That's exactly the way I feel, hockeyfan. And I was hoping that maybe someone could shed some light on the situation I've been dealing with, but it appears unique to our neighborhood, at least for now.
I had a young man come to my door a month or so ago, telling me that both of his parents were dead (one of them a few years ago, the other just a few months ago) and that he'd been living in a room with weekly rent, but he'd run out of money and was effectively out on the streets. He said he was a really hard worker and wanted to know if I had anything he could do to earn a few bucks.
Normally, if someone comes to my door uninvited, I send them on their way pretty quickly. Something about this kid reminded me of one of my sons, who is currently in Philly and has himself fallen on a few hard times when I've been eight hours away from being able to easily help him.
I asked the kid his name and he told me it was Joe. I asked him how old he was and he said he was 19. I paid him $25 to mow and edge (that hadn't been done in more than a year) my yard. He did a fantastic job and offered to stay and help me sweep. He thanked me profusely. I gave him a bottle of water and he headed off down the street.
I was haunted by this kid for days afterward, trying to decide if he'd been lying to me or not and if I should have tried to find out more information about him. A few weeks later, he came back, but I had just spent a chunk of money on fixing my car, so I couldn't help him out. He showed up again a few weeks after that, and I paid him $15 to cut the grass.
I tried to get him talking a bit. I asked whether he'd looked into social services. He said he had, but that he needed his birth certificate and social security card to get an ID, which he had to have before he could apply for any benefits.
He's been back twice since then, but I've been home alone both times so I haven't opened the door. I'm part of that jaded world mentioned earlier. My house was broken into a year ago and I don't trust anyone I don't know.
And I really don't mind helping him out. He's really not scamming me, as he is actually working for the cash I pay him. But I would be pretty pissed off if I found out his story was a lie.
It's plausible to me. I talked to my kids about it. They lost their dad when they were nine. If something had happened to me when they were barely legal adults, they would have felt lost. I have made certain they have those important documents that this kid says he's missing, but I can easily see the remaining parent neglecting to think of those things, especially if he or she was dealing with an illness.
Part of me is hesitant to post this, lest you all think I'm a naive fool. And part of me is glad that I still give a rat's ass about people enough to possibly be a naive fool. Either way, I guess I'm interested in others' thoughts. Sorry for the length of this post.