Those who are familiar to my blog know that occasionally I go off piste to rant about something that bothers me. This is another such post. But just so you know, it’s not a beautician that’s peeved me off this time – my message is slightly more serious. And I’m sharing this in the hope that if you’re reading, you don’t make the same mistake as me.
The other day, I was making my way to the tube for a meeting. The tube line I needed was cancelled due to a suicide attempt. I then had to scuttle around and find an alternative route to this new place I hadn’t visited.
Anyway, flustered, rushed, and not thinking straight, I was stopped en route by an old Asian man. He was wearing a prayer hat and was smartly dressed so seemed respectable enough. Anyway, he asked me if I spoke hindi, when I replied no, he asked if I spoke Bangla, to which I replied yes. I thought he wanted directions, but in actual fact, after asking a couple of niceties – such as which village back home do I hail from – he asked for some money. He said some cock and bull story about how he lost his money and needed £10 to get to the mosque.
As an added emotional pull, he showed me the 40p he had in his hands. I wanted to get away, but at the same time, I also felt that I should help. So I gave £5. He said that wouldn’t do, so I gave a couple of pounds more and bolted.
Now, you may be reading this and thinking, ‘what a mug’. You’re absolutely right, I’d been had. However, I would never normally do this. I was caught at my most vulnerable. In the rush, logic went out of the window. Also, as he looked like a respectable member of MY COMMUNITY, I didn’t expect him to be essentially, a thief. Finally, I never expected someone like that to use the mosque as an excuse to get money.
It was only afterwards the reality dawned on me. Why would you need £10 for a tube journey, when the maximum cost is £7? He’d also claimed he’d lost his money, but surely you’re first port of call would be the tube staff? Basically he was talking BS and it paid off.
However, despite beating myself up about it afterwards, I decided to remember that I thought I was doing a good deed and helping someone out.
But the lesson in this is that not everyone will be as honest as I am, and there are people who will take advantage of a caring nature. I rest assured in the fact that it could have been a lot worse, for example if my purse had got snatched by this conman I would have been more than £7 out of pocket. But I’ve been warned by others that it’s pretty commonplace around London for people who may look perfectly respectable to try their luck to make a few quid out of gullible/charitable/naïve individuals.
So ladies, have your wits about you. While you shouldn’t turn into an untrusting, complete cynic, there are bad people out there and you need to be careful of them. I won’t be making the same mistake again, and I hope you don’t either.