I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Buying Love

How much are we willing to pay to be loved? Buying the biggest, more expensive gift in exchange for love? Or lowering ourselves below our dignity level? How about believing anything we are told because we want to believe?

Sometimes that quest for love in all the wrong places means falling prey of scams, professional scams.

Last summer a good friend announced she had been rewarded with the man of her dreams, a civil engineer from the United Kingdom, a widower father of a 10 year old who was going to marry her and give her the world.

They had met on line by accident as good things meant to be happen.

She sent me his picture. A studio posed picture of a good looking middle age man dressed in a suit. A middle age man posing is odd, I felt.

He traveled with his daughter who received tutoring classes abroad because he couldn’t bear be away form the child. The girl called her mom after a couple of months. Odd. The on line fiancĂ©e was going to fly to see her and bring the daughter to stay with her. Odd

Months went by and I didn’t hear from her until my birthday when she called. Her life was now upside down and she was in tears, desperate and inconsolable. She had waited at the airport until midnight to greet the soon to be husband and his daughter but the visitors have never arrived. The dream man now in Nigeria on a consulting job had been arrested on his way to see her when he punched an immigration official.

She relied his anguished cry for help. He was incarcerated in Nigeria and the Nigerian government had decided to kill prisoners to reduce population in jails. The girl was in a foster home. My friend cried.

How do you communicate? I asked.

On his cell. They allowed him to keep it. Odd

They are going to kill him but they are making concessions so he cancommunicate with his girlfriend? I kept those thoughts to myself..

And he needs $1,500 in addition to what she already sent him to pay a lawyer. His money was tied up in UK and he couldn’t get it from jail.

I tried to calm my friend and still wanting to believe too, urged her to advise this man to provide the lawyer with a power of attorney document. Something the lawyer himself should know.

She said that wouldn’t work, they were unable to wire money from the UK to Nigeria.

I goggled dating scams and was appalled at the # of hits. Most of the stories were similar. Widower, British consultant on assignment in Nigeria, child, something happens on their way out of the country and then the request for money.

I called her that night. I read my findings to her; she was shocked but incredulous. She asked me to call him, for what I am not sure. I didn’t.

She called me again and told me she had been in contact with him. He couldn’t be a scammer, she didn’t doubt him, not after the e-mails he had sent her. I asked to see them and she forwarded the first one.

The grammar was poor, the punctuation off but some paragraphs, the romantic and sweet sentences were perfectly written in English.

I goggled those sentences. They came up! The letters were found in the scammers letters websites.

I called my friend again and forwarded the letters. She was distraught. I felt guilty for her distress and afraid of the consequences.

She assured me she would be fine but I still don’t know.

Sometimes we need a fantasy to hold on. Sometimes we need to believe someone loves us, really loves us and to burst that bubble can be like removing a floatation device from under a person drowning. They might not have the strength to remain at float. I hope that she does.