Stickman Readers' Submissions February 17th, 2009

When is a Friend not a Friend?

Here lies another sucker…

For those of you who think you know better, read, digest and learn. After several visits to Thailand you think you’ve seen it all and laugh at the newbies sending money back to their girlfriends so they don’t work the bar, and watch the same girls run out of the bar so they can answer a phone call from their boyfriend.

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There’s a danger that lies closer to home, i.e. “friends in need”.

I travelled to Thailand for a long break 2 years ago with a friend I used to drink with on a Friday night in my home town. On arrival we went our separate ways – me on extended holiday in Pattaya, him to work in Bangkok

And so the fun began.

18 months later out of the blue came an email from him asking for my telephone number as he had lost it. I duly replied and received a few general chit chat text messages.

Then the sucker punch. He had been pick-pocketed in Tesco Lotus and lost his wallet and credit cards. Since he was a good friend and a person I had known for several years I was not concerned when he asked to borrow money to pay rent for his condo. It was no problem as he would pay me back the next week when his new Barclays card arrived.

So the money was transferred along with all the thank yous that went with it.

Later that week his wife was rushed into hospital for the birth of their second child, and out popped a healthy baby boy (the sex of the child varies depending on who the guy is telling the story to) along with a fairly healthy hospital bill.

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Then the messages started again because the credit card could not be sent to Thailand, only his UK address, and his mother was on holiday so she could not forward it to him..

So I donned my shining armour again and paid the hospital bill. The kind chap named his son after me (I was told later that the name might not be apt as the son may in fact be a daughter depending who he span the yarn to.)

Then the excuses began money next week, then next week, then tomorrow. When talking to friends about it I was convinced I was going to get the money as he SMSed me every day with new weird and wonderful excuses. If he wasn’t going to pay me why not just throw the SIM card away then I could not get in touch with him but no, the excuses kept coming. I ran out of money while waiting for the cash back off him. I borrowed money from my sister for a flight back to the UK but he still insisted the money was coming so I dipped into my flight money. But this was no problem as we were going to fly back together and he was going to pay for the flight with his air miles. Then more excuses and flight delays and more debt for me for general living expenses.

But as we were going to fly soon I had my cases packed at the font door for 4 days waiting for flight confirmation.

WRONG! I eventually didn’t have any money to wait longer for the flight and had to pay for it by credit card (more debt).

So now I am back in the UK with no job, no income from the government, in the middle of a recession with the threat of losing my house. My shining armour tarnished as I haven’t the polish to shine it.

But it's ok. He SMSed me yesterday and the money is going into the bank account on Wednesday. I won't be holding my breath.

I think in this instance it wasn’t the case of better the devil you know.

If this sounds familiar please write into Stickman with your story.

If you want anymore details on the guy who did this to me or you think you may have been conned by the same guy contact me via email provided by Stickman.


Stickman's thoughts:

Sad when this happens with someone from your home town. Recently a friend came to me with real money problems and asked and then pleaded to borrow from me. My response was as it always is, "I don't borrow or lend money EVER!" End of problem!

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