A couple of years ago I received a friend request on Facebook from a person I haven’t seen in ten years or so. We’d previously been part of the same social circle, and at one time I had considered this person (who I will refer to as B) a close friend. My view had changed somewhat when many years ago B borrowed a sum of money from me ($50), which he never repaid. It wasn’t a huge sum, but we were all in our twenties and were impoverished musicians or artists and the fact that he didn’t pay me back when promised changed my view of him, which had led to us growing apart and losing contact.
When I received the friend request I chose to put the past behind me – after all, we’d once been close and it wasn’t a huge sum of money, and ten years had passed. I was confident he’d have grown up and changed a lot, as I had.
After adding him as a friend, we chatted a few times, uploaded old photographs and generally reminisced. It was a lot of fun and quite nostalgic and I was glad to be back in touch with B. It was nice, but B had moved from the city we lived in and now lived quite a distance away, so we never got the opportunity to meet up again. Life moved on and we once again fell out of contact, though we stayed on each others’ friends list.
About a year later, I received a group invitation to come along to a reunion dinner for our old social circle. B was the group creator and within the message he mentioned that he had recently been in a serious car accident and injured both himself and his dog and written his car off. He mentioned that he had been on the road working and traveling with his dog who he had trained from a pup to perform tricks. He was devastated about his dog who was his best friend, it was suspected that due to needing unaffordable surgery, the dog would never perform again. The dog and his car were his income, and due to the injured dog and lack of car, he was coming back to the area to stay with family while he recuperated. He said he’d love to see everyone and catch up.
The message was quite emotive and I was touched by it, so when I found out I wouldn’t be able to attend due to work commitments, I took the time to write a personal (private) reply to B directly. I expressed how much I would have loved to see him and the old group and how sorry I was to hear of his accident. I wished him a speedy recovery and said we ought to meet up at a later date before he left town again.
The next day I received a message from B that simply said, “Don’t worry if you can’t make it. I just wanted to ask everyone to donate some money to help me get a new car and pay for my dog’s surgery. My bank details are XXXX.”
I was shocked and suddenly felt very glad I couldn’t make it. I felt like the group reunion dinner was just a ploy to get a large group of people together so he could solicit for donations. I later spoke to some friends who had attended who were quite taken aback when he’d passed his own hat several times during dinner and drinks, even asking strangers at the bar/restaurant to contribute.
As if that weren’t bad enough, it has just come to light that the cause of the car accident was B’s own doing. He had been driving drunk and speeding, and had lost control of the vehicle! 0829-12