Those of you who have been following me for a while on Twitter have followed what seems to be a successful young Palestinian man in his late 20′s who lives in Hong Kong and seems to have everything under control, right? WRONG!
Now let me begin by telling you, I am in no way a writer. I don’t know the first thing about proper writing, so I’m just winging it with the hopes that you will get the general picture of what I am trying to convey to you.
Ok, lets start with a quick back story: Back in 2010, I was working for the world’s largest oil company (Saudi Aramco), I was two years into the beginning of my career and boy did I have passion. I was literally running in the office. Excited about life and my future. I was making a decent salary and was well on my way to becoming the cocky, arrogant individual you see before you today. 2 years before that, my parents had started suggesting that maybe it was the right time to start looking for a wife, and to me that was simply a…JOKE.
Secretly however, it had always been a thought in the back of mind. I am naturally a guy who thinks that starting a family from a young age is probably quite beneficial for my future offspring. So I went about life as usual, but kept in mind that Hong Kong was not the place to be searching for an Arabic, Muslim, Palestinian wife. Why? Because I know every single Arab in the country and none of them match my very basic criteria.
I had previously had a 1 year love fest on Twitter with a beautiful Moroccan lady, who shall remain anonymous. Don’t ask. It didn’t end well. Moving on…Keep in mind that this post is actually about a SCAM that happened to me, so let me get on with it. I was sitting in the office one afternoon. All my work was complete, so I signed on to Twitter. No I lie. I’m always signed on to Twitter. I suddenly receive a message from a girl with “Flower” picture o.O
Now, if you haven’t already seem me mention this a million times. I HATE people with egg profile pictures and I equally dislike those with flowers or anything similar. If you don’t want to be seen on Twitter. Then just lurk. Don’t tweet. Just troll in the background. OR simply stay away from me and I won’t bother you. Ok, back to the message. It was simple: “Hi how are you?”. I thought to myself, why am I really reading this shit? I never respond to flower profiles or the such. Something had intrigued me enough to respond with “I’m fine”. We exchanged a few polite pleasantries and I went straight with, “please send me your photo so I know who I’m talking to”. Please note, this was the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life. She sent me a picture of a beautiful Afghan girl who lives in New Jersey.
Back back story: My parents will NEVER let me marry an Afghan girl. NEVER.
Ok, back to the main story. We immediately started chatting and so came a point in our Twitterationship where we decided to hop on Skype and have a “telephone” conversation. Wait, what? No video? HOLY SHIT RAMI! It didn’t cross my mind. I was so excited to talk to this girl that we just spoke for hours and hours about life, dreams and all that stuff one discusses.
She tells me that her family is linked to Afghani royalty and that explain the exquisite richness she apparently has in her life. So far so good. I’ma get married to ROYALTY! You in my mind, once we get along and I begin to fall in love with you, I’m already thinking about marriage, so don’t give me that “you’re freaking me out” shit. If you fall in love with me, you are thinking the exact same thing.
So we talk more, I begin advising her on a business venture that she had dreamed and we were set. She wanted to open a small bakery in New Jersey and I was the man for the plan. Please note: at this point we are falling in love, I’m just making this story as short as possible. I made a pretty nifty blog for her bakery and she had registered the company (see the blog here) and we were on track to opening her dream bakery.
A few months go by and I am told she has a sister and two brothers. Ok, a little dodgy that she didn’t mention them from the get go, but ok. She tells me that her parents are flying back to Afghanistan on a charity mission (because they’re rich, they can afford to fly off and do things like that). Ok mabrook 3alaiki 7abeebti. What’s the relevance of this. Wait wait. I have to tell you something before they return from their trip. Her grandmother had just passed away (of course when I was talking to her) and I was left to heal her heart. OF COURSE! Rami is too damn nice.
She calms down for a while and just under a month later I get a call at work. WOAH! Time difference. America-Hong Kong. This must be serious. I usually NEVER pick up the phone for personal reasons while I’m at work. “Hello, Rami”. “Yes, Saliha, what’s wrong?” “My parents haven’t called for a week and they were supposed to be back!” “I’m sure everything is fine. Wait another day then try and call them again, it could be anything”.
