Knock Knock, Who’s There?

Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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When the doorbell rings at 7:30 in the morning at our house..followed by a rapid knock on the first instinct is that something is very wrong; there’s been an accident or the house is on fire..something like that.
Usually, I’m just waking up at that hour but this morning I had to go out of town early so I was awake and dressed.
My stomach was in knots with worry over the horrible news that awaited me on the other side of the door. When I opened it, though, I didn’t recognize the tall man standing there. He explained that he was a cement contractor about to do a driveway in our neighborhood when he ran out of gas..pointing to his old pick-up truck with some signage on the door parked across the street. He explained his plight and wondered if I could spare a few dollars so he could get some fuel. He promised to pay it back.
I wanted to yell, “Do you have any idea how you scared the crap out of me..banging on my door at this hour?”
But I didn’t.
In fact, and I’m not sure if it was out of compassion or fear, but I handed him ten bucks to which he said, “Thank’s a lot for helping me out, I’ll get it back to you.”
I saw him pull a red gas can out of his pickup and head up the street to the station. Ten minutes later, as I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed his pick-up was gone.
Will I ever see this guy or my ten dollars again or was I the latest victim (read that, “sucker”) in a unique door to door money scam?
Are my doubts complicated because the man happened to be African American? 
Just a minute, somebody’s at the door.
Well, I’ll be’s now 11 a.m. and  It was the same guy.
I’m sure I looked stunned as he smiled..handed me two fives and thanked me again for the early morning emergency loan.
It’s left me with a lot to think about old prejudices and stereotypes that seem part of my genetic makeup no matter how hard I try to shake them off and move on.
But let’s face it. Nobody trusts anybody these days. We tend to expect the worst in people..especially if they’re different from us in religion, culture or race.
All I can tell you is that my expectations of being made a fool of by this man have, instead, made me feel foolish.
A bit of light on a dark and dreary day.   

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