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?

OhDearNigel Sun 01-Sep-13 17:00:34

A note to you all - most train companies will refund a lost ticket at the station if you have id and arent on there list of serial ticket losers. So if anyone comes up to you with this you can tell them that

BadLad Sun 01-Sep-13 17:00:54

tem?

ten

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 01-Sep-13 17:01:53

You're nice: scam, but it says something nice about you. It's becoming more and more common. Why should you expect someone to come up and defraud you - it's not your fault, it's their's.

Footface Sun 01-Sep-13 17:08:48

It might not have been a scam.

Remember the woman who didn't have the money to get the bus home, and she asked lots of people on the bus for help. She was made to get off and then raped.

Runningchick123 Sun 01-Sep-13 17:09:49

I suppose the thing to do in this situation is to offer to accompany the person to the station and pay the fare for them; if they are genuine then they will be happy and grateful, if they refuse then its a scam.

Its probably a sccam. Round her we have , the lady who asks everyone for money as her car has run out of petrol and she has to get home, also the lady who asks for £2 to put on her pre paid gas card as she has no money for hot water or cooking and her children need dinner. They dont bother asking me anymore.

needaholidaynow Sun 01-Sep-13 17:17:22

Remember the woman who didn't have the money to get the bus home, and she asked lots of people on the bus for help. She was made to get off and then raped.

I do remember that happening and would hate to see another story like that. I realised these scams happen but I just gave her the benefit of the doubt really. I know if I was in her position though (if she was legit) I would have been asking someone at the station for help or would go to the the police and ring someone if I didn't have a phone.

Mumsyblouse Sun 01-Sep-13 17:24:38

Unfortunately it is a scam, one I was taken in by once, I felt very concerned for the poor man who had run out of petrol and needed a bit of money to get home, just £4 or whatever. I felt a bit less sorry for him when he failed to recognize me a week later with exactly the same story!

The worst thing I have ever seen was a couple out doing this with their children. They wanted money (having broken down), I offered to call someone to help them/go to the nearest garage, but they didn't want any of this, only the money and became very aggressive with my helpful suggestions. I saw them there, two hours later, still asking people for money.

Imagine taking your children out for the day to do that.

It's always easy to tell if it is a scam, offer them something non-monetary but helpful, a phone call, to go to the garage, to go with them to the ticket office. If they are genuinely in need, they'll be at the least very grateful, I've lent a stranger my mobile phone to make an urgent call for someone to pick them up. If they become aggressive or insist on only money, you have your answer.

cushtie335 Sun 01-Sep-13 17:29:29

Some nutter in Princes Street in Edinburgh does this All Day Long. I go home to visit relatives and there she is outside Waverley Station with the same schtick every time. The last time she asked me I answered her with "funny, you'd lost your ticket the last time I came up to Scotland, and the time before that!" She has no qualms about it, so long as some mug gives her the money she will carry on doing it.

EastwickWitch Sun 01-Sep-13 17:41:50

That happened to my dad about 3 months ago. A girl of about 17 had lost her ticket. Dad gave her the money, but she did ask for his address. We told him that it was a scam.
A week later he received a lovely thank you letter & cheque for the money from the girl's dad.

chanie44 Sun 01-Sep-13 17:46:37

A lady recently approached me when I was leaving work with a similar story. I work in a very expensive part of London. I couldn't have helped her even if I wanted too as I had under a pound in my purse and I was rushing to get my train.

I asked her if she has told the police and she said they weren't interested, which made me suspicious. She asked for £12.

Crumbledwalnuts Sun 01-Sep-13 20:48:44

Eastwick I do love your story !

NutritiousAndDelicious Sun 01-Sep-13 20:55:37

I work for a train company. It's a scam, we are allowed to, and always let, people travel for free if they come and explain and are in distress. The only people we don't are the ones that do it twice a day! Never ever ever give money to people. If its dark, late at night etc then they can/will/should just jump the barrier or get on the train etc.

CharityFunDay Sun 01-Sep-13 21:00:45

Here in my particular corner of SW London we have a similar scammer, who jogs around the streets with an anxious look, calling out 'Excuse me! Excuse me!'.

If he gets your attention, he proceeds to stammer out a sob story about how his wife and children have been in a car crash on the other side of London and he needs money to get there.

The first time he stopped me, he wanted £45 (!) for a taxi. Sensing a scam, I said I didn't have the money on me and he offered to escort me to an ATM so I could draw the money out for him! I said that as a student, I didn't have £45 to withdraw, so sorry, best of luck, etc. I knew it was a scam.

