A few weeks ago, a man pulled into my driveway as I was coming home from work. He said that he had just lost his job and could he mow my lawn for $20. I only had a change jar for cash in the house, so I doled out $20 in quarters and gave it to him. He asked if I had any more money, so I gave him the whole change jar. After he left, I felt good that I was able to help someone down on his luck and forgot about it.
The next day, he came back saying that he had a flat tire, and could I give any money to get it fixed. I said that I really didn’t have a lot of money, but he persisted, so I drove over to the ATM and got $40 out for him. After he left, I felt a little used because of his persistence, but thought that would be the end of it.
Two days later, he came back saying that he was desperate, and needed money to pay back a debt. I again told him that I don’t have a lot of money, but he persisted even more, so I again drove to the ATM machine and gave him $60. I felt bad that I was being a chump, but figured that was really the end of it.
The next night at 11:21PM, I was awakened by a pounding on my front door. The lawnmower man was back. This time, he needed money for his sick father, and he could pay me back over the weekend. I really didn’t want to go out that late, but he was more persistent than ever, and I eventually gave in and drove to the ATM and gave him $80. I felt sleepy and mad that I’d given in to him, but figured that must be the end of it.
The next weekend, he came back, but instead of paying me back, he asked for more money. I refused, even as he persisted, until eventually, he asked if he could just mow my lawn for $20. After he finished mowing my lawn, I went to the ATM with him in the car, and got $20 out. He then asked if I would like to buy his lawnmower. I’ve seen those Briggs&Strattons at stores for about $200 so I finally agreed. As he pulled it out of his car, he might have been pulling out a baby seal for all the whining he did. He even talked to it, reminiscing on all the lawns they’d mowed together and how much he would miss it. I figured he’d be back.
Later that afternoon, he came back asking if he could borrow the mower to make some money cutting lawns and he would return it later that day. I figured it was worth losing the mower just be rid of him, so I let him take it. I figured that no one with an ounce of self respect would come back after that.
Last night, he came back. This time, he made a great show of the tooth he’d just lost, and thrust a pewter cross on a chain into my hands. He just needed $20 to get to the dentist. I made up a story about some medical bills and resolutely refused to give him any more money, saying that it didn’t matter what he said, my checking account was in the red. It’s the first time he’s left with nothing to show. He said he’d come back today to mow my lawn… with MY mower I guess. I figure I’m going to get another unwelcome knock on my door today.