Washington, DC

Dear PoP

Hey PoP,
Around 11 PM last night, a man came to our front door asking for money.

He knocked, and I opened the door. He explained he needed cab fare to get to his parents (who are apparently our across-the-street neighbors, the Smiths (Ed note: name changed by PoP) who were in a car crash and in the hospital located in PG County. Though I should have ended this conversation immediately (feeling like a heel at this point for opening the door in the first place), I went to get my roommate.

Unfortunately, my roommate was generous enough to slip this man $40. Though I don’t think my roommate expects to see the money again, I almost expect to see that man again.

Have you encountered anything like this in our neighborhood? Any thoughts, advice, etc? I feel slightly inclined to call the
non-emergency number in hopes they might have someone keep an eye out on our block for a little while. The more I think about this, the closer to 100% certain I am that his story was complete and utter crap…

I’m having visions of someone sneaking up behind me on my way to my front door and pulling a knife on me for my wallet. Please let me know what you think about this.



Response after the jump.

Dear Concerned,

First and foremost I am sorry to hear that have been put in this situation. But as far as personal safety is concerned I think you will be 100% ok. I’ve had people make up these stories to me near the metro quite frequently and I too believe it is probably totally BS. In the future I definitely wouldn’t give him or anyone else who comes to your home money at 11pm. But I really think that’s all it is. I don’t think this person will rob anyone. I think you can call 311 and report it if it will make you feel more comfortable. They probably can’t do anything but it could be good to have it on record. I suppose it is possible that he is telling the truth. Have you ever seen him before? Can you ask any of your neighbors if they’ve seen him before or know if the Smiths have a son? Keep your porch light on if you have one. Again, sorry to hear about the trouble this is causing but I think the guy just got $40 and is of no harm to anyone.


So what do you guys think? Would you have given $40 at 11pm? Do you think the story is sincere? I know you want to do the right thing in that situation but sometimes you have to err on the side of safety. What’s your advice?


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