Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Taken for a ride!!!

As I take you for ride, hold on to your seats & enjoy the ride; trust me it won't be disappointing, it would rather be a noteworthy one ;-)

Here it goes..................

It was a bright sunny day & I stepped out of my office for my regular noon stroll. Gave a call to my father, to get an update on whether the private water supply people had come home (guess we will have some serious water problem this summer in Bangalore, so better embrace yourself). While I was on the phone, I noticed a lady walk by and speak to a lad who was sitting on his bike. The next thing I see her walking towards me, while I was still having the conversation with my dad. The call snapped, when she approached me and asked me if I had change for Rs500 on me. I check my wallet & told her I didn't have; guess she noticed that I had couple of 500's myself.

Since the call had snapped, I re-dialled my dad's number. In the meantime, she approaches our company's security guard & talks to him. I saw him speaking to someone within the company & give a negative response. I presumed that he had asked someone within the company for the same - about the change for Rs500. I ended the conversation with my dad and she re-approaches me & here is how the rest of the events unfolds

Action #1
(Note: I am standing atleast 10 feet from the security cabin, while this conversation takes place)

PerfectStranger: Can you please lend me 500 bucks?
Vevck: What??? I was surprised by what she had asked me. I am thinking how do I deal with this women, don't know her....& now she is asking me 500 the time I plan to speak up, she starts narrating me her story.
PerfectStranger: I just happened to get off the bus & walk to the medical stores to purchase medicine & realizes that someone has pick-pocketed. Now, I urgently need some money to buy the medicines, trust me sir I need your help.
Vevck: I am still unsure about how to deal with the situation & thinking whether to trust this women or not. While she continued her story......
PerfectStranger: I know its tough to trust a stranger (YEAH! right, thanks for educating me; I didn't know that). Actually, my husband works for Infosys, he gave me money in the morning for the medicines & now I am robbed. (Infosys or Wipro or any damn company how does it help me trust U). I actually live near by near SanjayNagar police station, next to RadhaKrishna Temple. (Guess this point made me believe her to a certain extent)
Vevck: OK! May be what you are saying might be genuine, for me you are still a stranger. So, I still can't lend u money.
PerfectStranger: Sir, I shall return your money by 13:30 (an hour and 15 mins to go) to the security person. Please trust me (Another point which made me take the bait)
Vevck: I thought about it for few seconds, may be this women has been robbed & needed the money for her medicines. So, pull one 500 note & hand it over.
PerfectStranger: Thank you, Sir. Thank you very much, I shall return it by 13:30.
Vevck: Hello, can you please drop your contact number.
PerfectStranger: Sure, you can have it. While she spontaneously spelled her number, I keyed it on my mobile. She says,"Don't call that mobile number right now, its @ home". Then asks me, "Can I have your number too?"
Vevck: Gave her my number. Then I asked her for the address of residence, only to make sure whether she was spontaneous in writing that too. The security guard gave her a piece of paper to write down & she wrote down, giving me directions.

While she was giving me her address & taking down my number, the security guard just remains a spectator. This woman leaves the scene to the Subhikshna store which is bang opposite to our office. Thought I will update the guard about this women returning back @ 13:30hrs.

Action #2

Vevck: What did that woman ask you?
SecurityGuard: She asked if there were any job openings @ our company?
Vevck: (WTF???) I WAS SHOCKED...I repeated the question again, only to get the same response.
SecurityGuard: I spoke with the HR & responded that currently there are no openings.
Vevck: Didn't she ask you for some change on 500 note. Weren't you asking about the same with someone within the company.
SecurityGuard: No, sir. what happened?
Vevck: Told him what had transpired.
SecurityGuard: He was shocked too, he said, "This women got off an autorickshaw, few minutes ago. She never came by bus".
Vevck: Now I was sure that,"I was TAKEN for a RIDE!!!".
SecurityGuard: Sir, how could you trust a stranger & give her Rs500. (Dude, don't make me feel worse. I have already had enough). Sir, how do you know whether the credentials - phone number & the address -she gave you were true?
Vevck: Correct, lets find out whether the number she gave me exists or not. I dial the number.....its ringing on the other end.....(some hope that atleast the number is acitve)


Vevck: Hello! Can I speak to Priya? (YEAH! thats the name she gave)
Unknown: Hello! Priya??? there is no one by that name?
Vevck: Doesn't this number belong to the person named Priya?
Unknown: Nope!
Vevck: OK. Sir, do you work for Infosys?
Unknown: No, who are you?
Vevck: Well....I am Vevck....just wanted to know if Priya is on this number. May I know who I am speaking to?
Unknown: Balachander.
Vevck: Sir, may I know where you live? (I didn't expect him to say SanjayNagar)
Balachander: Bannerghatta Road.
Vevck: Thank you.

I told the security guard that I have been taken for a ride & the number belongs to someone else. He says the address too won't be correct one. I told let me walk to Subhikshna & see if she is somewhere around. I walked into the store and started looking for this woman, couldn't spot her any where. Moreover, I knew Subhikshna never sold medicines. I asked the guard of that store whether he had seen any woman who was tall & fat, walk out in the past 10 mins. He said, he had she seen her walk out 5 mins ago. He asked me to speak to the store manager, as she had spoken with him too. So, I walk up to him & ask the same. Store manager said she had left towards the ATM, which is right next to the store.

I walked out of the store, to see if she is anywhere around. But, couldn't find her there either. Just as I stepping down from the complex, I was analyzing everything that had happened. How could I believe a perfect stranger & lend her 500 bucks? How on earth could I buy her story? Before I turned right to my office, just glanced once again. Guess whom I see, the women I was looking for; she was walking towards me. As she approached, I asked her," Why haven't you purchased your medicines?". I could sense the fear on her face, she replied,"Actually, I called my cousin, she is on her way now. Will do so when she comes by". By saying 'Thanks!' she handed me over the 500 note. I took the note & I wanted to confront her with the story, phone number........but then, I didn't confront her, just walked back to office & updated the security guard.

Over lunch I shared this with few of my colleagues & they were shocked too.

Moral of the ride: Never trust strangers & don't ever help them by lending cash.

I guess there are many of them out there who take people for a ride, so just be careful when someone approaches you the next time. Have you been taken for a ride anytime?


naveen said...

:-)) Man what an experience.....She definitly made a jack ass out of u!! LOL

If i was in ur place i would have taken that lady to a medical shop and bought her medicines myself. That way, i would come to know how genuine was her story.

Anyway u got ur money, so all's well and that ends well,u got a good story for ur "stale" blog ;-)

d.K.m said...

Sir, can you lend me Rs. 1000? I was pick pocketed or instead you could get me some medicine for my foot that is broken... don't worry I will take care of your bike while you are gone. Do leave the keys, incase I have to move it :P

Some Subhikshas do have a pharmacy... I have had similar things happen to me too.. but the denominations were like 50 bucks. You sure take the cake. People will always prey on the goodness in others.

Vivek Kondur said...

@Naveen: one hell of an my money back...learnt an important lesson too

@Kishore: You have good score dude, wld take sometime for me to catch up wit u ;) Ppl are always waiting to prey on u, v need to be more cautious.