God has given you the face of a lucky man – Epilogue Added

Epilogue Below – Tawn had an interesting experience on Monday as the same man approached him.  Read below the original entry for the rest of this funny story.

Original entry Sunday February 7:

Guru%20Pitka “God has given you the face of a man blessed with good luck and happiness,” the Indian man said to me as I sat in Starbucks.  “It is this face that called me to you.  I am a yoga holy man and God wanted me to speak with you.”

I swear, the strangest things happen to me.

Friday afternoon, after meeting briefly with my accountant to hand off some documents, I was sipping a coffee in the Ploenchit Center Starbucks.  There were no other customers in the glass-walled store, unusual given that it was the lunch hour and the store is located in the midst of the business district.

An Indian man, dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans and looking as much like a computer programmer as anything else, came up to me.  This was not the first time I had been approached by foreigners while drinking my coffee.  Fifteen minutes earlier, a British couple, retired and wearing their safari shorts and hats, asked me if I knew where they could find free wi-fi.  My aura must radiate the words “ask me”.

So when the Indian man approached me, I figured he, too must have a question needing answering.

“God has given you the face of a man blessed with good luck and happiness,” the Indian man said to me.  Instinctively, I thought about where my wallet and passport were and made sure I had a clear line-of-sight to my messenger bag. 

“It is this face that called me to you,”  he explained. ” I am a yoga holy man traveling on a journey and God wanted me to speak with you.”

Skeptical, I listed to him, curious how this scam would unfold.  He explained that he was a yoga practitioner from India, showed me a picture of his guru, and told me that my face radiated happiness and good fortune.  He proceeded to explain that despite this good fortune and happiness, that I thought too much and became needlessly engrossed in my thoughts.  Oh, and I am sometimes too direct and honest with my friends.

He asked my name.  “David,” I lied.  Where are you from?  “Canada,” I lied again.

“I will prove to you that God has sent me to you,” he said, pulling out several small sheets of paper and a pen.  I noticed that instead of selecting just a single sheet upon which to write, he kept them stacked.

“I am going to write something on this piece of paper and then I will give it to you to hold.”  He scribbled on the paper then folded it into a ball.  Handing it to me, he instructed me to hold it in my clenched fist.

“What God has told me to write on that paper is known only to me.  You do not know it, right?”  Penn and Teller would have loved this set-up, I thought.  Sure, I agreed.

Putting another sheet of paper on top of the stack he asked me my father’s name.  “George,” I lied.  And your father’s father’s name?  “George,” I repeated.  They have the same name?  “Yes, my father is named after his father.”  Lying is a sin but I wasn’t about to tell him any personal information.  Plus, this was getting fun.

He wrote “George” and “George” on the paper then asked to see my palm, the one which had the ball of paper clenched inside it.  He traced one line and explained that that was my life line and I would have a long life.  I placed the ball of paper on the table.  “Please, hold the paper tight.”

“Think of a number, a single digit number,” he continued.  “One,” I responded as he wrote the answer on the paper.  “Are you married?  Do you have a wife?” he asked.  “Yes, I am married but I don’t have a wife.”  A look of confusion before he asked what I meant.

“I am married.  I have a husband.”

“Why did you do that?” he asked, trying to processes this information.  “You mean, a boyfriend?”

“No, I mean a husband.  Where I’m from, it is legal for two men to marry.”

Regathering his senses, he asked me to think of the type of flower that my… he stumbled for a word… the person you love likes the most.  “Orchid,” I said.  “He likes orchids.”  Orchids was added to the list.

“Let me see your palm again.”  He traced another line while clumsily holding my hand in his.  “This is your love line.  You will have a long and happy marriage.”  He instructed me to close my fist again.

“David,” he said, “God has sent me to you.  We are building a yoga school in India and I am traveling and he has blessed you with the face of a lucky man which is why I was able to find you.  What are the odds of us finding each other in this crowded place?”

I responded skeptically.  “The odds are pretty good considering you were looking for an easy mark and I was sitting by myself in an empty coffee shop.”

He looked hurt.  “You do not believe me?  I will show you that God has sent me to you.  Open the piece of paper in your hand and look at it.”

I opened the piece of paper and, of course, written upon it were “George”, “George”, “1”, and “Orchid”. 

“See?!” he exclaimed, “It is a miracle!”

“Let me see the paper you just wrote on.”  He handed it to me.  Of course, they were a perfect match.  That’s what happens when you use pressure-sensitive paper.  He had performed an elementary sleight-of-hand and swapped the piece of paper that was already in my hand for the one that had been below the list he was writing while he “read” my palm.

Tiring of the charade, I called his bluff.  Explaining his technique and telling him he must think I’m quite stupid to fall for a cheap parlor trick, I wished him well as I stood up and gathered my stuff.  As I walked away, I patted my pocket and looked in my bag, just to make sure his sleight-of-hand didn’t include pick-pocketing.  My wallet and passport were still there.

