When I arrived, I had to park across the street from dad’s house. A delivery truck from one of those big electronic stores in his drive. The delivery guys were just walking through the doorway, carrying a box that was marked “60 inch flat panel” between them. My dad closed the door behind us and directed the men to take the new television up to the stairs to the family room. He called out, “I’ve cleared a place for you to mount it on the wall. You’ll see it.”
He grabbed me and held me in a bear hug, which was always his style. “Hello, son. How are you?”
“Dad, what are you doing? You bought a big flat screen? Why didn’t you call me?”
“Well, son. You’ll never believe my luck. Come on upstairs, I want to make sure these yahoos get the TV in the right place. You know they only make 7 bucks an hour.”
At the top of the stairs, I saw a new couch, two recliners, sofa table, end tables, lamps. Looking to my left into the kitchen, I saw a brand new refrigerator – the new kind with the freezer in a drawer at the bottom. My mom gave me a peck on the cheek as she skittered past me in the hallway and made her way to one of the new leather recliners. She looked up at me and smiled while reaching for her knitting basket.
“Mom, what’s going on?”
“Dear, you’ll never believe it. Your dad has had the most wonderful thing happen!”
As was like mom, ever since the Alzheimer’s was diagnosed, she went back to her knitting and did not finish the story.
I looked back toward dad. He was busy with the installers telling them how to hang the mounting bracket for the TV. The young men were showing quite a bit of patience with him, but it was clear that he was in the way. One of the men motioned toward me so I walked over and asked dad to show me his new refrigerator.
Standing in the kitchen with the cold air from the freezer blowing out at me, I asked, “So where did you get the money to buy all these things, dad?”
He responded by handing me a framed email to read.
As I began to read it, my heart sank.
“Dear. Mr. Waithers,
I am Hassan Aishan of the Nigerian Republic. You have been selected from many Americans to help me transfer money from my government in the amount of $640,000 USD…” It was at this point that I stopped reading.
“Dad, this is a scam.”
Dad snatched the letter from me and said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Dad, this has been going around for years. It’s set up to get you to take their phony money and transfer real money to them in return. By the time you find out their check is no good, they already have your money. Please tell me you didn’t send them any money.”
“I sure did. Here’s the copy right here!” As he shoved a framed Western Union document into my hand, he stormed down the hall to the master bedroom.
I followed him into the bedroom. He had already taken a seat on the foot of the bed.
When I sat next to him, I saw his shoulders droop.
“I’m sorry, dad. I’m sorry.”
“Do you really think I’m that stupid, son? That I would jeopardize the money that your mother and I have laid back for retirement?”
“Son, I knew what this was when I got the email. Strange enough, after the email, someone called me. Asked if I wanted to make some money by helping him get his money out of another country. He needed a US bank account to make it happen – and he told me how much he would pay me to do it.”
I nodded, encouraging him to continue.
“Well, I called the local police and the next thing I knew, I had two FBI agents at my door. Somehow the FBI had determined that this particular scam was being run within the US, not like most of them, from another country.”
“The FBI gave me the money to pay them, and gave me a reward besides.”
“I’m not your doddering old dad, son.”
I wiped the tears from my eyes. “I love you, dad.”
“I know you do, son, I know you do.”
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