How I Became Almost-Homeless Again
Recently I talked to my friend and I told him that at the beginning of September I almost ended up on the street in Seattle. His reaction was genius and apt. He said: “Again?” We´re talking about the very same friend who rescued me from being homeless in San Francisco about two years ago .
First three weeks in Seattle I lived at my friends´. Then they had to move out, so I was looking for a new place to move in. Airbnb was expensive so I searched on different websites. Finally, I found it: it was just a while away from the place I used to live at back in 2018. Beautiful neighborhood for a reasonable price. Dude sent me the lease contract via e-mail and said they wanted the deposit in advance. My friends said it is common so I trusted them. Weird about it was that I wasn´t able to go and see the place before moving in and they wanted the money within 24 hours. They also claimed they were out of town so I had to send the money on their bank account. Since I don´t have American bank account I wanted to pay by cash. Well, guess what happened at the end. I ended up changing cash for bitcoins and paid them $750 in bitcoins. Then everything seemed to be all right until few days before moving in they asked for the rental money which was another $750. They said they needed the money because of some kind of apartment renovation. And then suddenly my friend texted me saying she didn´t like it. She said she had called to the property owner and he said it was illegal to rent apartments in that building. I refused to send the money saying we agreed to pay once I move in. “Michelle,” as the person on the other side of the phone called themselves, said it was OK.
And then the famous day of my moving came and I ended up on the street
I don´t know how but during these three weeks suddenly I got much more stuff. I came to the US with one big backpack but I was moving out with additional backpack and two boxes full of stuff. My friend dropped me off at the address saying he couldn´t wait with me because he had to run some more errands. I texted Michelle I was there. She replied she´d come within an hour. So, I sat down on the staircase in front of the building and waited. And waited. And waited. Meanwhile, Michelle stopped talking to me and didn´t pick up their phone. Slowly, but surely, I started to realizing that I was f*cked up. I ended up sitting on that staircase for four hours. I was hungry, thirsty and I had to go to the bathroom.
When suddenly I saw two people coming towards to me. Just for a second, I had high hopes and thought it´d be Michelle with her boyfriend. I was wrong, it wasn´t them. It was someone better. Neighbors from the apartment of the building opposite of me had noticed that I was sitting on the staircase for a while and they didn´t feel good about it. Do you get it – completely strange people were worried about me! It was a very nice girl Abby with her boyfriend. They asked me: “Is everything okay?” And I replied: “I´m not sure,” and told them my story. Then they asked me if I had a place to go. I said I had no idea. I mean, I was so away I was surprised I could have still spoken English. And then they offered me something amazing. They offered me a place to crush for the night and a hand to solve this situation together on the following day.
I couldn´t sleep that night. I think I don´t have to explain all the reasons why. Two of them couldn´t sleep well as well – I mean, just in the next room there was a strange almost-a-homeless girl. In the morning when we met, they said they were happy I didn´t kill them during night. They said: “one of our friends warned us to watch out”. And I don´t blame them – I said I had the very same thoughts during night. And then we became friends.
What happened next…
I called my boss saying I had a big problem. He asked my coworkers if they didn´t know about a cheap place to stay. Luckily one of them knew about such a place. It wasn´t a luxury at all but it was only 10 minutes of walk to work and that place was incredibly silent. I mean, I slept on the foam, had bed bugs that bit me few times and one of my roommates thought I was a cop under cover. But on the other side, I had one amazing neighbor, privacy and surprisingly I didn´t get any diseases. It was a total victory! You know what people say – every cloud has a silver lining. Not even mentioning that there was the Donut Factory with amazing coffee just behind the corner. But I used to go there like once a week when I could have afforded it…
Michelle, I and the police officer
I sent Michelle quite few love letters and for the first time in my life I went to the police station. But because of the pandemic restrictions they didn´t let me in but through the microphone they provided me a number to call to. So, I did. I said what had happened to me and they said they´d send my case to another department and that one will contact me. They called just when I entered QFC to do my grocery shopping. I put the shopping card aside and for about an hour I was standing in front of the grocery store talking to the police officer. I don´t know why people in front of the store were staring at me. Anyways, he asked me about all the details of this scam and at the end said I was lucky to pay “only” $750. He said these days there´ve been a lot of scammers outside and people usually pay them $1500 or even more. He also told me there was a zero chance to track the scammers. This way I say hi to them and I hope they´d choke by my money. Because, you know, there are two types of scammers: one of them take your money and you never hear about them. The other ones take your money, act like nothing is going on, and then leave you in the middle of the city. And that´s why you should go and f*ck yourself!