It took me a while to accept that I had been scammed and even longer to put my thoughts on paper. Yes, sir, I believed that you and your family needed help. Your tears (that seemed so genuine at the time) touched my heart. My brain somehow knew that some things in your story didn’t add up but my heart shut him down. My strength has always been to be rational but that day, I was weak and you felt it. I wanted to believe you were not lying. Funny enough I usually am the person who thinks that people have secret agendas but my suspicious mode must have been turned off that day. But come on, you were a pastor, pastors surely wouldn’t lie, would they?
Have you felt any guilt when you saw tears in my eyes when you told me your story? Did you see how upset I was when you said that your luggage had been mistakenly sent to a different city and your most of your money was in your luggage (yes fellow travelers this made no sense but believe me, we met a bunch of stupid travelers who somehow left their common sense at home)? Did you see my disappointment when you told me that your wife needed her insulin badly but nobody wanted to help you (what’s wrong with this world, I thought) because you were black and your Spanish was non-existing? Did you see my distraught when you said that your government couldn’t do anything to help you but send you to hostel, in a small town close to Chetumal until you find money to travel to the embassy in Acapulco?
Again, I felt that a few details didn’t make sense; I was somehow aware of it, M was aware of it but I kept wondering what if I was (for once) wrong? I should have walked away because I somehow felt that something about your story was fishy. I should have but instead I gave you money. I cried with you and I let you hug me. Nobody ever hugs me but I let you hug me because I thought your need was greater than my aversion for hugs. We left you at a shop so you could fax some documents to your embassy and when we passed by to bring you some water we thought you might need as the day was hot, you were long gone according to the clerk. Weird I thought but the pain in my heart grew bigger as I realized you probably had no wife nor children waiting for you to return. The pain of having been taken advantage of became stronger and I cried again against M’s chest who had tried to warn me.
Four months today have passed and I know now for a fact that you never had any intention to pay us back (which wasn’t important to us) nor to email us a thank you note as you promised. So sir, I thank you because you have taught me an important lesson quite early in my trip and you probably saved me from further disappointments. Shame that people like you make trusting and caring for other people in need more difficult every day. I hope karma will catch up on you and I wish you (not) a good life.