It was about a month ago that our doorbell rang around 11:30 at night while we were sitting and playing Puerto Rico with some friends. When I went to the door there was a guy there with a worried look on his face.
Stop me if you've heard this one before:
He told me he had locked his keys in his car, his two kids were over at a cousin's house (who is only 9 years old!) and that he just needed to use the phone to call his wife who worked at University Hospital to see what he should do. He lived just down the street at an address near ours and he had remembered his wife saying she knew one of the people on the corner.
I invited him in to use our phone and he called his wife. She was on a shift and couldn't leave so they figured he should call a tow truck to come and break into his truck and get his keys. He asked me for a phone book to look up a tow truck company. Which I gave to him.
Starting to wonder...
He called and tried to see if they would come, unlock his truck and drive him to his wife at the hospital who had money to pay the $40 for the tow truck. The tow truck company, unsurprisingly, wouldn't do it. So he said he was going to walk to the hospital (about a 25 minute walk one way) to get money from his wife and then meet the tow truck back at his place.
At this point, now 20 minutes or so since he first rang our doorbell, we were still slightly skeptical but at the same time you think that he's gone through a lot of time/effort to try and scam us. If I had locked my keys in the car and my kid(s) were out somewhere I probably wouldn't have my facts completely straight either.
And so he had me hooked.
You can see where this is headed. I started looking through my wallet for some money and grabbed some cash from my wife's purse and saying that he didn't have to walk all the way to the hospital and back - we could loan him the money and he could pay us back the next day when he got it all sorted.
He thanked us profusely... said he had just moved here from North Battleford and that they were worried about the big city and how unfriendly it could be. Said they were still driving back on Sundays to church in North Battleford because they hadn't found anything closer. Said that we had restored his faith in people, etc.
One day goes by with no money in the mailbox. No worries.
Two days go by with no money. Hmmm...
Three days go by. I'm convinced we were had. And now, three days too late, I'm trying to remember what he looked like and figure out what numbers he actually did dial from our phone.
We'd been conned by a very convincing con man.
Just so you don't think I'm a complete idiot, there were more minor details in his tale of woe that I've left out for length. And hindsight is exactly as they say it is: annoying.
We've since heard from two other friends who got bit by the same guy with the same basic story - only it happened to them over 3 months before he got us. So in an attempt to keep this guy from getting someone else, please spread this around Saskatoon.
We haven't called the police yet, but we will. Obviously there's nothing they can do but at least they'll be aware of it. Leave a comment if you've been had by this guy or know of someone else who has. He's obviously living in Saskatoon and hitting multiple houses. So far I'm aware of him working in the Caswell Hill/Mayfair areas.
All I'm hoping is that there's some tough biker dude out there who hears about this guy and then shortly after Mr. Con Sawyer comes to Biker-Dude-With-No-Neck's door with his sad story only to realize half way through his schpeel that Dude-With-No-Neck is on to him and is about to introduce his face to the floor.
Mmmm.... happy thoughts that help me sleep at night.
To wrap up this sad tale - it hasn't dampened my desire to help those around me. I will continue to err on the side of naivety and give the person asking me for help the benefit of the doubt. Even if 1 out of 3 people I attempt to help don't really need it, that's not my concern. I believe I'm asked to just give and not to judge the poor.
But that's just me.