An Unlikely Honor

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about meeting a man who is a true friend while on patrol.

Submitted: December 20, 2011

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Submitted: December 20, 2011

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The call on the computer screen in my cruiser was familiar, the calling party wanted to report a fraud. Dispatch advised this had something to do with an email and a “Friend in Need”.  On day shift I take fraud reports every day where the victim has been taken advantage of by and unknown suspect using one of countless scams common to police and to thieves.  

 

I met the calling party, a gentleman with a very thick foreign accent who went by Ben.  Ben told me he had received an email from a, “very trusted friend” who was traveling to Spain, had been mugged, and was in trouble.  I immediately recognized the email Ben was explaining as a common scam that attacks all the contacts in your email contact list. This email sends an email similar to the following to all the contacts in your email contact list and it appears it is from you. 

 

“I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, 

I came down here to United Kingdom for a 

short vacation unfortunately i was mugged 

at the park of the hotel where i stayed,

all cash,credit card and cell were stolen 

off me but luckily for me i still have my 

passports with me. I've been to the embassy 

and the Police here but they're not helping 

issues at all and my flight leaves in 

less than 3hrs from now but am having 

problems settling the hotel bills and the 

hotel manager won't let me leave until i 

settle the bills,

I'm freaked out at the moment.”

 

I have personally received this email three times from various friends in the last couple of years. 

 

Ben told me this is his most trusted friend and he would do anything to help.  Ben said he contacted his friend via email and was given instructions on sending money via wire transfer.  He did not understand that the email to his friend had been switched slightly. ( friend@gmail.com had been changed to friend@ymail.com).

 

Ben stated he sent $3000 dollars via wire transfer to his friend in Spain to help him get out of Spain.  Ben told me  his friend immediately let him know he needed $4000 more dollars because Customs had detained him.  Ben told me again he wired the money as directed to help get his friend out of trouble. By the time the third request came in for $15000 Ben became suspicious and did some calling around. Ben said he called his friend who answered the phone and stated he was well and fine in Colorado.  Ben stated he was immediately ill and knew he had been scammed. It cost him $7000 dollars.  

 

I took the report filling in all the details and asked for copies of all the emails Ben had gotten from the suspect. Ben already knew and I confirmed his fears that there was no way for us to track the wire money trasnfers to the unknown suspect. Ben was out $7000 dollars with nothing to do but learn a very hard lesson in modern day scammers.  

 

I had met Ben at his work and saw that his co-workers were trying to comfort him in any way they could.  They all felt terrible that Ben had been scammed out of so much money.  

 

Before I left I asked Ben’s three co-workers to leave the room so that I could talk to Ben in private for a moment.  After they closed the door I put away my pen and writing pad in my pockets where I keep them.  I looked Ben in the eye and told him I was extremely honored to meet a man and a friend who would send $7000 dollars to a friend in need with no questions asked. I told Ben not many people are friends or have friends like him. I explained to him that it’s men like him who keep my hopes for mankind very high in the midst of all the criminals who lie, cheat, and steal for the smallest of rewards.  With a tear in his eye, Ben gave me a hug and told me he greatly appreciated me. 

 

As I typed my report I shared the amazing story of “a great friend”  with my team.  My team does not fully understand my appreciation for my job and my life but they enjoy the break I give them from all the negativity that is encountered on a daily basis in our job.

 

A short time after finishing my report I had just left the station and made a traffic stop for an expired registration. Minutes later I was pointing my taser at the person from my traffic stop and ordering him to get back in his vehicle or risk being tased. I take 5 - 10 service calls a day with every call being different than the last.  Each day is a new adventure.  Calls like the one above keep me on an even keel so that I don’t become jaded. 

 

Officer Gomez


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