Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

We had a friend, an acquaintance really, and we had known him for several years. Let's call him Juan, shall we? Juan detailed cars, and took care of my husband Alex's fleet of BMW's for about 10 years. Juan was a big guy, quick to smile, very friendly, very outgoing! Alex and I really liked him. Juan took pride in his work and did his very best to keep cars looking sharp! We recommended him to friends, and sent a lot of business his way.

We got a frantic telephone call from Juan one Saturday last October. He needed help and he needed it right away. Alex took the call and after he hung up, he relayed what Juan was asking for. It seems that Juan was working on a "deal" with a major company (Pixar Studio's in Emeryville) to take care of their fleet of company cars. Juan had met with the top guy from Pixar the day before and was assured it was all but a done deal.

So what's the problem right? It seems that Juan told the potential client that he had two luxury boxes for the Oakland Raider's game the next day. Juan needed to pay for the boxes that very day and he didn't have the cash and couldn't get it on a Saturday. He just didn't know who to turn to, but this could be the break he had been looking for all his life. Could Alex and I help? If we could just go with him to the Raider's headquarters and put the boxes on a credit card, he would return the money to us on Monday when the bank opened.

I felt bad because Alex had more or less said "sorry, Pal". I wanted to help Juan. I called Juan back and asked him how much the two boxes would cost. He replied that it would be about $6,000. I took a deep breath when I heard the amount, but went ahead and said that I could do it. I also said that the money would have to be repaid on Monday. "No problem. No problem" I was assured. In fact, Juan invited me and Alex to the game as his guests. (Or, at that point, I guess it was Juan who was our guest, isn't it?)

Juan and I drove to the Oakland Raider's headquarters in Alameda and I put the two luxury suites on my credit card. Juan assured me the entire time that as soon as the bank opened on Monday, my money would be returned. I repeated to him that it would be imperative that it was. "No problem. No problem." I was told again.

We did attend the game and the Raider's lost miserably. Maybe it was a sign of what was to come. On Monday, we didn't hear from Juan at all. Nor did he call on Tuesday. By Wednesday, I was getting a little worried. I called Juan and he told me that he had been in Mexico because of a death in the family, but to come on by because he had a check for us. He did have a check for us. Unfortunately, the check bounced. All in all, it took us a full three months to finally get the money back from Juan. I got excuse after excuse, phone call after phone call telling me "I've got the money and I'll bring it to you tonight", and promise after promise, but no money for three months!

Alex never once told me that it was stupid of me to loan Juan that kind of money. He didn't have to. I had just assumed that I was doing a good turn for a friend. The loss of that amount of money was something I really couldn't afford, but the feeling of being betrayed was even worse. I hope I learned a lesson here. This is a fine example of a good girl making a bad decision, isn't it?


  1. Maybe this is number 11 in my top ten.

  2. Oh Shit, Jen, I don't know. I was 14 before I stopped believing in Santa Claus!

  3. i think that alien abduction story(stall tactic) was what put the "nail in the coffin".....next time we take something as collateral....maybe a nice new bimmer ;)