Could I have done more to help this woman?

(86 Posts)
needaholidaynow Sun 01-Sep-13 16:01:27

Just nipped in to town and a woman stopped me and was really distressed. She was telling me that she had lost her train ticket home and had no money for another one, and was resorting to asking people on the streets for another one. I asked her how much she needed and she said 5 pounds.

All I had on me at the time was 3 pounds in change. All of my other money was in the bank. I needed a pound to get home and so I gave her the other 2 pounds.

As I was walking off I felt guilty. Should I have done more to help her?

Spottypurse Sun 01-Sep-13 16:02:23

I think you were scammed. Sorry.

mynameisslimshady Sun 01-Sep-13 16:03:46

This is a very common scam unfortunately sad

noblegiraffe Sun 01-Sep-13 16:05:20

Agree, a scam. Usually it's for a bus fare, seen the same people asking over and over.

fluffyraggies Sun 01-Sep-13 16:05:40

If it wasn't a scam then you did your best OP. Well done.

<but it sounds a bit sus. to me>

pomdereplay Sun 01-Sep-13 16:09:51

Across the road from the train station where I live, there is a woman who does this about five days a week. She doesn't ask me and my DH because she recognises us. Odd situation.

It was kind of you to give the woman something, OP. You really shouldn't feel guilty!

needaholidaynow Sun 01-Sep-13 16:10:23

Shit sad that's what you get for being so bloody nice guillable!

VashtaNerada Sun 01-Sep-13 16:10:32

Not necessarily a scam - either way you did a nice thing and should feel good about yourself smile

Bowlersarm Sun 01-Sep-13 16:10:37

Scam. Sorry.

InternationalPower Sun 01-Sep-13 16:10:44

I agree it was probably a scam, but on the off-chance that it waisn't was there anything the op could have done/any advice she could have given that didn't involve handing over cash?

I must happen that people lose their fare home. How should they get help? Police? Station staff?

Coconutty Sun 01-Sep-13 16:10:56

Yep, you've been had. Never mind, at least it was only 2 quid.

Bowlersarm Sun 01-Sep-13 16:12:22

..but you can sleep easily knowing you tried to help.

It's a problem because it desensitises the general public to people especially women who do need help. Which is so sad.

exexpat Sun 01-Sep-13 16:13:20

I would also assume a scam - I've heard the same sob story so many times from so many people, half of whom smelled strongly of alcohol...

Was she anywhere near a station? If I thought there was any chance the story might be true, I might have gone with her to buy a ticket.

AgentZigzag Sun 01-Sep-13 16:17:07

We were given the same story a couple of weeks back, I presumed it was a scam but still chose to give him a quid odd, I don't mind giving a bit to anyone who's resorted to begging strangers for coppers.

He was very polite about it, i.e. good at his 'job' smile

Bowlersarm Sun 01-Sep-13 16:17:27

OP....think of all those £5.00 adding up as various people wanted to contribute. That's why it is so clever-£5.00 not too much to most people. And by the end of the day those £5.00 would add up for this lady. She'll be doing it at the next station along the line tomorrow/next week.

cakebar Sun 01-Sep-13 16:28:54

I've had this too, i tell them to see the police, but then it's only happened at big stations where there always is police.

SaucyJack Sun 01-Sep-13 16:31:00

You could always offer to buy the ticket from the machine with your card if you're unsure, but want to help?

Pawprint Sun 01-Sep-13 16:32:09

I'm afraid it sounds like a scam. I've fallen for it too.

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Sun 01-Sep-13 16:33:31

There's a tiny chance it's not a scam but I bet it was.

The only reason I'd give money to someone in that situation would be if it were dark and it was a child asking - in which case I would probably also offer to ring said child's parents.

Think about it: if she'd really lost her ticket, she could make a phonecall to someone to get her the money for way less than a fiver!

oranges Sun 01-Sep-13 16:34:32

I had this once and offered up my travel card that I didn't need any more. The guy told me to fuck off and walked away.

needaholidaynow Sun 01-Sep-13 16:34:34

The station was right across the road. I thought my DP was going to call me a mug when I got home (which he did! But admitted he did the same once and gave a fiver!) so he can't call me lol.

Ah well, I guess if she was legit then hopefully I've helped her out a bit.

pudcat Sun 01-Sep-13 16:42:10

Also someone else could watching to see where you keep your purse/wallet to pickpocket it later. It is a known scam.

BadLad Sun 01-Sep-13 16:43:18

It was probably a scam. But it was nice of you to help her.

When I was tem and staying with my grandma during half term once, I went into town but lost the five pound emergency money she had given me for my bus fare home.

While I was worryung about it, a lady and her husband came over and asked what the matter was, then took me to the taxi rank, explainedd the situation to a driver and asked roughly how much it would cost to get me to where I lived. He said he'd do it for whatever sum, and not put me out on the way if it proved to be short, and they just handed it to him and told him to take me home.

I was so flabberghasted at their generosity, I probably forgot to thank them. That day has always stayed with me.

So if I saw someone who looked in distress, I would probably have handed some change over. I can afford to be scammed a few times, but once in a while it might be someone who really needed help.

Wallison Sun 01-Sep-13 16:52:08

I agree that it was probably a scam, but then you always have to accept if you give money away that people will do what they want with it. You did a nice thing.

Re the question as to what is the best thing to do to help someone out in this situation, many years ago as skint student I was going home after finishing work (maybe 9pm at night, a good few miles from where I lived) and couldn't get enough money out of the bank to pay my tube fare - in fact, I had no money at all. I asked one of the guards if there was anything I could do and he said to tell the ticket inspector at the other end that he'd said it was ok for me to travel, so I got home. No idea if they're really allowed to do this or if it would happen now, but if someone is genuinely stuck there are probably things that train companies can do. Or maybe I just got lucky by speaking to a very lovely guard.

funkybuddah Sun 01-Sep-13 16:52:41

I would say scambut even if it wasnt, no you did enough you mustnt feel bad.

There is a guy I see at Clapham junction everytime I get a train from there rather than waterloo (nighttime/weekends maybe once a month) who is asking for money for food.

Well dressed, clean, iphone etc so I may be mean but I dont feel bad

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