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Atualizado: 24 de abr. de 2023

My parents told me not to talk to strangers, as there are many unscrupulous characters that could do something evil to me. They told me to not trust others, as they could harm me. On the other hand, they gave me the freedom to go out on my own and walk to school alone at the age of five.

It has helped me stear clear of shysters, slippery customers, and no good dishonest people who disrespect others. It has stood me well in society though on occasion I’m not so sure if it has held me back, made others think I have something wrong with me because, as my ex-employee told me; I don’t trust my own shadow!

The chance to be suspicious never computed when I took an early hour’s morning land line phone call and heard the voice of my eldest daughter cry, “Daddy they’ve got me!”

Then a man’s stern voice demanded me to listen carefully, or else he’d kill her! Then he wanted my mobile number. A minute later both land line and collect mobile call were taken, so both hands were full and I was being bombarded by different voices in each ear.

I felt helpless though I kept my composure thinking that staying calm and collective would eventually help me find a solution. Panicking and making a fuss would risk these kidnappers losing their cool and overstepping the mark and causing her more pain than necessary, or even death. I didn’t want to antagonize the situation even more.

The ordeal of dealing with these thugs meant I had to go out of the apartment in the pouring rain while wearing just a pair of shorts and t-shirt. I trod all over the city to cash dispensers and then onto convenience stores to put credit on mobile phone numbers based in Rio de Janeiro during the nighttime until the early hours of the morning to draw cash and make deposits.

All the while my mobile held to my ear, attentively trying to appease the different voices coming at me whilst trying to give them what they wanted to get my daughter back in my arms. After much sacrifice, running around like a blue-arsed fly, and partially abiding by their rules of engagement, to eventually see my daughter across the street standing there left me spellbound that moment in my life.

In the end, the adrenalin rush hit home; R$3,000.00 (£500) down in my bank account and telephone bill, thankful it had all worked out, and satisfied that the new, hopefully once in a lifetime experience was over.

Suspicion hadn’t really been calculated and an expensive lesson from the hoax of a scam became clear, which provided entertainment, as well as a roller coaster saga that I’m fortunate enough to have witnessed firsthand.

The moral of the story is you can never be too careful, analyze matters with cautiousness, and have the fortitude to ride out dilemmas with calmness! And lastly, negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive ones.

Take care!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Shysters (n) = a person, especially a lawyer, who uses unscrupulous, fraudulent, or deceptive methods in business.

Slippery customers = cheats, swindlers, con artists, charlatans, fraud

Stern (adj) = severe, strict, harsh, firm, demanding

Collect (v. n.) = A collect phone (mobile) call in England means to reverse the charges i.e.; the receiving party pays for the telephone conversation.

Kidnappers (n) = abductors, captors, snatchers, hijackers, hostage taker

Overstepping their mark (idiom) = to go beyond what is proper or allowed by something She warned us not to overstep the mark/line.

Trod (v) = from the present form verb tread, i.e., walked, strode, tramped, stepped, paced, plodded

Blue-arsed fly (colloquial phrase) = like a blue-arsed fly is used to describe someone engaged in constant, frantic activity or movement. The earliest recorded instances of this phrase seem to indicate that it originated in the British armed forces.

rules of engagement (plural noun) = a directive issued by a military authority specifying the circumstances and limitations under which forces will engage in combat with the enemy.

Spellbound (adj) = enthralled, mesmerized, fascinated, awestruck, (ant) distracted

Hoax (n) = trick, joke, swindle, prank, fraud, deception, con

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