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

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.

TeaAndABiscuit Sun 01-Sep-13 22:53:53

I've fallen for this at my local train station. £1.50 for bus fare-young woman crying. Did it to other half too and has a bike round the corner. Still she has to live with herself.

needaholidaynow Sun 01-Sep-13 23:01:36

SeaSickSal No I was in Greater Manchester in the Bolton area.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 01-Sep-13 23:22:02

I've learnt something from this thread don't. Let them know where you keep your purse. I had a young, distressed lady try this at clapham junction. She'd had a fight with her boyfiend and needed to get to her parents and her fare was five pounds short. She was tear stained and had been punched - it was obvious. She was also out of it. When I said she could call her parents and I would come ad get the ticket with her; she told me to fuck off. It was awfully sad though - she wasn't in a good place.

UnicornsNotRiddenByGrownUps Sun 01-Sep-13 23:35:17

OP I could have sworn you were in Edinburgh! I wonder if the Waverley woman is the same as the one at Haymarket. She walks up and down Dalry area screaming and crying and begging for a bus or train fair. Seems rather unlucky to have lost it so may timeshmm

Dubjackeen Mon 02-Sep-13 00:02:18

It goes on in Dublin too. Badly needed train/ bus fare...delete as applicable. Any offers to buy a ticket sends the 'stranded one' scurrying. I wonder why...

soontobeburns Mon 02-Sep-13 00:39:44

I had this the other week. A guy came up to me at a cash point begging for bus fare or help because he waa chucked out of his house by his parents.
I didn't give him money because it did seem like a scam, but I felt awful afterwards.

There have been a few times I have had no money for bus fare and had to beg for money but its been at the bus and usually to the driver.

I once had a driver not let me on and luckly a man offered to pay for me. That was nice and I was so grateful.

flatmum Mon 02-Sep-13 00:53:13

I saw a guy doing this at clap ham junction one evenjng, he got his money and then when the person had gone through the barriers turned and left the station (even though his son story had been about having to get to someone in an emergency and needing money for a train ticket). I was also leaving the station and when I got to my busy stop across the road he wa awaiting for the same bus. he sat in front of me and I watched him throughout the whole journey getting his money together, fishing pound coins out from various pockets. he stacked then up into a cylinder and eventually could no longer hold them, put them in his rucksack and kept going. He must have had about £80/90. the worse bit was, he was sifting through all the money people had given him, and chucking the coppers away on the floor of the bus in front of him as he didnt want them! not a bad few hours work I suppose....

Pantone363 Mon 02-Sep-13 00:59:37

We have a man/woman team here, both of them with the awful 'my daughter is dying in the hospital' story.

She works it around the local gym/Mcdonalds, he does the train station and lower part of town.

Wankers

LeoandBoosmum Mon 02-Sep-13 01:02:37

You were conned. I've had this happen more than once in my city centre sad

DaleyBump Mon 02-Sep-13 01:04:34

When this happens to me (usually at the train) I buy them their ticket and see them on the train grin

I fall for scammers a lot, I just feel like "what if they're genuine?" I once bought a beggar in Glasgow five pairs of thick, warm socks because he was sitting barefoot in the rain. He snatched them off me, shoved them up his jumper and pretended that nothing had even happened. I saw him the other day and I was just so angry (I was just shocked at the time) that I went up to him and asked him what had happened to the socks I got him. He just said "I don't know", then asked for money. Arse.

LeoandBoosmum Mon 02-Sep-13 01:06:20

Footface, I think the driver wouldn't let her off with something like 20p (what a piece of shit...wonder if he has a daughter!)

LeoandBoosmum Mon 02-Sep-13 01:09:45

Daleybump... I remember a few years ago seeing a homeless man begging in town. I was always told by my granddad (God rest his soul) that I shouldn't give money but should buy a sandwich or pasty instead... I went into a shop and bought him a really nice, thick-filled sandwich (chicken and salad). I handed it to him and he looked at it, took it out of he packaging, sniffed it and said he was a vegetarian...and handed it back to me... I wasn't sure how to feel... On the one hand, I thought, 'Oh well, he's homeless but he has principles...' On the other, I thought, 'If I was homeless and starving I'd probably eat a scabby cat!'

BrawToken Mon 02-Sep-13 01:18:13

I generally give money to people if I have it on me! I am probably a mug, but it is only money and the real scammers work in the city and politics. Even if my £1.50 goes towards drink or drugs, I would rather people didn't have to sell their bodies for it. We live in an ill divided world.