The bit that really stuck in my mind was the fact that he had an expensive phone, which he used to show me pictures of his supposed family, which seemed a bit gratuitous.

Second time he stopped me was six months later, only this time it was £9 for three connecting bus fares. Exactly the same MO and patter, right down to the photos on the phone.

I told him he had already spun me that yarn before and that I would not be giving him any money. Obviously shocked at his error he shouted "That was a COMPLETELY different thing! A COMPLETELY different thing!"

Then he called me a 'fat cunt' and ran off down the road, still shouting "COMPLETELY different thing!".

Who knows, perhaps he really did have an unlucky family and it was just coincidence he stopped the same person twice... grin

onedev Sun 01-Sep-13 21:11:35

I had this once - I'd gone out for a walk & only taken my phone when a lady about 50 years old came up with the same story. I told her I'd no wallet out with me, just my phone but that she was welcome to use it. When she said no & kept asking for money, I offered to walk her to the local police station. At that stage she started getting abusive & saying how would I feel if it were my mum & no one would help her! I offered my phone again & she stormed off!

I saw her doing it a couple of days later & marched straight up to the person she was talking to & told them it was a scam. She shouted abuse again & stormed off. Haven't seen her since.

Glad there are nice stories when it's not a scam though!

GhostsInSnow Sun 01-Sep-13 21:14:16

Yep you were done.

There is a guy in my local town who's wife has 'just gone into labour' in the hospital 20 miles away and he needs to get there quickly and can you help?
Personally I think she's beyond help because she's been in labour for five bloody years. He doesn't have much of a memory for faces it seems.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sun 01-Sep-13 21:38:39

We met a lady on a train who claimed her bag had been stolen (but still had train ticket). She needed to get back somewhere near to us by taxi. We would be getting off at the same station and she lives about 15 mins drive away.
After sitting with her for about 40 mins on the train we decided she probably wasn't faking and ended up driving her home to her daughters house. Turns out she was genuine and glad we took the risk and she genuinely had had her bag stolen along with house keys, phone etc. What made it worse is that she'd just returned from charity work somewhere in Africa (which is why she looked a big dodgy as she'd been travelling for a few days) only to be mugged in London.

SeaSickSal Sun 01-Sep-13 21:55:16

It's a scam. A woman was jailed in Sheffield for doing exactly this for some time. She was smartly dressed and carried designer bags.

You weren't in Yorkshire/Derbyshire were you?

idontevenknowwhattoput Sun 01-Sep-13 21:58:56

It's pretty bad, on the other hand I used to hang around Manchester Piccadilly getting money in different ways, that wasn't much fun, if you stopped her doing that then who knows, maybe you helped her. x

SeaSickSal Sun 01-Sep-13 22:00:54

Remember the woman who didn't have the money to get the bus home, and she asked lots of people on the bus for help. She was made to get off and then raped.

The difference there was that the bus driver should have let her on the bus. And she was actually trying to board the bus so it was clear that all she wanted the money for was genuinely bus fare. And it was the middle of the night.

If people are asking for money for this within daytime hours it's absolute rubbish, because you can get on the train for free if you're in distress if you speak to the station staff or report it to the police. I've done that myself. There is no need to beg money.

Mimishimi Sun 01-Sep-13 22:11:01

One tst is to offer to go directly yourself to the station and buy the ticket for them (also offer to buy a meal for those asking for money for food). If they are not legit, they usually back out of it pretty quick coming up with some other reason why cash is preferable.

jessieagain Sun 01-Sep-13 22:23:47

Agree it was a scam sad

I have had similar, crying women asking for train money and one asked for heating money as ss was visiting with their baby.

I always say I don't carry change and walk off quick as I worry that if they see my purse they might snatch it.

fuckwittery Sun 01-Sep-13 22:32:44

I get batches of carnet tickets, you just have to fill in the date. I got stopped by a woman asking for money for a ticket at Kings Cross, funnily enough when I offered her a carnet ticket to where she said she was going, she didn't want that, only cash! Suddenly her destination changed and she needed the money to pay her friend hmm

I was asked another time for money for a ticket, the woman was stopping people in Kings Cross, however she said she was trying to get to a place trains don't go to from kings cross! When I suggested she go over the road to St Pancras she was most put out.

You are a nice person, and did what you could, it may or may not be a scam but hopefully you'll feel less guilty for not giving more knowing it probably was a scam.

You've still done a nice thing, you've helped someone to buy drugs or booze.

Nancy66 Sun 01-Sep-13 22:51:21

The:

lost train ticket
lost phone
been mugged
car been towed
sick child

things are all well-known scams.

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