Tag Archives: Pontiac

Weekend at Bernie’s: How I was scammed

20 Apr


Picture this scene: You see an old woman, wrinkled and shriveled up, probably in her 70s, slouched in the passenger seat of a car. Her eyes are rolled back in her head. Her face is contorted. You see crutches in the back seat. She’s got those tube things running out of her nose that people in the hospital have on them for oxygen or whatever. You’re not sure she isn’t dead. It looks real bad.

The son, or so he says, is in the driver’s seat of this old Pontiac. He says his mom just got out of surgery and they are out of gas money. They need to get back to San Antonio.

This is the scenario I found myself in the other day in a strip shopping center close to Jersey Village.

My first thought when they guy pulled up by my vehicle, looking frantic: the old woman is dying, and he needs to call an ambulance. I can’t help but roll down the window and ask what the problem is.

The man explains. Then I start to process the situation.

The old woman looks dead or near death. I don’t think you can fake that look. I’m pretty sure it’s a scam, but it’s the old woman— that lady needs help one way or the other. Dude, she is probably going to die. I hand over some money.

The guy thanks me and speeds away.

Seconds later, I see four Asian women bust through the front door of a nearby nail salon. One of them is yelling: “Don’t give him any money. It’s a scam.”

The guy with the old woman is long gone by now. Maybe he was a NASCAR driver before he started carting around old women.

The Asian women are now at the window of my car, the one lady gesturing wildly and explaining that she was scammed by the same guy earlier in the day. Her voice is high-pitched; her eyes are wild.

“He’s been hanging around here all morning. He took my money, too. That is not his mother. It’s a scam.”

The Asian woman says she is going to call the cops. But she isn’t sure who to call since it’s just outside the Houston city limits.

I take it all in, trying to think if I should have done things differently.

My first thought: Perhaps the old woman was Jesus, and this was a test. Better to hand the money over; otherwise, I might go to hell. Not worth the risk.

Second thought: That woman looked in real bad shape. Even if it wasn’t his mother, she could use some money to buy liquor or chocolates. Perhaps a Red Bull, maybe that would perk her up.

Third thought: I’m glad they didn’t rob me. At least they asked nicely.

Fourth thought: That was the best acting job by an old lady that I’ve ever seen. That performance was worth $20.

Driving home, my thoughts drifted back to the movie, Weekend at Bernie’s.

You can do a lot with a dead body.

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