Last Sunday, Donna and I were at Church with Lauren and Trent. I was one of two ushers for the service. The service was winding up. I was outside the doors when in walks a woman who is sobbing. Barely able to speak. As might be expected, I asked “what’s wrong.”
The woman identifies herself as “Deborah ___” – a name I recognize vaguely. She says her daughter and granddaughter were killed early that morning in a car crash – drunk driver – near Madison, Wisconsin. They were coming down to attend church. She asked if she could leave a message for our priest. We go into an anteroom, the other usher joins us and I go into the sanctuary to advise the priest of what’s going on (who is now coming down the aisle having finished the service). The priest exits, greets the woman, listens and the woman cries into his vestments. She says she’s on her way to Madison and needs a few bucks. He gives her some $$$ and so do I. And the woman departs. And then it dawns on us. . . . .
Turns out she is not a member of the Church (though frankly in a legitimate “situation” that might not make a difference). And no one knows her. We Googled the names and alleged incident. And found nothing. The reason I recognize the name “Deborah ____” is that Donna has a friend of that name. Scammed. . . . .
While this has never happened before (and probably will not again), we have discussed a possible protocol for dealing with such situations: are you a member?; know anyone here?; photo ID?; wait right here while we get someone to help. Not a good feeling having been “taken” like that.