By nature I'm a trusting person. I like to believe that people are good human beings, deserving of my trust in them. I believe in "The Golden Rule" and try to live by it.
I'm starting to believe that my "trusting nature" is more a character flaw rather than a positive trait and it's depressing.
I also find that when I'm really upset or depressed I write. It helps to put things in perspective when I get my thoughts on paper. It helps me purge the negativity inside of me.
I recently returned home from a long motor home trip. It was the trip of a lifetime and I'm so glad I did it at this time in my life. I didn't want the years to pass and regret not doing something I'd always wanted to do. I had my health, the funds to travel with and I was jobless. I bought this motor home two years ago with plans to travel and see the country. I was so excited with my new purchase.
The next few months were spent fixing it up - always something to buy that I would (or might) need for the trip. Unfortunately, I also found I had a leaking roof and had to spend unexpected money to replace it, along with new vent covers and new new wing backs but in the end, it was like having a brand new motor home. I was excited to hit the road.
I'm so glad I did.
I found out that I was much stronger mentally and emotionally than I thought I was. Things happen on the road. You are alone, even when you're traveling in a caravan. You make decisions and hope they're the right ones.
I found out that I could drive a motor home by myself AND tow the car behind. That I could successfully set up and break down camp. That I could manage finances while on the road and stay connected with loved ones. That I could learn and manage new things and that they would become second nature to me.
I found out things about myself that I didn't really know. While I loved being in the motor home and on the road, I missed having a home base. I like to nest and therefore I was always happiest on the road when I was stationary for a period of time - usually for a month at a time. I wanted some sense of belonging - a routine.
Even though I'm introverted by nature, I found I really missed the camaraderie of good friends to hang out with. The routine my daily life at home - all the little things I'm familiar with. I am a home body at heart.
I loved re-establishing a relationship with my parents. I've been away from their home for a long time and sadly, I don't often take the time out to connect with them over the phone or in person. It was nice to have so much face-to-face time with them. I learned so many things about managing a motor home from my dad, who knows so much about it. That being said, I often felt like a motor home was just a big money pit. There always seemed to be something that needed fixed or attended to.
So though I had a great time on the road, I was happy to be back home again.
I knew I was probably going to have to re-enter the work force, since I'm about 7-10 years from collecting any retirement income. I didn't have a place to store my motor home without paying a storage facility and I didn't want to do that. Even though I might someday like to travel again, I may do it differently next time - in a different type of rig - in a different way that I did this time.
Therfore, I knew I was probably going to have to sell the motor home for many reasons. I had so many other things on my plate when I got home that I wasn't looking forward to cleaning and fixing the small things that happen to a motor home while on the road. I was in a "window of opportunity" for a successful sale - just entering the summer months when people are out looking. Since I'm not good at fixing things myself, I knew that I would have to find someone reputable to do the work for me, therefore wasting precious "selling" opportunity.
Late afternoon, the day after I pulled in the driveway, I received a knock on the door of the house. Outside stands a young man asking if my motor home in the driveway was for sale. He, his wife and three very small children were looking for a motor home just like mine. He led me to believe that they needed it to live in for a period of time. Could he please look at it?
My first red flag should have been that he didn't seem as interested as I would have been, didn't really pay close attention to all the little things I was telling him about the coach, etc. Wanted to make sure the title was clear and that I was the only one on it.
He wanted to make me an offer and said that he really needed it for his family that night, if I could manage it. He made me an offer that was about $8,000 less than what I was thinking. But then who was I to know. I hadn't even had the time to look up Blue Book on it. He said he'd take it "as is" and they would clean it, fix it up, repair things.
Second red flag. I was the one to mention that maybe his wife might want to look it over herself. So he got her out of the car and she looked it over but when I was talking to her outside, he said from the car that the baby was crying for her so she went back to the car and didn't get out again.
Third red flag. He had a wad of money so he was going to pay me cash. Now, that's not a bad thing but who goes around the neighborhood with a wad of cash just hoping to buy a motor home? He says that this wad of cash was all he had to offer me and would I consider it? I did. I took his offer from my own generosity in wanting to help a family in need. After all, it's the economy we currently live in, right?
There were three of us at the house at the time and all were trusting of this man. We all hurriedly unloaded the motor home and because I felt he was needful of "things" and he certainly encouraged that mindset, I let him have many, many items with the sale.
While I went inside to get the title, the other two with me counted the money at the patio table with the seller also there. At the end, he begged $500 less, saying that if he gave me the whole amount it was all he had and he needed a little money for gas and food, etc. So again, i trusted and let him have the cash.
I gave him the signed title.
Red flag. He didn't want to sign the back, saying that he would do this at the DMV. So he drives away with my motor home an hour later, with the title signed by me but that was all. In the end, I got a first name from him and a phone number saying that since everything was done in such a hurry I might have forgotten to give him something or tell him something important.
It wasn't until he drove away that I remembered all sorts of things I'd neglected to do at the time. Like a Vehicle Bill of Sale! I didn't have one piece of useful information and for all I knew at that moment, his phone number and his cash was bogus and I had just let him drive away.
When I really began to question and mistrust this individual was when I went back inside and recounted the money. I was another $1000 short. We either counted wrong or he was very clever in pocketing one of our $1000 stacks on the table while we weren't looking. In hindsight, that's probably what happened.
But still - i wanted so badly to believe this family was deserving and that I was really helping someone in need of help.
Fast forward a few days and I decided to contact the phone number he gave me. I had neglected to because I really didn't think it was really his number but he answered. I wanted the Bill of Sale. I already knew that I was short money in the deal but there wasn't much I was going to say about it at this time since it was already done. He promises to get me the Bill of Sale but had some excuse as to why it couldn't be done immediately.
The weekend goes by. Another day of calling. Another day of him stalling with excuses.
So I do what any normal person would do. I Google his phone number and what do I find?
MY MOTOR HOME FOR SALE ON CRAIG'S LIST for $15,000 more than I sold it to him for!!!!
I'm still without the Bill of Sale. I need to go to the DMV to see if he's even transferred the title yet.
I really hate being scammed. I really want to trust people and believe that they're good, and honest, and believable. But I've learned a big lesson. I hope what goes around comes around in the end.
I choose to forgive his deceitfulness. I choose to forgive myself to being deceived and gullible and too trusting.
.....and I hope I've learned a valuable lesson in the process.