Tonight, during dinner, there was a knock at the door. I got up to answer, and there was a woman there, arms full of (ugly) teddy bears.
"I'm out tonight selling teddy bears to help out little 8-year-old Brenda Berlin who was hit by an uninsured driver up on 220th. We're raising money to help cover her medical bills" she said.
I contemplated. There was about a 50% chance that this woman was a big fat liar and was just scamming people. I hadn't heard about a little girl getting hit in our neighborhood. I asked for more details.
"Well her pelvis was fractured and she'll be in a cast for a long time. Her mother doesn't have any health insurance, and so we're out here tonight raising money to help cover Brenda's care."
Hmm. Uninsured mother. Big medical bills. Injured child. Stupid driver on a cell phone. Either she's telling me a really tragic story of a family in need, or she's telling me a huge tearjerker of a lie because she can tell I sometimes cry at commercials.
"Okay," I said, knowing full well that Brenda may not exist. But on the off chance that she did exist, that there was a scared mother and a hurt child in a hospital somewhere... "Here's $10. You can hang on to the bear."
Sure enough, after the woman left, I googled Brenda Berlin. Nothing. I googled all the details of the accident. Nothing. I'm pretty darn sure I got ripped off.
I can only hope that the real reason that woman was out selling teddy bears would have equally merited my "donation" and that it's actually going to buy her kid diapers or to pay her rent.
Good luck, teddy bear lady.