A trusted friend stole R1000 from me – this is my story

Sad young woman
Sad young woman
Robin Gentry / EyeEm/ Getty Images

I used to be part of a learnership programme at a mine where I earned R2 500 every month.  I would spend R1 500 on my basic needs and saved R1 000 because I wanted to learn to drive once, I was done with the programme.  I wasn’t very far into my savings when I was cheated out of my money by someone, I thought I could trust. 

CALL FOR HELP

 It was a Sunday afternoon when one of the young men who was also in the programme called me.  He asked me to lend him money.  He told me that his sister is very sick and that he needed R1 000 urgently to hire a vehicle to transport her to hospital.  Looking back, I think he called me because he knew I had been saving – I had trusted him enough to have shared my plans with him.

 When he called, I told him I didn’t have any money on me and that I couldn’t go to the ATM because I had other obligations.

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 He replied saying that he could come to me, get my card and withdraw the money from my bank account.  I agreed because he seemed desperate and I wanted to be kind.  After an hour, he arrived in my village. I gave him my bank card and PIN so he could get the money he needed to help his sister.  I asked him to return the money to me the next day (Monday) at our training centre and he agreed.

 MISSING IN ACTION

 On the Monday, he didn’t come to training. I looked for him but didn’t find him.  Later that day, I got an SMS notification saying that another R1 000 was withdrawn from my back account. I knew it had to be him.  I called his cellphone but it was on voicemail.  I was so heartbroken and losing R2 000 had me so stressed out.  I almost lost focus on my studies and waking up in the morning became hard. I did not want to face the world, but felt I had no choice.

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 My mom noticed that there was something bothering me, and she questioned me, but I didn’t want her to think I was stupid, so I didn’t tell her what happened.  I tried to do my best to attend morning classes every day. Despite my worries, I remained determined to pass my assignments! 

LESSON LEARNT 

Soon, my story was all over the training centre. Some people were sorry for me while others laughed at me and mocked me.  The following weekend, my search for him led me to his parents’ house.  When I got to the place, I found his sister and asked her about him.  She told me that he had taken all his belongings and left, without saying anything to her.

 She also looked to be good health. It was just daylight robbery that had happened to me!  Meanwhile, management terminated his contract before we completed the programme because he was not attending classes anymore.  I encouraged myself to be strong, even though it was a hard thing to go through.  Today, I’m here and stronger than before. 

I continued saving the money to accomplish what I had started.  Giving up won’t bring back the energy and time that I invested in my mission.  I’ve learnt not to trust some people and not to share my plans and goals with others because it can all be so easily destroyed.