Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
A scam in a San Francisco street

Here is the story of what we think was a very weird tedious scam.

Last night we were trying to find parking around our neighbourhood. It is around 8:30 pm on a Saturday night. We usually have a lot of “fun” searching for a spot in the NOPA so we were happy to see a space right away. While we are paralel parking, the back of our car touched the license plate of the car behind (and when I write touched, I mean gently touched, not hit) so my boy finishes parking and leaves the car before me, quickly to realize that there is a guy standing between the cars ready to talk to him.

I exited the car quickly to hear the person saying that he is the owner of the car and that we hit it. He started saying: “Hey, man, how you doin’? have you been drinking?” “Do you have a insurance?” “Are you guys from around here?” To all this we said that we are sober, that his car seemed to have not even a scratch or damage and that we are not from around here, just visiting. I kept looking at the car with a license plate from Redwood City (at this point he clearly had mentioned that he is from the neighbourhood and that he is waiting for his mom to exit Lucky Market on Fulton) and figured that this guy just wanted us to give him money.

We looked at the car one more time trying to believe that this was not a dream and that we were having a pointless conversation with someone that insists that we hit his car parking.

I suggested that if he wanted to call the police we would. He did not seem to be too interested in the police and I liked that– he was definitely taking advantage of the situation just because we touched his car.

“What should we do?” we said. He replied: “I don’t know, you should at least take me for a burrito and a beer right there” (He pointed to the corner) I was surprised to hear that! I said: “We do not even know you. You do not know us. We go for a drink with a friend . Besides how do I know if after the burrito you will want something else and keep saying that we hit your car?

The guy was getting uncomfortable with me talking. He said that I talk too much. He was talking way too much too but I had nothing to fear since we did not do anything to his car and he was keeping us there, playing with us, on a freaking Saturday night.

Then he started saying: “You know what, forget it!” My boy said “OK” and got ready to leave. He was letting us go and I was too slow to just get into the car and follow him. I froze there seeing the guy with his phone taking a picture of our license plate. It was taking forever. Was he taking ten photos? I took my phone out and took a picture of his license plate too. I felt that the guy was not happy in the end. Why did I care about him being happy? My mistake. In the end we had not done anything wrong and he was being difficult. It did not make any sense.

One more time we started talking. “Give me $20 and that’s it”. My boy said: “I have no money” He replied: “There is an ATM right there”. My boy replied: ” What about I buy you a six pack of beer instead?” But no, he wanted money.

At this moment we all ran out of ideas. It was all a waste of time so we ended things that way, took the car and left.

Finding parking took us a bit of time so my boy and I talked on our way. He thought right away that the guy was probably lying and that car was maybe someone else’s. He could have seen us parking and touching the license plate and thought of an easy scam to get something out of us.

A quarter of an hour later we drove by the same street and coincidentally saw the guy crossing the street by foot and turning into one of the neighbourhood streets. I had already checked if the car was parked in the same spot and could not see it. I was almost convinced that this guy was lying all the way.

The interesting part of the story comes when we arrived home the freaking guy is sitting at our door step!!! He has his “night” sunglasses and hat (he was looking the same when we met him) and he is drinking some liquor which did not smell that strong. I could not believe my eyes. I started getting pretty annoyed at this point and began wondering how the hell he found us. He said that he “googled us” but I think that someone told him that we were from the neighbourhood. I am not sure how he managed but the guy is saying how he felt that we left and he wanted US to apologize. This was a complete comedy.

Everything was so strange and unreal. What a way of meeting people from the neighbourhood! This guy did not know our names, he was not sure if we are really from the zone, he just knew where we were staying. FUNNY! He had so much time to waste on a Saturday night, he was really wasting our time and at this level of disrespect I felt like really calling 911. Not wanting to envolve the owners of the house and without having a real offense I just listened to what he had to say which was a lot of non sense. Every time I wanted to say something to him he would get annoyed until he said that I was being agressive. The conversation was low and slow at all times. We were all far from being agressive or loud. He just did not like my female mouth. He did not like feeling discovered by some neighbours. He knew we knew.

I left my boy alone talking to him and started crying on the side. I was so frustrated. He was getting ready to leave when he saw me really upset and then he was the one trying to apologize. I lost my patience. I was in silence and I did not want to talk to him anymore. I felt that communication was not working with this guy and there was nothing else for me to say. He left saying “it is just a life experience”. I replied in the distance: “Yes, a very bad one!”.

I hope I do not see this guy anymore in the week I have left in SF. If this guy comes bugging us again I will not talk to him. I will just call the police to deal with him. I doubt this guy is so stupid to come back when he knows I am done with him. Is this the kind of San Francisco drama that people talk about? If this happened in SF, in the NOPA, I cannot imagine other hoods or cities.

If I have to face a scammer again I will make sure the conversation is short and precise. I do not have to make these type of people happy. I should have known better that there is nothing to fear if you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes putting your heart in every event of your life is not recommended.

Leave a Reply