"He asked me if I had any money," Merrie Harris, 45, told the New York Post. "He said he just wanted to get a Vitaminwater. I said, 'I don't (have any cash) -- I only have my credit card.'"
"He said, 'Would it be OK if I borrow it?' I said, 'Sure,'" she explained.
"He said, 'Is it OK if I get a pack of cigarettes too?' I said, 'Sure.'"
The man then disappeared down the block and everyone who saw her give the card to him "said they thought that was the dumbest thing, that there's a fine line between charity and stupidity," Harris, global business director for the JWT advertising agency, told the Post.
She then went back inside the restaurant and down to a basement eatery.
After waiting 10 minutes, she herself started having doubts when the man was still a no-show. She started having a sinking feeling that her trust was misplaced and that the man had gone on a platinum-card spending spree.
But then someone called down to her, saying, "He's back!"
Harris quickly went upstairs and back outside to find the man waiting for her, charge card in hand.
"I gave him a hug. I said, 'I knew you were coming back,'" Harris said.
"He said: 'Of course. I'm an honest person.'"
Harris didn't get the man's name.