lobodeb
12-27-2006, 12:09 PM
... he probably just didn't know how to initiate conversation...

A simple "excuse me" would have worked just fine. He was nicely dressed and had a pretty fancy cell phone that he was waving around. There wasn't much he needed from me that I could give him based on his appearance.

I normally don't think twice about helping someone if they're in need.

Vela
12-27-2006, 12:14 PM
Well it's your perogative to feel insulted if you wish, but you are making all sorts of assumptions about him, yet being angry you think he made an assumption about you. He obviously did need help, or he probably wouldn't have asked.

lizbud
12-27-2006, 12:16 PM
You've got to admit he did get your attention, didn't he? :p Sounds
like that's what he wanted to do so he could tell you his story. I wouldn't
have engaged in any conversation with him or opened my wallet for anyone.
Black, purple, or green,makes no difference.

momoffuzzyfaces
12-27-2006, 12:36 PM
It's just not safe to open your window or unlock your door for someone you don't know. How many women have gone missing trying to help someone by doing that? He had a cell phone. He could have called a buddy or the auto club or something or even a policeman would have helped him.
You can't tell about a person by the way he dresses.

Nope! No way, no how open those doors.

Lobodeb
12-27-2006, 12:45 PM
He obviously did need help, or he probably wouldn't have asked.

But, there are scammers out there trying to make a quick buck who ruin it for people who really need help and sadly, I'll never know.

momoffuzzyfaces
12-27-2006, 12:57 PM
But, there are scammers out there trying to make a quick buck who ruin it for people who really need help and sadly, I'll never know.
He could just have easily waited for a man to stop at that light and ask him for help. If he didn't have any money for gas, why was he driving a car that would need some? Something's not quiet right here.

Laura's Babies
12-27-2006, 01:01 PM
I make it a habit not to help beggers like that. The few times I have, I watched them afterwards and they did not use the money in the way they asked for.

Edwina's Secretary
12-27-2006, 01:10 PM
I've met him.....twice. The first time I gave him money and realized immediately I had been taken. The second time...when he was in the very same spot with the very same story.... I called the police. I was not the first to call about him.

When I gave him a five dollar bill he told me it was not enough....he stood on the off ramp from the Edens....

I was so angry that I allowed myself to be taken....

cassiesmom
12-27-2006, 01:35 PM
I think it's very sad that you left him without any help simply because you perceived some insult in what I would have interpreted as him just trying to break the ice and alleviate any nervousness you might have. I'd be a bit nervous for any man to approach me in my car alone,but if he had come to me and said that I'd have smiled and laughed and said he's not scary to me and helped him. Helping our fellow man shouldn't be conditional, especially since he happened to choose words that he may not have meant in the way you took them at all, but that's my opinion.

What's sad is that he felt the need to stereotype himself that way- as a big, scary, black man who would be perceived as a potential risk by a female in a car.

The unfortunate reality is that word gets around among panhandlers and soon you end up being asked for help by many because you helped one. Lobodeb, you did right.

JenBKR
12-27-2006, 01:37 PM
I've met him.....twice. The first time I gave him money and realized immediately I had been taken. The second time...when he was in the very same spot with the very same story.... I called the police. I was not the first to call about him.

When I gave him a five dollar bill he told me it was not enough....he stood on the off ramp from the Edens....

I was so angry that I allowed myself to be taken....


You mean you know the exact same guy? Did he say the same thing to you?

Edwina's Secretary
12-27-2006, 01:51 PM
You mean you know the exact same guy? Did he say the same thing to you?

Yes...when I lived in Chicago...same line....

and I was ashamed because I was frighten by this man standing on the off-ramp...and I gave him money and then more when he said it wasn't enough...within 10 seconds I knew I had been conned. He appealed to my racial fears and my shame for those fears....and he profited from it.

The second time I was angrier and not afraid.

krazyaboutkatz
12-27-2006, 01:58 PM
I don't care who it is or what they look like because I won't give them anything. I also won't even roll down my window. I just don't trust any of them. It always seems like they target me even in broad daylight when there are many other people around. I just tell them that I'm sorry but I can't help them and leave it at that.

Karen
12-27-2006, 02:02 PM
Yes...when I lived in Chicago...same line....

and I was ashamed because I was frighten by this man standing on the off-ramp...and I gave him money and then more when he said it wasn't enough...within 10 seconds I knew I had been conned. He appealed to my racial fears and my shame for those fears....and he profited from it.

The second time I was angrier and not afraid.

