as i was driving away from the gym this evening, a waif of a woman – older, well-dressed, bejewelled (she said her name is jan, she’s from a dance-background, will be 60 in december, lives on a plot the other side of edenvale) frantically tapped on my window and stopped me in traffic, asking for a ride. she spun me a story about her car being towed and costing R2000 and how her card was maxed out and she now needed R150 for cab-fare back to edenvale or could i drop her at the gautrain.
as south africans we are so used to people trying to do us in/rob us, that i immediately was wary. it smelled like just another con. especially when she started talking about how she still needs to get pre-paid electricity and cat-food. long story short – i was holding up traffic and my front-seat was full, so i told her to hop in the back and that i would drive out of my way to drop her off on empire road where she said she could catch a mini-bus taxi if i would give her the money for it. which is what i did. she asked if i could draw R150 for her and she’d leave her ID with me so she could come back and repay me, but leary of the con, i told i couldn’t do that and instead gave her R20.
with the sky grey above us, and another jozi storm imminent, i dropped her off just shy of empire road and she gave me a hug before getting out and we went our different ways.
and as i drove away i felt so guilty. i felt like the antithesis of the good samaritan and part of me wanted to turn around and find her and at least give her R100 so she could find her way home. but i didn’t. and now i can’t stop thinking about that waif of a woman who told me that she was “gedaan”, somewhere on the side of the road. and i hope she’s ok and finds her way. and i feel like, even if it was a con, i should have given her the money. and i feel that somehow, as a human being, today, i failed.
update: i also posted this on fb and a friend commented – She sounds suspiciously like a woman that was hanging around the petrol station on Oxford with the same story… so maybe my instincts were right. but still…