I was filling my tank at the gas station, when a woman came asking to borrow my cell phone.
From her call to 911 and subsequent talk with me, I pieced together the following story (my telling is much more linear than hers was):
She had been sleeping when her boyfriend came in saying something about "You took my money, so I'll take yours."
He grabbed her purse and cell phone and went out.
She pursued him and fought him in the street, despite the fact that she's five months pregnant.
She managed to get her purse back, but not her cell phone.
He left with his girlfriend, presumably to his mother's house.
She drove down to the filling station to try to find a pay phone. On the way, she discovered that her right rear tire was rapidly going flat. She held the boyfriend responsible.
After calling 911, she borrowed my phone again for a call to the boyfriend's mother, in hopes that the mother would detain the boyfriend. She reached the boyfriend instead, and cursed him out, with much repeated "You're going to jail".
I put some air in her tire; it inflated for a moment, but it was deflating quickly with an audible hiss. I found a can of Fix-A-Flat in my trunk and gave it to her; she insisted on giving me $5 for it. I don't know whether the Fix-A-Flat helped; the Fix-A-Flat directions said to drive immediately if the tire lifted off the rim, so I recommended she wait til after the police came.
I left her waiting for the police in the mini-mart of the gas station; she felt adequately safe there, and I felt I had done all I could.
That's all I really know of this story. I've drawn a few conclusions, though:
- I don't think I was being scammed. It would be pretty gutsy for a scammer to call 911 on my phone, and all she got from me was a can of Fix-A-Flat for which she paid a vaguely fair amount.
- I do believe that what I saw was a small piece of a much larger story.
- I believe that my romantic life is much more stable and mundane than hers is, and I prefer it that way.