DaleyBump Mon 02-Sep-13 01:19:20

I know exactly what you mean LeoandBoosmum. I used to buy the Big Issue from a man in Paisley, and I used to chat to him too. I was chatting to him one day and asked him how he was. He said "I'm fine, as long as it doesn't rain!" That stuck with me so when I got paid a couple of says later I went and bought him a lovely expensive rain jacket with a hood, better than the one I had. I went up and bought the Big Issue from him, handed him the jacket (he didn't thank me), had a little chat and wandered off only to turn around and see him stuffing the jacket into a nearby bin. I was absolutely humiliated, but I stopped buying his magazines that day (two years ago) and haven't said one word to him since, even though he's still in the exact same spot. After the incident with the jacket (about a month later) I watched him take a packet of fags out of his pocket, light up and take a call on his iPhone. Disgrace.

LeoandBoosmum Mon 02-Sep-13 01:27:32

Bloody hell, Daley, that's awful shock And there's me feeling a bit pissed off about a sandwich. I think you're right not to buy the BI off him any more. I would still try to help others if I could and I expect you'd do the same. If I could have one super power though it I would be to know people's reaction after the fact before the fact, IYKWIM? On another note completely I've lost count of the number of times I've been driving, had right of way but let the other car through -sometimes when it's been really inconvenient and I'm in a hurry - with no acknowledgement at all, not even a smile or a wave... Makes me irrationally angry to the point where I want to pursue the other driver and tell them off for bad manners (I don't)
wink

Bogeyface Mon 02-Sep-13 01:31:21

Not RTFT but H was scammed in Derby by a woman who approached him and his mate saying that she had just come on, had no money and was resorting to begging to get money for tampons. They gave her money to go away as she was going on about bog paper in her pants, blood down her legs.. you get the idea.

2 hours later (after they gave her enough money for many many packs of Sanpro) they saw her approaching other men.

Probably a scam, sorry. But look at it this way, if it wasnt then you did a good thing and you know that you are a good person smile

Bogeyface Mon 02-Sep-13 01:54:28

Have now RTFT and remember a time when I was with H before we got married. He had lived in Derby for several years when we were approached by a (at first glance) down at heel BI seller. I was going to buy one and he pulled me away and told the guy to fuck off. I was really shocked until he said "I wont buy BI from a man with better shoes than me" and pointed our his designer shoes, jacket and logo'd bag.

Lesson learned.

Seriously, dont go to Derby, the Chuggers are out in force too!

spindlyspindler Mon 02-Sep-13 02:27:29

It's a scam. I fell for it too. In my case, the guy who asked for his fare promptly left the bus we were on and started mithering people still at the bus stop for money as we drove off, whilst the other passengers looked at me with utter contempt. I'd always thought that the risk of being scammed was outweighed by the risk of not helping someone who needed it, but I am officially cured of the compulsion to give adults I don't know their fare home.

SmallTorch Mon 02-Sep-13 02:53:34

We've had a couple of these people come to the door of our home and ask for their money to get across town for their parole meeting or child's birthday party.

Ah inner city life.

I thought they both looked a bit heroin-y so didn't believe them. I think I can tell when someone just wants drugs, the story seems too desperate, and they over explain it, because it's routine.

HorsePetal Mon 02-Sep-13 08:03:06

When I was 15 I had to resort to doing this myself. I has lost my train money to get home and knew I would get a beating from my dad if I was late.

This was almost 30 years ago and some people were wary but others gave me spare change, enough to get home.

So you might have been scammed but then again you might not have and did your best to help this lady smile

TempusFuckit Mon 02-Sep-13 08:46:39

I've done this too! My DB and I were both on holiday in Spain, I got the bus to Malaga to meet him, and stupidly didn't bring any more money with me as he said he would give me some money he owed me (I was a very stupid 17). Unfortunately, there are two bus stations in Malaga ...

It took me ages to get the return bus fare - about £1's worth I think - as everyone thought I was a scammer.

Scam - at least it was only 2 quid. Dh got done 25 years ago & handed over a 20 (idiot - he couldn't afford 20 - but the guy was going to send him the money back - yeah right).

CeliaFate Mon 02-Sep-13 09:44:21

Definitely a scam, but you haven't lost a huge amount of money, you did a decent and kind thing and she may have been in need not just greedy.

