I had almost forgotten about this, but the bus fare story brought it back (even though this isn't about bus fare!).
I have a cousin who is always having some tough times. When she was just out of high school, she called my mom with a sob story about how her mother kicked her out, and was so terrible, and could Mom loan her some money for a hotel room for a couple of nights, so things could cool down?
We didn't have a lot of money growing up, so Mom told her that she could stay with us for a few days. Mom would have done anything for Cousin, who had just lost her father (my dad's oldest brother) a few months prior. Cousin said, "Well that's not going to help any!" and hung up! Turns out, cousin's "tough times" were directly related to her drug problems. Drug problems we didn't know about, until my Mom called her mom to find out what was going on, and to tell her about that weird phone call. Cousin got kicked out because her mom was sick of her daughter doing drugs, and had just had it.
Cousin has since:
1. Convinced an uncle to try to get money out of everyone in the family during a holiday meal (to which she had been invited, as she had every family function, but never attended), because she's been having a rough time financially, being a single parent and all.
Let me repeat that: he asked ME, a single mother without much money, to give money to my cousin, because "she's a single mom having a rough time financially" (I should know how tough it is, after all).
I declined, as did my parents, and most of the rest of the family. Uncle was ticked off when he found out that the "different car" my cousin claimed she needed money for actually meant "meth". He had given her nearly $1000, a ton of help with food, and got his heart broken, but learned a very valuable lesson in return. She had no use for him after it was clear no more money would be forthcoming.
2. Showed up to my grandpa's funeral expecting an inheritance. Hello, Grandma is still alive! There is no inheritance! Grandma had been begging for Cousin to visit while grandpa was sick, but she always had some excuse, even though rides were offered, and grandma begged her to bring her son so grandpa could meet him (no gas money, no babysitter, etc). To show up at the funeral dinner AFTER grandpa burial was just too much. She had her son with her, and all of us were so drained that we just made them plates of food, and tried to make the most of getting a chance to know her son (first time we had met him! My grandpa never got to meet him!) and her fiancé.
3. Periodically writes the same grandmother with her latest sob story about how her husband can't find a job because people just don't understand him (how about you show up to the job you have on time, and not under the influence of drugs, don't steal, and you might be able to keep a job?). She claims that she is now drug free, but things are just so hard, because she can't work because people unfairly judge her, and they have to live with his parents (his dad is a registered sex offender), and it's so hard raising a child, etc, etc. My grandma has her number, though.
4. Claimed to have cancer, to solicit financial help from family members. When she got a "we're sorry, but we don't have anything to spare right now, but we can drive you to and from appointments, and watch your son", it was funny how fast that second opinion found there was no cancer after all... It's like she spends months planning and researching her pleas for money...
Let's just say that we've pretty much washed our hands of her. She's still family, but she's shown that we can't believe a word that comes out of her mouth. She needs serious help.