At some point or another pretty much everyone has blindly trusted someone and ended up feeling betrayed and left wondering “What was I thinking? It leaves you immediately with a clenched heart and an awful feeling at the pit of your stomach, and in the long term it leaves you with emotional scars of mistrust and bitterness to name a few.
This is a story of a time where I perhaps was too trusting and helpful to the point of endangering my life and how it changed me. Most people will probably shake their heads in disbelief at what I did, but that is just what kind of person I am; Blindly trusting and always willing to help.
So first off, I need to paint the setting in my life when this happened. I was in-between jobs in a tough economy with very little work experience and a degree that was seemingly useless without the appropriate experience. I was living at home rent free, (Thank you mom!) in a fair amount of student loan debt and extremely broke. I remember I had to ask my sister to borrow some money to help pay off my cell phone bill and my credit card bill, and being the awesome sister she is, she lent me a $100 bill. Back then I was a total night owl. I didn’t have to wake up for work which meant I slept all day and stayed up all night. One night I was up around 3am playing computer games when I heard a knock on my window. I figured it was one of my friends and they had gotten locked out of their house, or maybe it was my sister coming home late from a friends house, so I ran up to my front door and opened it and started walking back down my stairs assuming whoever it was would just come in as my sister or friends would do. However, when I got to the bottom, the screen door hadn’t opened yet, so I turned around to see a girl standing outside looking in at me. Now this was near the start of winter so it was quite chilly outside and I could see her shivering. I ran back up the stairs and opened the door and let her come inside while I asked her what was going on. She explained to me that she lived around the corner and had locked herself out of her house. She had called a locksmith to help her get back in but she didn’t have any money on her to pay the locksmith with. I was the only one in the neighborhood with my light still on and hoped I would be able to help her. I don’t even remember if I thought twice about it, I told her I’d be able to help her and asked how much the bill was. It was something like $73 so I ended up giving her the $100 bill that my sister had lent me. She was very grateful and told me she’d leave money for me in my mailbox the next day to pay me back.
Great! Sounded like a good deal, I was able to help someone out and I’d still be able to pay off my bills in time and this is where I usually end the story whenever I tell anyone but seeing as how this blog is me getting everything out in the open, I suppose I’ll continue the story in all its entirety…
Well she returned 15 minutes later and knocked on my window again. this time I opened my window and asked her what happened? She told me the locksmith was outside in his vehicle and he had charged her more than he quoted, I can’t quite remember but she said she was short around $60 from the $100 I gave her. I told her that that $100 was literally all the money I had on me but tugging on my heartstrings, she told me she really had no one else to help her and she didn’t know what to do. She suggested we ask the locksmith to drive us to 7-11, where I could pull out some money (pretty much everything I had left) to help her out. She assured me she had some cash at home and that she would pay me back the next day…Now looking back at it all, if I was actually thinking, I would have realized that if she had cash at home, why couldn’t she just pay the guy once he got her into her house, but I guess to my credit, it was like 3:15am and I was kinda young and stupid. Anyways I went outside of my house with this lady who had been in my house 15 minutes ago and she seemed a lot more out of it than before, like she was definitely high on something. She told me the locksmith was in the white jeep Cherokee parked in front of my house so we walked towards it. Now at this point I was pretty damn uncertain about this but being naïve and feeling trapped I had hoped for the best. I got in the back seat of this Jeep with a greasy looking guy in the driver seat and the sketched out girl in the passenger seat. The interaction between them was, well in a phrase, it was really messed up. She was asking the guy a bunch of random questions and he kept swearing while he tried to answer them and she kept calling him out on his swearing telling him he’s supposed to be a professional. At this point I was more or less just afraid for my life because it was obvious that he was not a locksmith and the girl was high on something. I just stayed quiet in the back seat and mentioned that I had hoped I had enough money in my account to cover the $60 he wanted for the key. The girl just agreed that she hoped I did too and the guy said whatever I could get would be alright. So we got to the 7-11 and I went inside to the bank machine. I know I had enough to barely cover the $60 but I just took out $20. I went back to them and told them I only had twenty-some dollars left in my account and the guy said that was fine, he’d be able to discount the price. They drove me back to my place with the girl saying thanks and I’m a lifesaver and that she’d pay me back in a day and I just awkwardly smiled and nodded agreeing with her. As soon as we pulled up to my house I got the hell out of there, grateful I was still alive.
As soon as I got into my house, I knew full well I wasn’t getting that money back, and that I had been cheated and I felt ashamed of myself for it, for not being smarter and realizing it was a scam. The next day my mom asked who I was talking to outside on the front lawn and I told her the first half of the story, the part where I lent this girl the $100 bill. She told me I was an idiot and that I should’ve known. My stepdad lost it on me, telling me I put not only myself but our whole family in danger by opening the door to some stranger at 3 in the morning. They were right, but I was too trusting to turn them away and too helpful to leave them stranded. I still had some hope that maybe that girl had been telling the truth… I never did get that money back though, and looking back there were so many things I could have done in that situation. Calling the cops would have been one of the most important things as this scam surfaced on the news a week later as that girl and guy tried to rip off another person. Even calling the cops when I got to 7-11 to get myself out of that situation would have been smart but I really had no idea what to do when it was all happening.
One thing I will never forget about the whole situation is the immense feeling of betrayal I got from trusting someone to find out they lied to you and cheated you. I was angry, frustrated, sad, I had lost faith in others. On top of it all I felt like a grand old pile of crap, and my families reaction was definitely not helping my fragile state. I felt like I was at fault for what had happened to me, and although I was the one who put myself in that situation, why did I feel horrible for trying to help someone? Why should I feel awful for trusting someone? I’ve lived so many years after that thinking I was the one who made a mistake but looking back at this moment, I don’t feel like I did anymore. I trusted too much and I cared too much but that is not a bad thing, that is becoming the ideal of what I wish this world would become. There are always going to be people that betray you and let you down, but if you become untrusting and stop trying to help, then you become cold and add to an already selfish world. No, I don’t feel like I made a mistake anymore, I feel like I did something good for someone I didn’t know and if the world could do more of that, maybe we wouldn’t have people that feel the need to betray and cheat people through scams such as this. Just a thought.