When I was in my early twenties and living in the U.K. for the first time, my sister came to join me for six months and we planned a trip to Greece.
We had friends living in London (I'll call them Tim and Sarah), who we would stay with the night before our flight. Conveniently, we were also able to leave our car parked outside their home until we got back.
I'd been working as a nanny and saving up all my money for this holiday. I had exactly 400 pounds for spending which was just enough.
So we arrived in London on Sunday night ready for our flight the next morning. After dinner, Tim asked me if I had any money to which I replied, "just what I'm taking to Greece with me". Sarah looked uncomfortable and avoided eye contact with me, while Tim pressed on with another question.
How much do you have? When I responded with 400 pounds, Tim asked if he could borrow it to pay a bill that needed to be taken care of today, and we'd drive by the bank in the morning (Monday) so he could withdraw it from his account to give back to me. There was no internet banking back then.
I didn't want to lend it to him, but I felt bad if I didn't since we were staying in his home, so I agreed. When I told my sister, rightly so, she hit the roof but it was too late. I'd committed and I was nervous but tried to convince myself that Tim would do the right thing.
Of course we drove by the bank first thing in the morning and guess what! It was a public holiday and the banks were closed. I felt sick. We were on our way to the airport and I had ZERO cash to take with me for my holiday. I'd been fleeced!
Tim put on a great show and exclaimed that it would all work out. I was to call his office from Greece, and he would wire the money to the post office wherever I was. But here was his big mistake. He told me "do not speak to my secretary about this". Aaaaaah! Really..... I thought to myself. Now I had a weapon.
Cool comfort though when deep down you know you're not going to get your money back and you're wondering how you're going to have a holiday without CASH! No credit card then either.
My poor sister. She was younger than me but there was no way she would have given him HER cash! Smart girl. I was so naive.
So we split her money and cut down our expenses and we actually DID phone Tim's office a couple of times. Phoning anywhere from Greece at that time meant standing in a queue at the telecommunications office (if you can call it that) for hours and then struggling to actually connect when it came your turn to use a phone.
OF COURSE Tim was unavailable both times, so I pulled out my weapon and used it! I told his secretary in no uncertain terms, to tell Tim that "I want my MONEY, and I want it NOW"! She spluttered and coughed and sheepishly replied that she'd pass on the message. I said thank you and hung up and decided that I'd send Tim a friendly postcard.
On it I wrote (for the world to see - gotta love postcards), "You have ruined our holiday. We will return on such and such a date at such and such a time to pick up the car, and you will have my money waiting for me".
Do you think I expected him to obey? I don't think so, but it felt good to say it and send it.
We actually had quite a fun holiday to be honest. My sister's funds got us through, but it was very stressful and also distressing feeling like I'd been robbed by a "friend".
Anyhow, we arrived back in London, started the car first to make sure we had a quick getaway if necessary, and with our hearts in our mouths, we knocked on the front door.
To my surprise, Sarah came to the door, eyes to the ground and grunted something that indicated for us to come in. We followed her upstairs where a very angry and red-faced Tim was waiting with a cheque. "I told you NOT to speak to my secretary about this" he shouted.
OMG!! I got him! I was so proud of myself. Clearly Tim owed other people money as well and I'm guessing his secretary was one of them.
I took the cheque, grabbed my sister by the arm, and got out of there as fast as possible. Driving away from the house, we could hardly believe what had just happened. We were both shaking but laughing and feeling ecstatic!
Moral to the story: If you're going to try to fleece someone, cover your tracks ;)
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week. I'll leave you with this video by Robert Palmer - Looking For Clues. (giggles) Enjoy!
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