Once upon a time (around 50 years ago) I was in a hostess bar in Bangkok
enjoying the pole-dancing and drinks. Next to me was a young English
guy, Jack, was my age (I was a long way from 80 back then). We spent a
lot of our Baht (the local money) on drinks and tips for the girls. When
our big night was coming to an end and our checks were put into glasses
in front of us, my new friend opened his wallet . He dug around for the
money to pay his bar bill.
He said, “Oh Sh*t, I’m short by “ $20 USA dollars (in Baht).” In those
days, money was not yet as eroded by inflation so I suppose that was
around $50 in today’s money. I was not keen to see this guy worked over
by the tough guys who “taught a lesson,” to those who ordered drinks
they could not pay for.
On the other hand, I was not in the habit of making cash gifts (or
loans) to strangers I had just met at bars or otherwise. Still, he
seemed like a *NICE GUY *and so I offered to lend him the money he
needed ($20) if he’d pay me back the next day. He thanked me profusely.
I wrote out a little scrap of paper with my local hotel address on it
and my home address (then in Mexico). He folded it carefully & put it in
Well, you guessed it. I never heard from him again.*Not a nice guy.* But
Surprise. Over ten years later, I had long moved on from Mexico and was
I get a call on the phone: “Hey Pete, this is Jack, remember me?” I
didn’t — till he reminded me of our fun night in Thailand and the $20 he
had borrowed and never paid back.
Jack explained how he had a month earlier decided to throw out his old
wallet, and when he went thru it he found my name and the old Mexico
address in his secret wallet compartment. He told me how embarrassed he
was at not paying me then (because he didn’t have the money). But now he
was doing OK in London.
I asked how he got my number. He said my last name was quite unusual …
On a whim, he called several people in the London phone book to ask if
they were related and if they knew me. One of them was a cousin of mine
and she gave him my London number. Wow! A regular Sherlock Holmes!
Jack invited me for a drink and snack at a posh bar near me. For a
moment, I wondered if he was going to stiff me with his bar bill again.
Would he put the touch on me for another loan? What the heck? for old
time’s sake, I agreed to meet him.
The first thing he did was to give me twenty pounds sterling (worth more
than $20) and tell me that he’d buy me the “best lunch on the menu” in
lieu of ten year’s interest.
We had a delightful lunch. Surf & Turf- my favorite. Then we went our
I never saw him again.
My original opinion [that he was a deadbeat] was wrong. He was indeed,
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