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Scam or Truly in Distress?

by Prince Of Petworth October 24, 2012 at 11:00 am 128 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user blueiris2006

Dear PoPville,

I am a resident of Cleveland Park. Last night after hopping off the bus, I was approached by a woman who explained to me that she had been in a car accident, her car had been towed, she lives in Stafford, VA, and is newly employed at the National Zoo in communications. After a long back and forth with me about her situation, which included having recently moved here from Atlanta, people at work and in the city not being friendly, her mother being a cop without a cell phone number she was “allowed to have”, her daughter being stuck in daycare in Stafford, and not knowing anyone in the city, she asked me for $140 to take a 2 hr. cab ride home to VA.

I know in writing this whole thing sounds ridiculous, and anyone would have said no and walked away, but I felt terrible. She was crying, and genuinely seemed lost and helpless. I suggested several alternatives, like asking her daughter’s daycare to foot the bill for the cab (especially since she pays them every day to take care of her daughter), but she insisted the nanny would not comply. After I kindly refused to give her the total sum, she asked for any cash towards a ride home. She even offered to let me pay the cab driver directly, and give me her ss# to track her down at her work tomorrow! She was even wearing a work badge! Still, something didn’t feel right, so I apologized again and went on my way. She closed our conversation with some mention of knowing that there are other good Christians like her out there who would be willing to give her the money, and that I’m the one who will have to live with this.

I noticed as I was walking away that she had immediately approached another young woman to explain her situation to new ears. I am wondering – did anyone else speak to her last night in Cleveland Park? Did anyone give her any money? I am feeling guilty but of course did not want to be naive and give cash to a stranger. Thoughts?

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