There is not, nor should there be, much difference between a twelve and thirty-one year-old in terms of dealing with strangers. I certainly believed this when I had stopped in a McDonalds for ice cream on the way to work last week.
While I was waiting for my order, some scraggily old guy walked up to me.
“I want you to have this.” He proceeds to shove a two dollar bill in my face.
“Uh… no thank you,” I replied.
There were children waiting for their Happy Meals, so I couldn’t say, “Because Fuck Off”, so I settled for, “Have a nice day sir.”
The guy slinked off and I only encountered him once on my way out. He told me to have a nice day, in the same tone you would use to tell someone, “Well I thought I was brilliant.”
I personally know a lot of people who, on hearing this story, will say, “I would have just taken it.”
To them I ask you this. If my twelve year-old sister had told me the same story, how would you have reacted if she took a two dollar bill from some strange man? Being in a public place or not, I would seriously hope your reaction would be one of anger and if not, don’t ever have kids, period.
Here’s the other side of the coin. I had no idea where that bill came from or what he had done with it before hand. For all I know, this is a guy who gets off on sticking dollar bills down his pants and then seeing who he can get to take them. In either case, I feel as though I was the smarter man for not taking the two dollar gamble.