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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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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)

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

That's the one Kato!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

saintlyjimjams Mon 02-Sep-13 08:55:03

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).

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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

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)

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.

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.

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!'

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