Another blog-worthy event in my life.

Epilgoue – Februrary 8

Monday after lunch Tawn stopped by the same Starbucks for coffee.  While sitting there, he was approached by the same Indian man who started in with the same line.

“Oh, it is good to see you again!”  Tawn cut him off.  When the man looked confused, Tawn continued, “Don’t you remember me?  You came and spoke with me last week and told me about my good luck.  How are things going with your yoga ashram?”

This continued for a few moments with the man caught off-guard.  Tawn explained the whole thing – “You even did a magic trick to prove that God had sent you to me.  Don’t you remember?” – as if he had actually been there. 

Finally, the man said, “Oh, yes – I had forgotten you because you didn’t make a donation to our ashram.”  When the man asked Tawn if he would donate to the ashram, Tawn declined.  The Indian man countered by offering to tell him more good luck.

“Oh, you told me everything last time!”  Tawn exclaimed.  “You told me about all the bad luck I had had and all the good luck, too!”

The man asked if he could sit down.  Tawn responded that the man was welcome to sit down but that he had an appointment to go to.  With that, Tawn stood up, said goodbye and walked away, leaving the Indian man standing there speechless.


0 thoughts on “God has given you the face of a lucky man – Epilogue Added

  1. I had a similiar thing happen to me behind the counter at Captain Submarine, down to the picture of his guru in India. When I wouldn’t give him any money he got a bit aggitated and said “Can I atleast have a biscuit?” I figured he meant a cookie, and felt compelled to donate a cookie to his fund. I didn’t know the parlor trick, but I knew something wasn’t right and there was going to be no money changing hands!

  2. I’m surprised that you had the patience to go through the crap! PS:You carry your passport all the time? or was it just because you were meeting your accountant for work or something?

  3. oh, my my. that is funny, Chris.   Maybe he wanted a donation from you.    You do have a face of good luck, and happiness.  I think at least Tawn think so, too.  Smile

  4. @jeeunie –  Really? I guess that doesn’t surprise me in SF! How is business at the shop? I miss the carrot cake! =D@yang1815 –  I almost asked him to bottom-line it for me: what do you want?@stevew918 –  That’s nice of you to say, Steve.@ungrandvoyage –  Strangely, he never did make his pitch. I assume he was looking for money but if he wants to sell he needs to learn to get to the point more quickly.@Dezinerdreams –  I had some free time! As for the passport, technically we’re supposed to always have it on us. I usually carry just a copy but did have it because I was going to the bank afterwards and sometimes there is a need for ID.@Roadlesstaken –  @choyshinglin –  I’m pretty aware of things like scams. What amazes me, though, is that anyone would fall for so obvious a trick.@ElusiveWords –  I don’t so much want to beat the crap out of him. What I really want is for him to level with me – I want to ask him how often his scam actually works. The only reason I didn’t stick with it longer was that I didn’t know (since the walls are class and people can see what’s going on) if he was marking me for a more elaborate scam. Last thing I need is a gang of gurus mugging me!

  5. i feel like for his time, it’d be easier to just ask for money rather than con people.. i mean i would think most people would be experienced at dealing with this stuff like u? this kind of stuff has never happened to me before and even though i’d think something fishy’s going on, i don’t think i’d think quick to lie cuz i can’t keep a straight face x_x

  6. Jesus! Do they teach this line in Indian vocational schools. Indian shills have accosted me with the very same line in Hong Kong. My response is usually, “God gave you an annoying face.”

  7. Highly amusing read :)I also wonder what his success rate is; if there are actually people who would fall for his scam? I’m guessing a fair number, since he finds it profitable to do this — which I find to be scary.I’ve never had this happen to me; possibly because I don’t look like a nice or “lucky” person. It makes me wonder, do they select specific individuals based on observations? And what observations qualify a person as being a mark?

  8. Some people just attract this stuff. I have a friend here that has several “friends” that have attached themselves to him. He has helped them when they were “off their medication”, homeless, but mostly when they need a sympathetic ear at 2 am.

  9. Let me assure you, as an atheist Indian, that common people in India are the biggest victims of such scam artistes!!! I think you handled it well, and your amusing answers must have really surprised him. He was right about your face though. Good luck in avoiding such people and thank you for the warning.

  10. Good for you for calling his bluff. To many of us sit around looking like we are going ti be an easy, approachable mark. I look like a gullible, gray haired granny. Awww little do they know. I hope you and your husband have the same happiness and joy that my husband and I do.

