She Asked For Help, then Exploded

“Can you take me to get my medication?” Janice asked me a few weeks ago. (This is an alias.)

I agreed, telling her I could take her a little later that afternoon. When I pulled up in front of her house, I chatted with her upstairs neighbors for a bit. The lady – who had also come asking for food one time – gave me a packet of bean seeds for the garden.

Soon, we saw Janice puffing down the sidewalk toward us.

“Katrina!” she hollered at me from half a block away. She could tell I was talking to her neighbors on the porch. “Don’t have anything to do with those people.”

Instead, I ignored her comment, said a pleasant good-bye to the neighbors, and got behind the driver’s seat.

She jumped into the car. As we drove off, she explained that she had been trying to get some money for the co-pay on the medications we were going to pick up. I’ll say it was $15, although my memory is shaky.

“You have a co-pay?” I asked. I didn’t remember anything like that from her previous visits.

“Yes,” she said. “If you give me $15, I’ll pay you back next week when Bill gets paid.”

“Okay,” I said. “Well, you can go in and see if they will give you the medication. If they don’t, I can come in and pay it for you.”

She exploded.

“I don’t want anyone holding my hand!” she snarled. “Why would you have to come in with me? Why are you treating me like a child?”

Never mind that I had gone in with her previously to wait on something.

How would you respond?

Well, I hate to leave you on a cliffhanger too often, but I really would like to get some feedback from you. I got the idea from my brother, who posts accounting questions on his LinkedIn newsletter.

I also want to leave this with you to remind you of the true complexity of people’s requests. Jesus knew the hearts of everyone, but we do not. We are forced to go with what we can see and hear. We are forced to face the fact that the best way of loving someone isn’t always obvious or smooth.

Also, I need ideas for the future!

I’ll follow up with the rest of the story next week, after I hear your feedback. If you don’t want to comment, but want to email me directly, shoot me an email. However, Marnell is taking me on a little birthday excursion (I don’t even know where we are going, so it’s quite exciting) and I may not be able to reply to all emails. So don’t be offended if I don’t reply!

P.S.: I am actively streamlining my blog delivery system to one platform. If you receive these posts by email, your email may look slightly different in the upcoming weeks, but should let you read the blog in much the same way. Thanks for your patience!

23 thoughts on “She Asked For Help, then Exploded”

  1. Well probably after I’ve stopped crying ( I’m a very sensitive lady) I would tell her that you are only concerned and wanted to make sure she got her medicine.
    Let her know you care and that if the situation were reversed she would probably make sure you got your medicine.

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      No kidding – these situations are highly emotional! And I like the reversed situation idea.

  2. My husband was at the gas station one day and somebody he knew asked him for bread, so he bought him a loaf , that same day he came in again and the cashier was apologetic and told him the man got a refund for the bread and then bought beer or some kind of drink. (He knew my husband wouldn’t buy him beer) Guess the cashier didn’t think about it right away, but felt bad about it, when they remembered how it came about. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to help, but if she got that offended, she might have had something else in mind to do with it.

  3. Because I rarely have cash on me, I would say I have to go in and pay with my card.
    You are so generous. Much like your cousin, who I’m married to. 😏😉

  4. You could calmly say, “I’m trying to help you out and it hurts my feelings when you explode at me for the way I’m trying to help.”
    I really doubt she was upset at you. Something else was bugging her & you got the blast.

  5. I had a somewhat similar situation recently where someone was asking for money for a hospital bill, but was highly offended when I said that I would need to go with them to the hospital to pay the bill and would not just hand over the money. I don’t remember how the whole conversation went, but it wasn’t real pretty or enjoyable and I certainly didn’t feel like I knew how I should respond to her. But the short version is that I explained her choices were either no money or me going to the hospital with her. It became fairly obvious over the course of the interaction that if I had handed money to her it would not have went towards the hospital bill at all. I guess I have become rather untrusting from too many people lying to me, but my first thought was that probably there wasn’t a co-pay and so that is why she didn’t want you going in with her. So, I don’t know how I would have responded, but pretty definitely would have stuck to the going in with her.

  6. One way I often respond if people push for something I’m not offering (most common: money, not food), I simply say that xxx is what I’m happy to give, but if they don’t want it, that’s okay. It’s always more effective to shift attention to their actions and role, not yours. That said, after almost two years of these interactions, I still tense up about how it will go or what to say. Theories are tidy. People are not.

  7. It’s hard for non-Christians to understand that IT IS NOT OUR MONEY! We are stewards and we are expected to use our resources wisely and will someday give account for what we’ve done with them. As I said, THEY WILL NOT UNDERSTAND! : ( I REALLY liked the idea of paying with a card so you need to sign for the purchase. That will hopefully eliminate the possibility of “returns”.

  8. I don’t know… maybe I would have given her about half the amount that she asked for and then see what happens…and go from there…🤷‍♀️

  9. I don’t know if she would have been able to articulate it, but would it have helped to ask her why your coming in made her feel like a child?
    Honestly, Katrina, I have no idea, but somehow when people try to understand me when I am upset instead of trying to fix me, it helps.

  10. With that type of response, I would think that she really just wanted some cash to spend on something else. If she truly needed that money, she should have been happy that you were helping no matter what form it took.

    I would stick with the option you gave her.

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