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Stories about breaking the law!

On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 29

, , , | Legal | May 13, 2022

When I was a teenager, I delivered pizzas. I was relatively affluent for a teenager; I had my own car, my own cellphone, and a GPS device. 

I don’t know if all pizza places do it this way, but for the one I worked for, we were required to deliver in our own car. They had their own GPS devices, but mine was nicer and not crusted in gunk. Still, I was required to take the work GPS with me when working.

Generally, the way it went was that I would load up the back of my car with pizzas, make sure that the lighted topper was secure, and I’d take off.

One day, I got into an accident. I was driving through an intersection when a beast of a car — dark and black with a chrome grill — slammed into the passenger side of mine.

Thankfully, it was turning, so instead of simply ending me then and there, it tore along the side of mine, pushing my car onto two tires. Then, it sped off in the direction I had been going, taking my passenger side door with it.

Honestly, I don’t remember if I had the green or if I had accelerated into a yellow; the impact shook me up pretty badly. It might have been partly my fault.

Regardless, after the accident, I sat in my car shaking for a while. I had the presence of mind, barely, to write the licence plate number on one of the receipts with me with the pen I had.

Then, I called my boss, got his answering machine, and left a message.

Me: “Hey, I just got into a car accident. I don’t think I can get these pizzas to their destinations in a timely fashion; in fact, I think that they’re all unsaleable. You’re going to have to remake them and get [Other Driver] to deliver them. I’ll try to take the bus back to work. Thanks, bye.”

Then, I unbuckled myself, climbed into the wreckage of the back of my car, and opened the pizza boxes. The pizzas were a mess. I was shaken up.

I started eating them. I also started sucking coke out of a two-litre that was leaking in the back. I’m not sure if I wanted to hydrate or if I somehow thought that this would stop it from ruining the backseat of my car.

Well, it turns out that my boss was rather worried by my dazed-sounding phone message. He got my location from the work GPS and sent an ambulance and police car to me.

They found me in the back of my car covered in pizza gunk and sticky soda. The EMS initially thought that the mix of cheese and tomato sauce was gore. Then, the police thought that I was stealing the pizzas and that the driver of the car was trying to take the bus back to work.

The police wound up calling my boss to confirm my identity. He tore them a new one. We’re both black, and he thought that the police were being racist. He even got their badge numbers and made an official complaint.

Anyway, EMS eventually took me to the hospital to get looked at, and at some point during the ambulance ride, I passed out. When I woke up, I was being transferred to a hospital gurney. I tried to tell them I didn’t need it, but they wouldn’t let me stand up to prove I could walk.

Eventually, the whole crew from work arrived at the hospital to check up on me. The boss had said, “No more orders,” delivered the ones left, closed shop (though he was still paying everyone) and, between him and [Other Driver], drove everyone to the hospital to see me.

[Other Driver] told me a funny thing. There was a badly damaged car in the parking lot of the apartment he had delivered one of my pizzas to. Black with chrome grill. He’d thought, haha, wouldn’t it be a funny coincidence if it was the same one that hit me?

He had written down the licence plate number. I had him get my pants out of the cubby and we pulled the pizza- and soda-stained receipt from my pocket. We stared at the barely-legible numbers I had scribbled onto the receipt.

They matched.

Related:
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 28
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 27
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 26
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 25
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 24

It’s Not Just Customers Who Can Run A Clearance Scam

, , , , , | Legal Working | May 11, 2022

I used to work in a superstore. One day, I watched one of my favourite staff members get taken out in handcuffs.

She had been taking price tags off of clearance items, putting them on normally priced items, and hiding the clearance items under low shelving. Management figured her out, but they let her keep going until it reached the point that they could charge her for it.

She was fired and charged with some level of larceny, and I never saw her again.

Pickling Her Way Right Into A Pickle

, , , , , | Legal | May 9, 2022

I work in a grocery store. A lady came into the store, broke a glass pickle jar, and then stepped on it until she sliced her foot open. She threatened to sue us.

She was later charged with fraud because she was supposed to be on “bed rest” due to an injury. She forgot there was video footage, so she didn’t get anything, and she had to pay back all her fraudulent earnings.

The Hamburg Baby Burglar

, , , , , , , | Legal | May 7, 2022

Back in 2011, we moved to Hamburg, Germany from The Netherlands. My German was basic at best, but I tried. One day, I was coming back from a jogging session and I saw a neighboring building on fire. It was nothing massive, but black smoke was coming out of a couple of kitchen windows on one of the stories.

In front of that building, I saw my neighbor: a young woman with her four-month-old daughter in a pram. The neighbor was completely in distress, obviously trying to reach someone on the phone without any luck. She was screaming into what I suppose was a voicemail:

Neighbor: “Pick up the d*** phone. Why don’t you answer me?!”