  11. What amazes me is that there must be people who are taken in by this or he wouldnt be trying to pull this tired old trick!!! I would have loved to have been sitting there and watched all of this as it unfolded!!!lolRuth Ann

  12. @iskrak – Yeah, unless he was hoping for some really elaborate scam with lots of payoff, I can’t imagine why he would have invested so much time without ever saying what he wanted.@marc11864 – Yes, staying out of Starbucks might help.  If it isn’t the con men it is the employees trying to sell me their latest home espresso machine.  “Just let me do a demo for you, sir!”@Redlegsix – Isn’t it amazing, though?  Really – who falls for these things?@stixandstonz2009 – That’s really sweet of you to say, thank you.@arrian_strider – Truly, there must be a lot of people in this world who are not terribly well educated (or aren’t very cynical – who knows!) and will fall for tricks like these.  But I am still amazed as they are so elementary.@TheCheshireGrins – Thanks.  I’m trying to be a ninja, just like Matt.  Ha ha ha…@Chatamanda – Well, I thank my parents and my teachers for the common sense.  If God was giving it, it would be a lot more common!@murisopsis – I’m glad I can be such an approachable person.  It sure makes for interesting experiences and plenty of fodder for blog entries.@stebow – If you want something, I guess you have to have enough gall to ask for it.@arenadi – I suspect what made me a target, besides God having given me a lucky face, is that I was by myself, a foreigner reading an English-language magazine, and sitting in a relatively empty shop.  He must have some success with the scam otherwise he wouldn’t do it.  I should have asked to see his identification.@brooklyn2028 – Had I felt that there was any risk to my safety, I would have ended it sooner.  Fortunately, I was sitting in the midst of a Starbucks I frequent so wasn’t too worried about anything happening.@jandsschultz – It is quite self-serving, isn’t it?@Gunner_Poole – I’ve heard from multiple people now about having experienced this in Hong Kong.  I’ll have to keep an eye open next time I’m there and see if I can project my lucky face.

  13. At first I laughed when I started reading the post… then I got irritated. This happens all the time, because some of these gurubakshis think they can con an innocent foreigner into their folds. I am happy that you were leary of him from the start. Please stay away from these people. Did I tell you I had a long dream about you last night? Now I think I know why. He was trying to bleed you with his trickery.

  14. hahahaha go you two! that is pretty awesome! you kind of have to admit, though, that it’s actually one of the better panhandling attempts out there.

  15. Same thing happened to me in Burbank.  An Indian Man approached me and put a piece of paper in my hand.  Though, I guess, he was more lazier than yours, all he asked for was a single digit number and a color.  After I said 3-blue and the paper revealed such.  I felt a bit foolish that, perhaps I said the most common thing and wished I changed it up a bit.  I knew it was a scam and didn’t donate.  But after reading your insight about the pressure sensitive paper, I felt better.  I could have said anything and it would have been that.

  16. Love the epilogue to this story LolThe comment “I had forgotten about you because youdidn’t make a donation” speaks volumes doesn’t it ?Especially coming from one who claims he is sentto people by God !But I love the last bit – where he’s left standingon his own. Lol

  17. One more thing … In my experience these more elaborate con artists aren’t just fishing for small donations which they could get by just asking. Their objective is to find someone really gullible in order to extract lots of cash from him/her.

  18. I have to compliment you having the most patience. I’d have walked away long time ago! Kudos to Tawn playing a hat-trick back to the cheater. By the way, is that the Ploenchit Center where they sell stuff related to computers?

  19. @CurryPuffy –  No, you’re thinking Pantip Plaza. Ploenchit Center is an office complex next to the JW Marriott Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 2.@ElusiveWords –  Tawn? Beat the guy up? I don’t think so. I’m worried about you, Matt. Definitely need anger management classes.@TheLatinObserver –  Sure, they want to know how big the fish is.@Chatamanda –  Yes it really does saw a lot. Sad…@iskrak –  @arenadi – There’s never an undercover camera around when you need one. I swear, I want to shave my goatee and wear a wig and go back there prepared with a little piece of paper with “Fake” written on it. If I can get him to pick me again I can quick-change the piece of paper with the one he gives me and trick him!@TheCheshireGrins –  Tawn – being a PR professional – is very good at improvisation!@mcguffin1899 –  Don’t think the fault lies with you. It was a scam, pure and simple, not a matter of you choosing easy numbers.@stebow –  @slmret –  That’s the way these stories should always end!@kunhuo42 –  One of the more elaborate, certainly.@Dezinerdreams –  I let him off too easily, I think. There was a lot more fun to be had.@TheLatinObserver –  You would think that people would figure him out almost instantly. But if he didn’t have some success there would be no incentive for him to continue doing it.@amygwen –  Sounds like HK is a popular location for this type of scam.@stevew918 –  @yang1815 –  Yes, I’m very proud of him for being so quick on his feet.

  20. Ha, I just realized one of the funniest things about your blog was that when he asked you what your grandfather’s name was and you replied George again, he seemed slightly surprised.  If he had “supposedly” predicted and written all your info down earlier, why was he taken back.By the way, this is Tom W. in case you hadn’t figured it out.

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