Okay, Lobodeb - time to contact a local newspaper or better yet, TV station, and tell them about this con artists. Have them do an exposée!

ramanth
12-27-2006, 02:11 PM
I was taken in by an elderly looking woman. I was putting gas in my car and she came up to me saying her car had run out of gas a few blocks away and she had no money. I gave her $20 like the fool I am. I should of given her .35 for the pay phone.

Never again.

K9soul
12-27-2006, 03:12 PM
I know nothing about whether he was a con artist or if he's the same man conning others. I went by the info from the first post with my response when it was stated the only reason the man was not given help was because of what he said, stated that she would have helped him but because he said those words she didn't. He could have been joking or lighthearted, he could have really been someone in need and was just trying to break the ice. Not everyone is totally PC in how they speak or say things. I've been around a lot of people who have different ways of communicating and different senses of humor and to make a snap judgments and assumptions because of the words used is what bothered me and what I found sad.

Twisterdog
12-27-2006, 03:13 PM
Flame me if you will, but here's my take on this:

First of all, it sounds like a bit of a canned line to me. Only someone with practice at panhandling, approaching cars, etc. would even think of that line, IMO. Most of us ... big, small, black, white, whatever ... don't think of things like that, we just say, "Excuse me.", "Pardon me.", "I'm sorry to bother you ...", etc. It sounds to me like he used that line to elicit just the response it did from you - surprise, shock, pity. It threw you off balance and made you think, "Hey, wait, I'm not racist. I'm not like that. I'm not what you think ... maybe you're not what I think, either." I know that sounds cynical, but having lived in large cities, I've seen a bit of this exact thing.

Secondly, if he was an upstanding citizen, and truly just ran out of gas, I do not honestly think he would be approaching cars like that. Especially a car driven by a woman. If you ran out of gas and had left your wallet at home, or even had no money for some reason, would you honestly walk up to a car window at a stop light and ask for help? That thought would never cross my mind. I would use my cell phone, use a phone in a business office, use a pay phone (surely he had a single quarter) to call myy friend, my boss, my roommate, my spouse, the police department, etc. I can tell you with complete certainty my husband or father or brother, if they ran out of gas and had no money on them, would NEVER walk up to a car stopped at a stop light with the window rolled up, driven by a woman, and ask her for help. Would any man any of you know do this? The ONLY people I've ever seen in my life walk up to cars were panhandlers or people selling newpapers, flowers, etc. That's simply not a "normal" way of getting help when you run out of gas.

I personally think you did the right thing by driving away. The situation does not sound at all to me like an upstanding citizen who simply ran out of gas.

We all feel sympathy and pity for the homeless, the poor, the addicts sleeping on street corners. I've bought food for people, and pet food for their pets before. But honestly, the best way to help people like that is to donate to organizations that help them in larger ways ... providing shelters, soup kitchens, drug and alcohol programs, etc. Homelessness, addiction, poverty are big problems, and the best solutions are big solutions, funded by small donations.

IRescue452
12-27-2006, 03:23 PM
We've got several cases in the area of people claiming their car broke down and trying to get money from people. I wouldn't have opened my window much for anybody of any race. I get in the car, door gets locked, I go.

Pam
12-27-2006, 03:34 PM
We've got several cases in the area of people claiming their car broke down and trying to get money from people. I wouldn't have opened my window much for anybody of any race. I get in the car, door gets locked, I go.

I have quickly scanned the responses and agree totally with this one. First of all with a cell phone he certainly does not need help from strangers.

Once I was broken down and waiting for AAA. A man approached my car and asked if he could help (talked to me through my window glass). He started the conversation with "you probably think I am a rapist" and sort of smiled and then asked if he could help. I didn't put my window down for two reasons: (1) the car had electric windows and my car was dead so I couldn't put the window down, if I wanted to and (2) I was not opening the door or window to anyone.....green, blue, orange or spotted! :p You did good. Scammers and creeps come in ALL colors. Better safe than sorry.

Ginger's Mom
12-27-2006, 03:41 PM
Some of the comments on here are very interesting. I think a lot of the different perceptions come, of course, from our different experiences. I agree with most of those who have said that they would have believed that the person had some sort of "scam" or ulterior motive in his approaching Lobodeb. But then I am a big city girl, and have seen it all too often. At this point in my life my response would be to tell him that I would be happy to call the police and have them send someone around to assist him. I wouldn't necessarily leave someone in honest need out in the cold as it were, but I would not take the responsibility for this unknown person's welfare on my own.

