Tag Archives: salvation army

Just Another Scam

I had an interesting unsettling experience when sitting in the car in the supermarket carpark the other day.  My friend had gone in to do the shopping for both of us.  Aside – supermarket shopping is not my favourite activity so another good thing came out of this accident.

I was quietly sitting and contemplating the people coming and going into the supermarket when a young woman knocked on the car window.  She had seen Lotte and wanted to know if she bit and whether she could hold her.  Well, I am very used to this reaction to my little dog  and so I said “No” she didn’t bite and “Yes” she could hold her.  So I was about to bring Lotte into the front seat ready to put her out of the car (on her lead of course) for this woman to pat her.

At that moment the back door of the car was opened and the young woman climbed into the car.  I was amazed but not particularly worried at that time.

She fussed Lotte and then regaled me with her tale of woe.  Apparently she had come to Wellington from Auckland for New Year celebrations and had her purse/backpack/whatever stolen.  This bag had held her plane tickets and according to her $4,000 in cash.  The latter was a trifle hard to believe but…

She then told me that she had slept on the street for two nights and hadn’t eaten.  Did I have any food?

She told me she had been to the Police to make a report but they couldn’t give her a bed because she hadn’t committed a crime.  Flags sprung up – NZ police would not have put this woman (who later told me she was 6 months pregnant) out onto the street.  They would have found her a bed or at least put her in touch with the Salvation Army or the City Mission.Wellington City MissionShe followed up this gem with the fact that neither the SA nor the CM were open because of the holidays.  That of course is rubbish as there is an emergency number for each of these services in the phone book.

She sat in the car for a while, expanding on her tale of woe.  She had the name of the ex City Missioner, asked if I knew him and whether I thought he would help.

She asked whether I could give her $5 or $10 for a phone card.  She told me, following my enquiry, that her parents were not answering the phone and calls were going to voicemail and the same answer came when I asked about the grandparents whom she had  talked about earlier.  Note – she didn’t tell me how she had called these numbers having no money.

She wondered if I could let her have the money for the plane fare and assured me that her parents would reimburse me – Oh Yeah!

After more of the same I convinced her to go to the service desk of the supermarket and ask to use their phone and to call the ex City Missioner.  I do know this man well (he had officiated at my daughter’s wedding and my husband’s funeral) and he has been a friend for 40 plus years.  I knew if she managed to contact him he would certainly point her in the right direction

As soon as she left I locked all the car doors.  I was feeling quite vulnerable with only one good leg.  Had it been any other time I would have got out of the car immediately she got in and would have insisted that she did so too.

So my question is – Was this another scam or should I have done more to assist this young woman?  What do you think?

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting.”
Elizabeth, Princess Bibesco
(née Asquith)
1897 – 1945
English writer.