Thursday, February 7, 2008

I am a huge sucker.

Tonight, during dinner, there was a knock at the door. I got up to answer, and there was a woman there, arms full of (ugly) teddy bears.

"I'm out tonight selling teddy bears to help out little 8-year-old Brenda Berlin who was hit by an uninsured driver up on 220th. We're raising money to help cover her medical bills" she said.

I contemplated. There was about a 50% chance that this woman was a big fat liar and was just scamming people. I hadn't heard about a little girl getting hit in our neighborhood. I asked for more details.

"Well her pelvis was fractured and she'll be in a cast for a long time. Her mother doesn't have any health insurance, and so we're out here tonight raising money to help cover Brenda's care."

Hmm. Uninsured mother. Big medical bills. Injured child. Stupid driver on a cell phone. Either she's telling me a really tragic story of a family in need, or she's telling me a huge tearjerker of a lie because she can tell I sometimes cry at commercials.

"Okay," I said, knowing full well that Brenda may not exist. But on the off chance that she did exist, that there was a scared mother and a hurt child in a hospital somewhere... "Here's $10. You can hang on to the bear."

Sure enough, after the woman left, I googled Brenda Berlin. Nothing. I googled all the details of the accident. Nothing. I'm pretty darn sure I got ripped off.

I can only hope that the real reason that woman was out selling teddy bears would have equally merited my "donation" and that it's actually going to buy her kid diapers or to pay her rent.

Good luck, teddy bear lady.


arduous said...

Aw man. That sucks when people take advantage of you like that. At least it wasn't $20?

Jennie said...

That is sick that someone would make up a story like that. However the only person I could imagine doing that wouldn't be someone who had a child at home. But remember not all accidents make their way into the news.

Lisa Sandigo said...

I also got suckered recently - magazine sales by 'disadvantaged' youth. He probably is disadvantaged by his company is out to scam. I stop paid my check after checking the internet for the company (he sounded like he was trying to play on my heartstrings), so hopefully I'm not out any $. My new thing is to be prepared in advance - I'm not giving away any $ at the door - too little time to research and make good decision.
Also see for ratings of at least the big charities

The bean-mom said...

I am also sometimes a big sucker.

And I hate it that these incidents just encourage us to become cynical and suspicious of others...

ceseattle said...

On 6/18 a man appeared at my door said he was David Berlin, a relative of Brenda Berlin hit while she was on her bike trying to raise money with the teddy bear gimmick. I handed over $10 & asked him for more details, he worked for Skyline Properties (who says he hasn't been with them for at least 8 months)and the girl's mother's name was Joan. I haven't been able to find anything about this either. Googled it today & found your blog. Next time I will give to feed the homeless at the Union Gospel Mission. There was something about the guy that just made me question him - should have listened to my heart on that one! I will keep checking just in case.