Also, I found it interesting, I thought ES was speaking in more general terms, meaning she had encountered someone like him, not had actually (perhaps) had encountered the same person. Thanks for clarifying that Jen and Sara.

momoffuzzyfaces
12-27-2006, 04:11 PM
What I find interesting is most people seem more worried about hurting someone's feelings rather than staying safe. Maybe it's because I'm from a smaller town where we don't have much pan handling going on but we do have cases of people disappearing only to end up dead in a field or river somewhere. To me there is not even a question in my mind what I would do.

Guess it's all perspective. :)

lizbud
12-27-2006, 04:23 PM
What I find interesting is most people seem more worried about hurting someone's feelings rather than staying safe.



That's very true. Women more so than men I think.

cassiesmom
12-27-2006, 04:34 PM
Flame me if you will, but here's my take on this:

We all feel sympathy and pity for the homeless, the poor, the addicts sleeping on street corners. I've bought food for people, and pet food for their pets before. But honestly, the best way to help people like that is to donate to organizations that help them in larger ways ... providing shelters, soup kitchens, drug and alcohol programs, etc. Homelessness, addiction, poverty are big problems, and the best solutions are big solutions, funded by small donations.


absolutely
Lots of people and lots of need in the world.


Twisterdog, what is a flame?

Luvin Labs
12-27-2006, 04:53 PM
But, there are scammers out there trying to make a quick buck who ruin it for people who really need help and sadly, I'll never know.

This is exactly why I won't help anyone unless I know them. I know that is bad when someone is in true need of help (if anything I'd call AAA for them or something, but no money leaves my pocket). Who is to say that the guy was lying and only wanted a few bucks for drugs or alcohol or sex?

Who is to say that he IS a bad man (no matter what color he is) and would have tried something once he did get 'help'?


A simple "excuse me" would have worked just fine. He was nicely dressed and had a pretty fancy cell phone that he was waving around. There wasn't much he needed from me that I could give him based on his appearance.

Yeah, scammer. He could have called people on his cell phone in order to get help instead of coming up to someone in a car at a light. He gets your money, you realize you have been had, light goes green, horns honk, you are obligated to move, if you go around to find him he's gone like THAT.

If anything, I'd have gone and bought a gallon or two of gas and come back to see where he was 'stranded'.

Good job.

lizbud
12-27-2006, 05:02 PM
When I gave him a five dollar bill he told me it was not enough....he stood on the off ramp from the Edens....

I was so angry that I allowed myself to be taken....


I can't believe the gall. $5.00 was NOT ENOUGH??? Geeeze.

Pam
12-27-2006, 05:58 PM
What I find interesting is most people seem more worried about hurting someone's feelings rather than staying safe. Maybe it's because I'm from a smaller town where we don't have much pan handling going on but we do have cases of people disappearing only to end up dead in a field or river somewhere. To me there is not even a question in my mind what I would do.

Guess it's all perspective. :)

MOFF I agree with you completely. I love Court-TV and Forensic Files in particular. I think it is fascinating how sophisticated the methods have become to catch a killer but that's beside the point. So many people have met tragic ends by being nice to strangers. We can all still help by notifying the police or in some other way. Some of the most horrific killers looked like nice guys and were very polite.

Miss Z
12-27-2006, 06:12 PM
To me, he sounded a con artist, definitely. It's sad, but the world is full of them. I believe you did the right thing by driving away, it was the safest thing to do.

TamanduaGirl
12-27-2006, 07:14 PM
I was actually expecting this post was going to be by someone who considered themselves a big scary black man, lol, would have been interesting. Not that it isn't but I've nothing new to add.

joycenalex
12-27-2006, 07:55 PM
I've met him.....twice. ....
the same type of scam has been run here in columbus at me, too. don't open a door/window, stay safe. his feelings will recover, there are other people out there to scam.

Daisy and Delilah
12-27-2006, 08:07 PM
I am also pretty intrigued by the responses in this thread.

I live in an area of the country that is dominated by tourist trade. With that, comes a very high crime rate. We're warned frequently, by the media, about local operational scam networks. We have con artists and panhandlers all over the place. Most of us are afraid to unlock our car doors, no matter where we go, much less, open our windows to a stranger.

I think it's all about location and fear. I would love to help anybody that needs help but, around here, we must be aware of what might happen and act accordingly.

Lobodeb: In your case, if the man appeared to be legit, I would have taken his comment as an icebreaker too. I would think of him as a person that didn't know any other way to communicate, possibly.

However, I also feel that he could have used other means to solve his problem rather than walking up to a woman's car like he did.

