A Sad Story
Years ago I was the only Doc at the office one Thursday when a man came in. He had a sad story. His wife was dying of cancer. She was at one of the big University Hospitals, and there was no more they could do. They were going to send her home, and Hospice would see her through her last days.
The man had been at her bedside around the clock. In all the turmoil, he overlooked his utility bill at the house, and they had turned off the power. He had left his checkbook at the Medical Center. The receptionist pulled his chart and confirmed he was a patient at the practice, though he had not been in for a visit in a year or so. He asked if we would loan him fifty dollars to get his power turned back on. One of my staff members came to me in tears and told me the whole story in between patients.
I was a young Doc at the time. I could see the staff looked to me to do the right thing. They felt sorry for this guy, and I did too, but some of it didn’t ring true. I heard him out for a minute, and made a decision.
“Cut him a check to the Power Company for fifty bucks. I hate for him to be put out.”
You know what happened next. It wasn’t but fifteen minutes when the Power Company called. “Hey Doc, do you want us to cash this check for this guy?”
“No, it’s O.K. Void it.”
Turned out he was going from one business to another and had gathered up money at several stops. Not only did his wife not have cancer, but he was not married. I called his last employer to see if he remembered the man.
Boy did he. “Doc, you hold on to that S.O.B. I’m gonna come over there and tie a cinder block around his leg and throw him in the Neuse.” The man had stolen all kinds of equipment from Roy’s construction company. I was glad the man was already gone. Roy was law abiding, and didn’t need to buy trouble.
I have seen several scams play out, and over time I’ll tell you of some of them. These guys have already cased the situation before they make a move. They often target the helping professions such as Docs or Vets, because they know folks that work there are often kind hearted idealists, so watch out for them.
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