Work Like Your Dog by Luke Barber

Work Like Your Dog by Luke Barber

Author:Luke Barber [Weinstein, Matt]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-0-307-56856-4
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2009-07-28T16:00:00+00:00

I’ve been spending way too much time lately at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, which is considered by many people to be the stress epicenter of the known universe. One evening I was standing in line to buy a ticket to Dallas, where I was scheduled to give a speech the next day. The woman in front of me was also trying to buy a ticket to Dallas, but she was having some sort of trouble, and so the ticket agent finally asked her to step aside while he took care of the rest of us.

Ten minutes later I spotted the same woman walking up to the Dallas gate. She was visibly upset, and as soon as she saw me she walked right over to where I was standing. In an attempt to be friendly, I asked her if she had straightened out her ticket, and she told me that no, she hadn’t. In a halting voice she explained that she had been mugged the night before and had lost her wallet and credit cards. So she had telephoned her uncle in Texas, and he had ordered her a prepaid ticket. The problem was that the airline computer showed her reservation on the Dallas flight, but it didn’t show that her ticket had been paid for.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said to me in despair. “This is the last flight of the night to Dallas. I guess I’ll have to stay in the airport overnight, and I’ll call my uncle in the morning and have him go over to his travel agent and straighten it all out.”

At this point two conflicting thoughts occurred to me. The first was “Here is a poor stranded woman. I can help her out, buy her a ticket, and she can pay me back when we get to Dallas.” The second, more powerful thought was “Here is a con artist trying to rip me off for an airplane ticket. There is no way I’m going to fall for that one!”

Now, it so happens that during my college days I worked one summer as a redcap in the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, and I met all sorts of con artists and saw all sorts of scams in action. I even got to be good friends with one of the veteran con artists, a guy whose pitch was “I just need two more bucks to get a ticket back to Buffalo. Can you help me out, pal?” He made more money than I did, and by the end of the summer he probably could have purchased a limo and driven back to Buffalo in style. Except, of course, that he had no intention of going to Buffalo.

So I considered myself a pretty good judge of character, a seasoned veteran when it came to sniffing out scams. As I talked with this woman for a few more minutes, something melted inside of me. I thought to myself, “This woman needs my help; there’s no way she’s a con artist.


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