Apr. 24, 2017

We Won the Lottery!

My husband is not a very confrontational person. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the phone or in front of him face-to-face, he tries to avoid those kinds of situations. So when a scammer (Ron), who my husband described as having a thick accent from India, called to announce we had won a lottery, I wasn’t surprised when he thanked the caller politely and hung up the phone. Whereas with me, I would have called the scammer out and asked questions that would have the person explaining himself or I would have messed with him a little bit first.

“What was that all about?” I asked when he hung up.

“He’s trying to tell me we won $150,000 but I have to go to Walmart and pick up a money order for $400,” he explains. “The money order is their service fee for running the lottery and notifying people of their wins.”

I laughed about it at first then just to clarify, I asked, “You’re not really going to Walmart, are you?”

Laughing, too, my husband answered, “Hell no. I told him it would take me a couple of hours before I could get to town and pick one up, but I’m not really going. I just said that to get off the phone. Anyway, he probably won’t call back.”

Thirty minutes later, ‘Ron’ calls back. My husband exclaims, “I told you it would take me a couple of hours! You haven’t even given me an hour and you’re already calling me back.”

At this, I stopped what I was doing and listened in. I was mildly amused that my husband was confronting him and doing it with some with irritation in his voice.

Apparently, Ron was instructing my husband to leave now because he responded, “I’ll leave whenever I get ready to leave. What’s wrong, are you that hard up for the money or something? And, while we’re at it, how did you get my name from a drawing to win a lottery? I don’t remember filling anything out and submitting my information.”

There’s a short pause as Ron attempts to answer satisfactorily before my husband says, “Okay, if that’s true: what’s my address? It seems all you know is my name and phone number. Where do I live, what kind of work do I do and how much money do I make a year? Those are all standard questions most applications ask for in a lottery submission.”

I was quietly laughing to myself. I’ve never known any lottery to ask for more information than your name, address, and phone number (contact information in case of a win). I couldn’t hear Ron’s explanation but my husband pretended to accept his responses and agreed to hang up, go to Walmart and purchase the $400 money order.

Teasingly, I said to my husband, “You know, you’re lying to him.”

“I don’t care,” he shrugged, “He’s lying to me, too.” 

Ron called back a little over two hours later. My husband, very apologetically, explained that our son had our only vehicle and wasn’t home yet. He didn’t know when he would be able to make it Walmart.

The following day, Ron calls again and asks if my husband has made it there, yet. “I forgot about you,” my husband explains.

Every day, Ron calls to see if my husband has gone to Walmart to get the $400 and every day, my husband gives him a different excuse as to why he hasn’t gotten there this time. This farce goes on for about a week until finally, Ron figures out he’s not going to get the money order, no matter how long he waits or how many phone calls he makes.

I knew this realization dawned on Ron because my, ever so polite and humble, husband calls him every name in the book. “Don’t you call me a lying piece of shit then,” my husband yells. “You’re the one who called me lying to me and trying to screw me out of some money. I did not call you!”

My husband is not holding back, either. He’s openly laughing at Ron as Ron goes off on him again. Finally, I hear him say before hanging up, “I just wanted to see how long it took you to figure out that I’m not sending you anything and it took about week.”

About a month after this incident, Ron calls back and I answer the phone. I know it’s him because of the Hindu accent, plus, he explains to me that he had already notified my husband some time earlier but my husband didn’t believe him. However, Ron really doesn’t want us to miss out on the $150,000 and is giving us another chance.

“Okay,” I reply. “I’ll run to town and get it (the $400 money order).”

I asked for a phone number and was assured he would call me back in about an hour. I had purchased a money order from Walmart the week before for my younger brother and I still had the receipt on my desk. I was curious as to how Ron was going to be able to use it if I could not give him the physical money order. I decided this would be a learning experience for me.

When Ron called back, I confirmed that, indeed, I did have a money order receipt from Walmart. When I requested his address so that I may mail it to him, he explained I only needed to give him the numbers at the bottom of the receipt.

I read off the queue of numbers at the bottom. Ron became very excited and in his thick accent declared, “Yes, those are the numbers!” Ron’s excitement quickly turned to frustration, though. He said, “This says it’s already been cashed and it was for only $100, not 400!”

Now, how did he know that? “What?” I exclaimed in mock shock. “What do you mean $100 and it was already cashed?”

“That’s what it says,” Ron practically yelled. I noted the more hyper and excited Ron became, the thicker his accent was.

“Are you sure?” I challenged. “I just bought that, how would you know?”

“Because, I have a machine here that tells me,” he explained. Then as if he just realized he might have given me a bit too much information, he clammed up.

“Well, I’ll be damned. I could have sworn I sent my brother more than $100. I can’t believe he’s already gotten it, cashed it and didn’t even bother to call me and let me know anything!”

“Your brother?” Ron stammers out.

Now, I was openly laughing at him. “Well, yeah. You don’t really think I am going to give a perfect stranger any money when I know that person is lying to me about winning $150,000, do you?”

“What is wrong with you?” Ron demands. “What kind of sick people are you? There are real people out there who would love to have $150,000 in their pockets and here you and your husband are wasting my time with your sick games!”

(Yes, he really chastised me for this)

I ignored the many vulgar expletives Ron used in his chastisements and instead, said in a fake Hindu accent, “Then don’t call us back anymore and waste your time. We’re not the ones calling you, remember?”

Ron did call back a third time several months later. Again, I answered the phone. “Ron!” I said enthusiastically as if I were greeting a long lost friend. “Is that you, you old son-of-a-goat-lover? I thought for sure we would never hear from you again!”

I think it was more than he could bear. I’m guessing Ron had our number somewhere and forgot why he set it aside or maybe thought we were easy prey. It was only when I answered, he remembered us. After some very choice and colorful words, Ron hung up and never called us back again.

Ron, if you’re out there. We miss you and we’d like to invite you over for a nice (cow) steak dinner.