Saturday, June 5, 2010

WHAT would you do? - An Odd Help Request

Yesterday morning I received an email asking for help from a guy I've known since 2003. I haven't seen him since 2003 or 2004. I think he became involved with someone and we lost contact. Maybe once in those 6-7 years did we send an email.
In fact, he's not even on my local forecast list I send out weekly.
So, yesterday's email was a desperate plea for assistance. He's in the UK and he and his parents were apparently robbed and beaten. All of their cash, credit cards and phones were stolen. Fortunately, their passports were still in their hotel room. The incident happened outside the small hotel. The hotel manager will NOT release them until they pay (apparently in the U.K. this small hotel doesn't take a credit card up front for some odd reason). With no money, they can't pay!
So, "D" said in his email that he and his family checked with the U.S. Embassy and other places and no one would help them. Their plane departed yesterday and they're still being held at the hotel (How foolish is that to have them take up rooms where people could pay now?). "D" emailed and asked if I (and whoever else was BCC'd on his email) could give a credit card to the hotel to cover it, and he'd pay me (and whomever) back. I reluctantly agreed but after much back and forth the hotel manager (who speaks some weird mix of French and British English) said that his "credit card machine is broken" and he requested a Western Union money transfer.
For those who have used Western Union you know that they ONLY TAKE CASH, not credit cards. I learned about it. I told "D" I couldn't send him the $1800.00 to cover the bill, but could send a fraction of that to help cover some costs and get he and his family on the plane. He accepted and emailed back (he was using a library computer).
The whole thing sounds weird. A hotel that doesn't understand people were robbed. A hotel that refuses to let people fly home even with a promise to pay after a terrible incident. A U.S. Embassy that refuses to help. An old acquaintance that I haven't heard from in 6-7 years that suddenly needs urgent help and $1800 overseas. (I know he lives and works in DC). I'm just wondering where his true friends are, his boyfriend is, or his relatives are and why they're not helping him. I know he's shy, so perhaps he doesn't know many people. I just find it really strange, but I'm always willing to help someone out.
This morning I wired some money to him from Western Union (yes, in cash). I don't expect to ever see it again (I watch Judge Judy...who says, "don't lend money to people if you expect to get it back. You won't).
I hope he and his family are able to negotiate with what I sent, and get home. Meanwhile, if you travel, ALWAYS leave money and a credit card back at the hotel with your passport. We do. This is a lesson to all.

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Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next