// January 18th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Jonathan
Usually after being away from home a while I tend to get a bit down and have thoughts like “nobody likes me” and “I’m not cool enough”, etc. Not that I actually believe it, but those kinds of thoughts are hardly ever really rational. My DSL connection in Gauteng has been down (Thanks again Telkom), and 3G coverage here is sparse at best, so keeping in touch has been a bit tough as well. I decided to go to Centurion Mall, which I haven’t tried out yet to go get a haircut and buy some new clothes. It’s very humid here at the moment, so I hoped that that would help me feel better and fresher.
The barbers were booked until Tuesday and I wasn’t really feeling like shopping anymore so I just had a quick lunch and decided to go back. On the way out, a guy came to my car and asked if I could give him and his sister a quick lift. I never pick up hitch-hikers and it’s my policy not too. They looked like poor people, but I didn’t want to judge and didn’t put too much further thought into it. I don’t really know why, but I decided to be nice and give them a lift anyway. He said that they were selling car fresheners in the parking lot and if I’d want to buy one from them too. My car was just in a service yesterday and they put new freshener in my car, so I really didn’t need one (and I don’t like them much anyway). I saw him counting money and thought that they did quite well today. He was also fidgeting in a bunch of plastic bags the whole time that they had with them. He started throwing papers out the car. I was really annoyed, because I don’t ever throw anything out of my car and I expect the same from my passengers, and it’s rude polluting.
He asked if I could perhaps take them a bit further- just another 5km’s or so, it would really help them a lot. I thought that a total of another 10km or so won’t really hurt me time-wise so much, I might as well do it. It turned out to be more like another 15km further, I dropped them off in Pretoria. In some ways, I’m a bit obsessive compulsive. I do things in a certain way and in a certain order, it helps me to tell when something is wrong or when it’s not how it should be. I usually put my wallet in my cupholders space, it fits in there nicely and you can’t really see it from outside. I noticed that it was upside down from how it usually is. I wandered if I was just in a rush when I put it in there, or whether I was paranoid. I saw them walking away, and thought what the heck, I’ll just quickly look before I drive away. I knew I had about R450 in my wallet. I opened my wallet- and it was empty, he took all the money in my wallet. I climbed out of my car and ran on to them. I told him that I want my money back. He said he didn’t take it and that it’s not in his character to steal money. His sister started rambling on about how she was in the back of the car all the time but I didn’t really listen. I told them that I know that they took my money and I don’t believe anything they say. I also realised that I’m in a very unfamiliar area and I didn’t know whether they had any kind of weapons with them, so I just turned around and went back to my car. I realised that the papers he was throwing out the window all along was gaurantee slips that was in my wallet for things that I bought for my company. Luckily all my credit/garage/debit cards and my drivers license were still safe inside. The money isn’t such a big deal, but I’m really disgusted at them. What kind of low-life would steel money from someone who’s nice enough to do them a favour?
I’m not at all bitter about it though. It happened about 40 minutes ago, I’m just wondering what the lesson is here.
Is it perhaps that I should learn to stick to my personal policies? Was this perhaps a slap on the wrist for giving strangers a lift when I know that I shouldn’t?
Is it perhaps God’s way of telling me “Stop being so fucking miserable, you’re not all that bad, look, there are way worse people in the world.”?
Is it perhaps that I shouldn’t trust people who don’t look trustworthy. I’ve had poor people try to trick me out of money a few times in the past before, but because I’m usually quite sharp and on the lookout for things that aren’thow they should be, I managed to not get caught.
Perhaps it’s so that I can repeat the message here:
- Don’t pick up strangers, ever.
- Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
I don’t really know what the lesson is here, I was very angry with them for a minute or so, but I’m glad that I managed to let it slide so quickly. I’m also thankful for what I have, and looking forward to being back home again next week.