I approached her to see what was wrong and whether I could help. Apparently, one of the kitchens burning belonged to a friend of hers — the one she couldn’t reach. She was in complete panic, afraid that the friend was still inside. The street was starting to fill out with various emergency vehicles, being extremely loud. I offered to help her and she gave me her kid so that the baby wouldn’t be in all that noise. Mind you, I had been living there for just a couple of months and more than knowing we were neighbors could not be said about our relationship. 

I took the kid in the pram to a safer place and had to ask for permission to enter the street, as it was closed off by the police officers. I was wearing a bright neon pink shirt — the typical “don’t run me over” jogger outfit. The kind police lady let me pass after I told her I live in the building next door and advised me to go inside with the kid to avoid breathing in the fumes. In all the confusion, I didn’t tell the neighbor where I was going, and she didn’t tell me where to take the kid. We each assumed the other one knew. I’m sure you all already know where this is going.

I took the kid inside, into my apartment, as advised. She was tired, and as I rocked her in my arms, she fell asleep. I put her on the sofa and sat beside her, not knowing if the could turn and fall down. All of a sudden, I could hear helicopters flying over, quite low. My heart leaped; I was sure that the building on fire was in a very bad condition.

Suddenly, someone rang the doorbell. When I opened it, I saw two police officers standing in front of me. They looked at me, up and down, and asked if I had seen a baby girl, matching the description of the baby sleeping on my sofa. 

Me: “Yeah, she’s here, sleeping.”

Officer: “What? Wait… This was all a misunderstanding. What luck. Oh, dear, what luck! Could you pick her up and bring her along?”

Me: *Completely confused* “Sure.”

I picked up the still sleeping girl and, guided by the two police officers, stepped out of my apartment onto the street. What I saw scared the living daylights out of me. There was an entire corridor of the police force: a full K9-unit, motorbike police officers, police officers on horses, uncountable police cars, ambulances, etc.

Apparently, the neighbor — the little girl’s mother — finally reached her friend and, happy that the friend was okay (she wasn’t at home, but working, to begin with), she turned around to her kid… who was gone… and she had no recollection anymore to whom she had given the child. So, her first reaction was to go into full-blown panic mode and claim that someone had kidnapped her kid.

In a street full of emergency services due to a fire, it wasn’t difficult to organize a full search. And then, it hit me: those helicopters were looking for me!

All is well what ends well: we (me and my husband, who missed the whole ordeal due to work) went to visit the neighbors a couple of days later with some newborn presents, and we had coffee, cake, and a good laugh about everything. I even ended up babysitting on a couple of occasions.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that is how I ended up having a true story of how I, once upon a time, was Hamburg’s most wanted criminal, even if it was for a very short period of time.

Persistent, But Not Overly Creative

, , , , , | Legal | May 5, 2022

Our front desk receives its share of junk calls: scammers, cold-callers, magazine shills, and also conniving recruiters. The first time I get it, I have no idea what’s going on.

Me: “Good afternoon, [Company #1], this is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller #1: “Hello! This is [Caller] with [Company #2]. I’m looking for [Employee #1]; I wanted to talk to him about collaboration on an upcoming project.”

I start looking up the employee.

Me: “Let me just check to see if he’s available. Can I ask if this is about a project that’s currently underway?”

Caller #1: “No, it’s not a current project, but it’s about a prospective upcoming project we want to collaborate on.”

Me: “Ah. Can I get some details on the project in case I need to take a message?”

Caller #1: “Of course! The project is—”

The line goes dead; there’s a hang-up tone in my ear — just as I find the employee, too. At the time, I think that it’s a glitch in the system that caused the call to drop. I pass along the few notes I have to the employee, but as we didn’t get a callback number or anything, there’s not much to do with it.

Within two days, I’m picking up another call.

Me: “Good afternoon, [Company #1], this is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller #2: “Hello! This is [Caller #2] with [Company #2]. I’m looking for [Employee #2]. I wanted to talk to him about collaboration on an upcoming project.”

NOW it’s twigging. The formula is almost identical, and it hasn’t been that long, so I remember it pretty well.

Me: “Can I ask if this is in regards to a project that’s currently underway?”

Caller #2: “It’s not. We’re trying to get collaboration on a future project.”

Me: “Can I get some information on the project in question?”

Caller #2: “Of course! The project is—” 

The call dropped.

One time I could call a freak accident, but twice almost the exact same way? I looked up the company name. The results I saw were for a recruitment firm, not a firm in our actual industry. I sent out the message to watch out for them so anyone else picking up the phone knew that we didn’t want to pass them along.

To date, I’ve picked up six calls from these folks. I’m waiting to see if they come up with an actual fake project to talk about. So far, they haven’t.