I really never even thought about this happening. Now that it has, I kind of wish it would happen again so I could say the right thing.
I was out front with the boys this evening. We were waiting for Bret and then we were going to go on an evening family walk. Perfect weather for it tonight.
Three girls came skipping up to the house and one said ever so politely, "excuse me?" I'd put them somewhere between the ages of 9 and 11.
I said, "Yes?"
Spokesgirl said, "We're trying to raise money for a charity with our school. Do you have any money?"
I said, "What's the charity?"
They all looked at each other at which point I noticed that the only thing they seemed to have with them was an unsharpened pencil instead of the usually vast amounts of fliers and forms that kids in fundraisers carry around, and then the girl who appeared to be the oldest said, "It's like a child care thing."
At which point all I could think was, "Um...weird. Please get off my lawn." And all I said was, "I don't have any cash on me. Good luck."
As they jogged off to the neighbors' house, something clicked and I thought, "Oh, no way!" I pushed it off as just an insane possibility that my pessimistic brain thought up. But as I related the story to Bret I thought that my pessimistic brain wasn't so far off. He was quite confident that such was the case.
I feel sick to my stomach about the whole thing. What kid that young comes up with such a conniving, dishonest, horrible idea?! "I need some money. I know, I'll go tell my neighbors I'm raising money for a charity." What?!
Part of me wishes I could go back and have everything click into place while they were still in front of me. Such a circumstance would open up worlds of possibilities. I could have called them on the lie right then and given them a sharp lesson in honesty before following them home to tell their parents what they'd done. I could have led them on and on in it an seen if at least one would break under the pressure of trying to create more lies before laying into them about what a despicable thing they were doing. Bret says I should have scared them with threats of calling the police.
Could-a, should-a, would-a, right?
Sadly, I really think such lessons would have fallen on deaf ears.
So. Next time some innocent looking kids come to your door asking for help with their fundraiser, make sure they're legitimate. If they can't prove it, give 'em what-fer for being so despicably dishonest.