I was walking towards Amorsolo Street in Makati the other night to meet my wife when two women approached me. One of two is about 40 to 45 years old while the other one looks frail and maybe about 60 to 70 years old. The younger one was the who spoke asking for help. She said that they were left behind by their companions and needs fare money to get home.
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Now this is not the first time that some one has approached me and asked for such fare money with the same modus. What made it interesting though was that, someone else did that to me before at the same exact spot. That was a few months ago and I can barely remember that it was a lady and an adolescent kid who were there last time out.
I was like having this Deja Vu feeling at that instance. Matrix the movie came to my mind and I thought I have to do something different right there and then. Wearing my black jacket ala laurence Fishburne I stopped walking, looked slowly towards the two women and in a Keanu Reeves like tone spoke:
"Alam nyo po mas maganda kung sasamahan ko kayo sa pulis. May mga naka-station dyan sa kanto. Mas matutulungan nila kayo."
I can see the womens eyes became alert all of a sudden. The younger of the two hurriedly took the hand of the elder one. The elder one who was looking frail and pitiful stiffened and fixed how she was wearing her slippers.(tatakbo???)
From there, I knew I touched some nerves.
"Ano po? Nandiyan po sila sa kanto, me nakita akong mobil nila. Malamang ihahatid pa kayo ng mga yun."
The younger one said, "Mababait ba mga yun?"
"Opo naman!", was my retort. "Tara po."
"Hindi, kami na lang. Nakakahiya naman sa iyo. Okay na kami."
They then turned away and moved towards the opposite the direction from where I told them the police mobile is.
This modus operandi is very very rampant these days here in Metro Manila. So rampant that there was a time when the same guy whom I've given fare money to while I was in UP Diliman, came up to me also in Ayala in Makati asking for "pamasahe pauwi".
Coincidence? - No!
A Scam? - Definitely!!!
A light scam some calls it as they are not asking for millions but instead asking for coins. The scammer would say, "Kahit piso lang po pandagdag sa pamsahe.". The scammee (heheh imbento ko lang ang salita) on the other hand will have a sudden rush of mercy and give more than just a piso and will in fact give the exact amount of the fare needed to reach Sn Fernando in Pampanga. And so the scammer goes home with more that what he/she asked for.
Now imagine if in one full day the scammer is able to convince a hundred person to give the exact fare each to Pampanga. Riding a van to San Fernando is about a hundred bucks. That is a whopping P10000 all in a days (scam) job.
Budol-budol stems from this kind of scam. Based on my observation, most of those who asks for fare money targets passersby who are in their lonesome. It would be easier for them to scam a single person than do it to two or to a bunch. If they can do this now and still think that they are not doing anything wrong with the failed reasoning that what they are getting were given for free and not stolen, what stops them from being monsters of deception at a later time. For all we know it could be possible that they are already one big syndicate prowling the metro just like those street kids who are asked to beg for alms by criminal gangs.
The solution for this is simple. Do not to give them the money that they are asking. For as long as we give them a few coins, it translates as more fuel for them to ask for more and to continue. If your conscience bothers you, help them but not by giving money. Offer bringing them to a government office whose job is to assist them.
Just like what I did. The police could have helped those two women.
Or may have detained them... if my gut feel was correct.
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