I’m on my second drink but I’ve had a few before…

So, check this out. This morning around 11.30, I walk outside the building where I temp. It’s in what I guess you’d call “mid-town Nashville.” It’s not downtown but it’s definitely in the city. Anyway, I often go outside to make personal calls and walk around the block, get some air, you know. So I make a phone call and start walking around the block. I get a block away from the building and this guy starts walking towards me. Something looks a little off. Even though he’s dressed nicely in a tennis shirt and slacks. His hair is groomed and he has a short beard that’s nicely trimmed. There’s some grey in the beard. He’s maybe in his late forties.

I’ve just snapped my phone closed and he calls out to me, “Sir!” and asks if I live in Nashville. I say yes. He walks over with his hand extended and introduces himself as so-and-so from Cleveland (I think). He tells me he’s a pastor with such-and-such church and they do work with drug users and alcoholics and he’s in town for something. He even tells me the street address of the church. I’m sure he said “we” and “us” as though he’s in town with a group. Then he explains that “our” van has broken down and he only needs like $5 or $10 dollars for something.

At this point the alarms are ringing in my head. He tells me if I can just give him anything, he’ll mail it back to me once they get home. I tell him that I’m sorry but I don’t have anything on me, not even change. Here’s the kicker: he gives me that grimmace that tells me he thinks I’m lying. I’ve known a few ministers and I’m pretty sure that if one asked me for money and I told him I didn’t have any, lying or not, he would tell me to have a great day and he’d smile and leave me alone. This guy just smirked. So it was a total con.

As I walked away I thought about all the questions I wish I’d had the balls to ask him. An entire church group came to Nashville from Cleveland without a debit or credit card between them? What sort of bank doesn’t give you a damn debit card? What sort of van repair can be paid for with donations from kindly strangers on the street? Why wasn’t he seeking help from the ministers in the church right across the street?

It’s so aggravating to run into those swindlers and not call them out.