It’s late. It’s dark. You’re standing on the corner of a deserted street waiting for the light to change when a woman appears. She’s out of breath, crying, shaking like a leaf. She tells you that her car has been towed and that she has no money for a cab. She’d take the Metro, but she needs to pick-up her kids up from daycare and there is no stop nearby. She seems so sincere, and after all, it’s just a few dollars. She takes your money, and disappears into the night.
Almost three months ago, the scenario above played out on the corner of 7th and E. The woman in question was a tall (5’10″) African-American woman wearing a puffy, navy coat and a bun in her hair. And I was her unwitting rube.
Last night, while walking to the E Street Starbucks, I saw the same woman, on the same corner, selling a slightly altered version of her story to another unsuspecting sap. (In this telling, she had been the victim of a car wreck and the police had refused to drive her home.) I debated whether or not I should say something to her newest victim, but decided against it when I realized that the con artist was almost twice my size.
So, let this blog post serve as a warning to my fellow PQ residents. If someone approaches you asking for money, no matter how gut wrenching their story: walk away. Because while you might not miss the $10, you’ll certainly feel stupid for a lifetime.