I'd rather be you than her. smile

LIZS Mon 02-Sep-13 09:50:44

We've had warnings about similar scams in a local car park , sorry.

Nancy66 Mon 02-Sep-13 10:20:37

Al the people saying 'it's only a couple of quid' and 'I'd rather lose the money than be wrong' should realise that the people scamming you are probably earning more in a day than you do.

they are also part of a criminal network, some of whom will be violent. Your helping them keeps them in the area.

These are the people that will batter an old lady over the head to steal her pension. Wise up and ignore them.

oldgrandmama Mon 02-Sep-13 10:22:36

Typical scam. Sometimes they call at your door with a similar sob story. I fell for it first couple of times, but no longer.

Tuppenceinred Mon 02-Sep-13 10:28:30

Tell them you don't have cash, but will walk to the station with them and buy them a ticket.

KatoPotato Mon 02-Sep-13 10:32:23

Daley I think I know this seller too, doe he stand at the corner up from the cross outside the pharmacy? I used to give him double the BI money every week in the morning!

LadyBryan Mon 02-Sep-13 11:00:16

I would have done exactly the same OP.

A bit of change here and there doesn't matter to me. I'd rather take the chance and be scammed rather than not help someone who really needed it.

DaleyBump Mon 02-Sep-13 12:12:18

That's the one Kato!

serendippity Mon 02-Sep-13 12:16:53

Agree with buy them a ticket, however op, don't feel bad! I wouldn't be 100% sure it was a scam and if it wasn't you have helped a lady in distress the best you could. I recently had my purse swiped from my bag on the tube on a rare day out in London, lost ticket home, bank cards, everything. Utterly panicked I nearly started grabbing people off the tube to help me buy a travel card so I could get out of the bloody tube station, would have kissed anyone who'd helped me! In the end I calmed down and tearfully gabbled my story to some lovely station staff who contacted police for me and got me new ticket.
Have also lost a ticket on the way home when I was only about 17 and been asked for it on the train, only to not be able to find it. The guard was a total bastard, refusing to believe I had one and not believing I had no money to replace it. He made me give me all the money I had in my purse and made me feel like a total criminal. Not a single person on the train offered to help. This alone has made me try and help anyone who I feel is genuine, and there has been quite a few! (btw, I later found the bloody ticket in my pocket, presented it to the twat guard and he totally ignored me and refused to give the money I'd given him back to me. Not that I'm still bitter or anything 14 years on grin)

YouTheCat Mon 02-Sep-13 12:34:44

I know a woman who used to go to town with her 5 (at the time) children when it was children in need week.

She'd take a bucket with the logo on and make hundreds. Total scam.

I was approached at the bus stop once by a woman wanting a pound but I had nothing to give her. Felt a bit crap about not being able to help. Then I saw the same woman a few weeks later, at the same stop, trying it with an old lady - who I warned. Told the scammer to find a different bus stop.

FrenchRuby Mon 02-Sep-13 13:09:37

I think if rather be scammed out of a few quid on the chance that it might be a scam than not help someone who might have no way of getting home, you did the right thing.
But saying that, someone else further up the thread someone said about the train people letting people travel if they're in distress, I'm not sure if its true everywhere but I've had some lovely guards help me out before.
I was forever forgetting my train pass at college and the train guard always let me off the fine (I was always on the last train home).
And one year after a party I was attacked in a train station waiting for a train and the guard let me get the train home for free (i'd left my bag at my friends house by mistake) and even called my mum to pick me up the other end.

DeWe Mon 02-Sep-13 14:19:30

Used to see this in Oxford, often after dark, and almost always with young children sad. Or they'd lost their purse.

foreverhot Mon 02-Sep-13 15:23:03

I've had this too. Distressed woman asking for money to buy a train ticket. I offered to walk with her to the station (20 yards away) and buy one for her, but she declined right away. The thing is, she had cancer. Terminal cancer and her children were also hungry...........hmm

101handbags Mon 02-Sep-13 15:35:44

Yep, it's a scam. Same woman tried this on me twice in the space of about a month, near Old Street - acting distressed and even saying 'I swear it's not a scam' (?). Wanted money for a bus fare. First time I said I didn't have my purse on me -well I did, but would never get it out under these circumstances. Second time, after hearing the exact same performance a second time I just looked at her and said 'You've picked the wrong person, you told me all of this last month' and walked on.

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