Twisterdog
12-27-2006, 11:19 PM
Twisterdog, what is a flame?

Sometimes when you post a strong opinion, that may not be the popular opinion voiced in a thread, lot of people respond negatively to it. "Flame" is just an internet term for getting criticized, perhaps rather harshly, for your opinion. It honestly doesn't happen much here, this is a pretty nice board.

finn's mom
12-28-2006, 08:55 AM
Wow. The comments on this are fascinating. I don't think I would have rolled my window down in the first place. But, if I had, I don't think I would have taken his comment as a practiced line or as an insult. I've actually had men say that to me...not just black men, but, large guys in general. I had a situation where a big tattooed, leather jacket wearing scruffy guy came up and asked me to dance at a place I was at with my parents. He said almost the same thing "I know I'm a big scary tattooed guy, but, I just want to dance." I thought it was funny...and, in a situation such as the one being discussed in this thread, had I already rolled my window down, I probably would have smiled at the "big, scary, black man". But, again, I live in Dallas, I wouldn't have rolled my window down in the first place. For anyone. And, honestly, I have driven my car with the low fuel light already blinking, knowing that if I ran out of gas before getting to work, I would have been in trouble, because I had zero money. I don't know what I would have done if I'd run out of gas, but, I don't think I could have gone up to people's cars like that...

cassiesmom
12-28-2006, 04:18 PM
Sometimes when you post a strong opinion, that may not be the popular opinion voiced in a thread, lot of people respond negatively to it. "Flame" is just an internet term for getting criticized, perhaps rather harshly, for your opinion. It honestly doesn't happen much here, this is a pretty nice board.


Okay, got it, thank you!

moosmom
12-28-2006, 05:41 PM
He had a cell phone. He could have called a buddy or the auto club or something or even a policeman would have helped him

That was my first reaction. I also don't open my window to ANYONE, regardless of their race, creed or nationality. WAY to many weirdos out there.

sirrahved
12-29-2006, 08:29 AM
I assume anyone who DOES start a conversation like that IS a psychomurderer!

trayi52
12-29-2006, 09:33 AM
I agree with Twisterdog. However, I have went and bought food and gave to the homeless, just as my daughter and her husband have done. I don't do it unless my husband is in the car with me though. I would be afraid to stop for any reason if I was alone.

I do think you done the right thing.

Willie

cyber-sibes
12-30-2006, 12:23 AM
Lobodeb, I would probably have driven off too. If the guy had a cell phone, why the heck was he approaching you, especially if he thought you might be afraid of him? AAA brings a gallon of gas to you if you run out - did he think somehow you were going to do more than that? Like give him a ride? NOT.

I got approached at a rest stop on the highway once by an older man who seemed very sweet and had a long story about having car trouble on his way to his son's wedding out of town. He wanted whatever money I could "spare". I went inside the rest room and called my husband - I was going to give this guy like $45 or $50...my husband flipped out & said no way - it's a con! I felt pretty stupid, but at least I didn't give him any money. He saw a woman traveling alone & figured I would be easy prey, I guess.

Pam
12-30-2006, 05:56 AM
I got approached at a rest stop on the highway once by an older man who seemed very sweet and had a long story about having car trouble on his way to his son's wedding out of town.

Oh my gosh that whole scenario would have scared the [email protected] out of me!! Your last statement about *being easy prey* was scary in more ways than one. Good girl for going inside and calling your hubby!

sheltiemama
12-30-2006, 06:52 AM
Ok lets see if I have this right? You didn't help him because he gave you the impression that he wanted more than just a few bucks for gas?

Hey ladies, there are real dangers out there in the world. We hear about them all the time. The thought "it won't happen to me" is very dangerous for all of us. DON'T stop for anyone if you are alone in your car. Keep your car doors locked at all times and never stop (even for a flashing light behind you) if you are in a low lighted deserted area. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you have a police officer behind you and that you are going to go to a lighted parking lot before you stop. You won't get into trouble for it and you will protect yourself if this flashing light is not a cop. This is the age of cell phones. If someone legitimately needs help offer to call the cops for him... Call a wrecker, Call someone just don't put yourself in jeopardy in the process..

Judy

Sophist
12-31-2006, 02:32 PM
Sounds very scammy, and sorry, folks, but it does strike me as a line practiced to throw people off kilter and make them feel like they have something to prove. I worked at a gas station right off of a freeway during highschool, and we saw stuff like this a lot. Black peddlars/scammers relied heavily on the race card. Some that come to mind were "Don't be scared. I am black, not wanted. Sometimes there is a difference." and "You know, a black man really can't catch a break in a white Cali town." The second one was pretty funny, because whites made up less than 10% of the population of the town, and it still worked on people.

