I’m in London for the week and having a great time. It’s busy though and there are always moments in this city when I feel like a rube.
Shortly after arriving at Euston, a woman approached me on the street. I’m good at letting people down when they’re asking for money by giving them a friendly smile and a “sorry” but there was something a bit different about this person’s energy.
“I am French,” she explained, “No one believes me but my wallet has been stolen.”
She was holding her handbag open as if to reveal no wallet.
Looking back, I think she was probably a scammer but I half-believed her at the time and I still worry that I failed to help someone who was in a rare pickle.
She didn’t look like the typical scammer. I think she really was French and, while the bulging Marty Feldman eyes made her look slightly odd, she seemed to be middle-class and uncomfortable about asking for help.
“What do you need?” I asked, thinking I could perhaps call someone for her.
“Six pounds,” she said, for a train back to somewhere.
“I don’t carry cash,” I said truthfully, “maybe if you go back to the station and speak to the ticket sellers they might be able to help you,” and I walked away.
When I peeked back, she wasn’t flicking me the V’s or routinely hassling a next person; in fact she seemed a bit deflated. It was true that I had no cash but I suppose I could have gone to a cash machine if I only had been more certain she was for real.
I’m 50-60% sure it was a scam and I’m sure some of you worldly Londoners will confirm if this is a common wheeze, but she seemed more plausible than our Glasgow scammers and I worry that I sent a nice woman back to the continent angry about her time on Brexit Island. She’d been mugged and then not helped by anyone. You know, unless this was all a bollocks.