YOU WON’T BELIEVE what happened next. “Rami, there was a huge explosion and both my parents were killed”. *tears tears tears* her not me.
Now I begin to wake up. What are the chances on God’s green earth that just after your grandmother had died, both your parents died at the same time? Of course God has his plans for everyone and I’m a true believer of that, so I decided to continue with this relationship. Take into account that I have now already mentioned this girl to my parents and my intention to marry her. HOLY SHIT!
My parents are now concerned, they are asking me about her and I tell them the story, well at least the part where both her parents died. My Dad felt sorry for her and mother being the bright Palestinian woman that she is, basically looked at me through the webcam and told me I was stupid. Thanks ya mama
Back to the story. I continued to once again spend months of my life comforting this girl until she had started to feel better. She told me that as her father was a well known heart surgeon in New Jersey, they were holding a huge ceremony to mark his death. Guess where?! Wait for it. Wait for it. HONG KONG!
Ok this is just ridiculous now. You and your sister are both coming to Hong Kong to attend this event? OF COURSE THEY ARE! Wait wait, you’re probably dying to ask me if I’ve seen this girl yet. NO I HAVEN’T! I not once in this whole story asked her to just switch on her damn Skype cam. We just talked talked talked.
Anyhow, her brothers had booked a hotel room for the two sisters and it was time for them to come. I said forget Skype cams. I can just see this girl face to face when she arrives. Ok. So far so good. The day comes and I have a serious butterfly feeling in my stomach as I make my way to the airport. I arrive and wait.
And wait. And wait. For eight hours! NOTHING.
I call it a day and head home. I don’t have a number for her bother’s and the two sisters are not responding to any of my emails. Shit. The only thought that went through my mind was. “I’m scared for MY life”. Not their life. MY life. Something clicked in my mind the next morning that this is a MASSIVE scam. 1 year of sweet talk and now something bad was going to happen.
I woke up that next morning to an URGENT email from her brother “Amin”. Amin my ass. Stating that the two sisters were stopped in Canada because her sister’s name matches the name of a murderer in Canada who had just killed a girl in some suburb. WHAT NOW? Excuse moi? And now they would have to wait a day to clear before they let them go. Ok, so at this point I had given up on the whole thing and just let it go. No no. There is more.
The day after, I wake up to ANOTHER email from the brother saying, “I’m sorry Rami, I know this is going to be hard to believe, but my sisters have been abducted and have been taken by family members that want our father’s money”. Hahahahahahaha eat shit. I’m outta here! And I never contacted the brothers again.
A month later, my mother had found me a beautiful young lady and I was ready to put this shit out of my mind. I flew to Egypt. Met the girl and was on my way to getting engaged when I received one final email from Saliha’s sister while I was driving the car to my fiance’s home.
You are NOT going to believe this.
“Dear Rami, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy life to take care of my sister. We both made it back to New Jersey safely after the horror we have been through. My sister (Saliha) was immediately admitted to the hospital because she was so weak and unfortunately she didn’t make it”.
The end my Pali ass. Of course this email was a joke to me at that point and I proceeded to get engaged (which I am no longer btw). I went home and jumped on my laptop and began my research (which is the one thing I am amazing at in life). If I want to find out something. I WILL.
Step 1: Background checks
There was never a step 2. From my background checks based on the email addresses I had communicated with for 1 YEAR!!! I came to the following conclusion:
All three email address (Saliha, her sister, her brother) all belonged to the same owner. A Saliha, but with a different last name. She did indeed live in New Jersey. Get this. She was 45 years old.
THE REAL END.
Moral: Seriously be careful of who you talk to on the internet. It’s not as safe as you would imagine. There are some sick people in this world and I experienced it first hand. Honestly, it was the BEST experience of my life. I am now meticulously careful when I do things. Always do a background check and make sure of the person’s authenticity.
Better yet…just ask them to switch on their bloody cam.