Then again, white men also used similar lines just for size or gender, even young white women came up with something self-deprecating that put you in the defensive, where people felt like they had to PROVE to this person they weren't closeminded, judgemental, and prejudiced. Nearly all of these people were angling for gas money, but very few spent it on that. One gentleman would get gas money, set the pump, put the nozzle in his car but wouldn't start it, and then profusely thank the giver until they finally drove off. Then he would come back inside for us to cancel the gas money, pocket the gas, and head back outside.

I also have to echo a sentiment already found throughout this thread: Don't roll your window down for anybody!

TamanduaGirl
12-31-2006, 03:45 PM
One time I was driving home from a show and it was real late like 2am on a Sunday or some odd day so no one anywhere in site but was nearly home and just entering out neighborhood when some guy jumps out in front of the car waving his arms like he needed help. No way I was stopping under those cercumstances with just me and another lady in he car.

I changed lanes and he moved in front of the car again. I had to slow down at which point my passenger started yelling at me not to stop, lol. Actualy my out plan was to go over the curbe and drive on the wrong side of the road since there was no traffic and we had made it over curbs before and this one was short. But I managed to squeeze past him without doing so and he hit the side of the car and yelled at us.

Oh he also had somethig in his hand it looked like it cold have been a wallet but in the dark it could have been a gun or wallet too since couldn't really see it just that it was something.

Like I said we weren't far from home but far enough he couldn't have followed us and called the cops soon as we got home and explained everything. They sent them and then let us know they found him and were dealing with it. I never did find out if he actualy had a problem or was trying to cause one.

areias
01-02-2007, 12:59 AM
Agreed-I never roll the window down for anyone, nor do I give money to anyone. Under normal circumstances, I may listen to what the person has to say, and give a response-usually directions to somewhere. I have given a cigarette to someone once (I know what that's like!) and I threw an unopened bottle of water towards someone standing by the off ramp by my house, but I would never physically get out of my car for someone. The only time I ever somewhat did was to someone who I saw blow a tire, and then watched him get out and look very upset-I asked him if he needed anything, and he looked very relieved after he used my cell phone. Nowadays I never go ANYWHERE without my cell phone, and I have a car charger, just in case of anything. The technology is there-even if you have to buy a prepaid one for emergencies, its always a good idea to have one.

I think we had a thread on this before, but I don't give to homeless people either. They make more an hour than I do! And I had my own house and everything...I've watched them take the pot that they are collecting money in and pocket it, and put the pot back with just a few coins left in it. There was one guy my friend stopped to talk to in St. Pete...he sang us a song, looked like Hank Jr. :) My friend threw him some money. Right after she gave him money, he reached around <to his leather briefcase behind him> and pulled out a joint and a beer. Yeah bud, you really need money. :rolleyes:

Don't forget-it's not always men. A lot of times it can be women too.

Logan
01-02-2007, 02:22 PM
On Christmas Day, I drove my daughter to meet her dad. It was about an hour's drive from my home. On my way back, around 1:30 pm or so, the interstate was backed up. When I arrived at the scene that caused the backup, I pulled over onto the left median, as no one else had stopped and there was a car sitting in the middle of the highway and no law enforcement there, no nothing.....all I could think was that this was Christmas Day and here is a wrecked car with 3 human beings inside (that's what I could see) and not one car out of hundreds had even stopped to see if they were ok.

I did not approach the car, as so many cars were passing on either side of it. But I could detect that there were 3 people inside. I kept yelling, "are you ok?", to no avail. No one stopped. Finally, one car pulled over and asked if I needed help and I explained the situation (that I was not involved in the accident, but that I was concerned for the people in the car). The guy driving pulled over, but he told me that he felt it was a "fishy" situation, with 3 males in the car and no one saying anything. Right about that time, an ambulance came towards us in the emergency lane, and the guy who had stopped drove off. One of the paramedics asked me if I was ok, and I told him I certainly was, but I was worried about the people in the vehicle. He assured me that they would handle it and that I could move on. I did.

When I got home, I was in tears. I told my husband, Scott, that it just broke my heart that on Christmas Day, not one soul could stop to make sure those people were ok, other than me. It could have been drunk driving, drugs, etc. Who knows? I didn't do anything good in that situation, but I certainly wanted to.

But, given the same situation as described in the original post, here, I could not/would not have lowered my window, either. :( Its sort of a sad statement, isn't it????

Logan