Can This Happen to Us?

This happened to our friend P. He works as a Sales Manager and has nearly 20 years of work experience and is mature, sensible and street smart too. Few days ago, he was travelling back home by train after an official trip to another city.

After a peaceful sleep in the AC 3 tier compartment, he woke up in the morning to find a couple with 2 kids around him, among other passengers. He was to reach home by 2.30 pm and he communicated the same to his wife via whatsapp messaging. His wife tried calling his phone later in the afternoon, but it was giving switched off messages all the time. She reasoned that his phone battery must have drained out. The clock started showing 3 pm and then 4 and then 5 pm and her emotions were oscillating between panic and forced calm. She reasoned that the train must have been late or he went to office first, etc . But then her husband always made it a point to inform her if he was late. But that day’s situation was so unusual and she just didn’t know what to do, till she got a call from an unknown number at 6 pm.

The caller was the train attendant and was calling from the train yard where he had found her husband unconscious. Shocked and numbed, she immediately rushed to the other end of the city. Scary thoughts clouded her mind. One thought which was topmost on her mind was what if this guy had some malicious intent. She called up a friend to keep her posted about her situation and whereabouts. She practiced caution and called the train attendant at the booking window and then requested him to bring her husband to the station platform. The attendant agreed and brought P with the help of 2 more people to the place where she was waiting.

She found her husband still partially unconscious. With the help of these 3 men, she was able to take him till the cab. After reaching home, she called the doctor who stayed in their building. Apart from a high blood pressure, everything else seemed normal. After a few medicines, food and water, he felt ok but kept lapsing into frequent black outs and this lasted for 48 hours after reaching home.

During his conscious state, he narrated that he was sitting with this family and they were generally chatting. The wife kept offering things to eat to her kids and those around in the compartment, like almonds soaked in water, biscuits etc. Everybody around in the compartment as expected declined the snacks which she was offering. When the train was nearing the last stop, the wife offered our friend P,  a Cadbury Éclairs. P refused saying that he doesn’t eat chocolates, but she was pretty persistent despite P declining the offer repeatedly. So, finally he took that Éclairs and 30 seconds later, he lost all consciousness.

When the train reached the yard, after de-boarding all the passengers at the last station, the train attendant saw him lying unconscious in the compartment. He attempted to wake P up by shaking and talking loudly to him. He responded and told him his wife’s mobile number.

When P’s wife found him, he was in a bad shape, he had no control over his body at all. All his belongings which included his gold ring, watch, mobile, official laptop, strolley suitcase containing clothes, toiletries and a fat wallet which contained his debit/credit cards, cash, bills were missing! The incident has left our friends terribly shaken. And it has deeply disturbed us too.

This incident makes me wonder about a few things….

Such things happen still? Till this incident I believed that such things only happened in books or to other people but never to somebody known to us.

Even a small chocolate/toffee can be dangerous. While we may never eat anything that is home cooked or is given in the name of God’s prasad by anybody, but who would imagine that a branded small chocolate/toffee could be laced with drugs and could rob you of everything.

The con artists committed this crime in front of their kids. I am sure the kids saw and observed and understood what the parents did. What kind of upbringing and learnings are they giving to their children?

In this tech age we rarely remember phone numbers. It is so important to know a few numbers. I shudder to think that I remember only KG’s and my sister’s number from some 150 plus contacts in my phone.

It is so sad that such incidents shake up your trust in mankind. I guess, we would exercise caution everywhere but then there are good men like the train attendant too, who went above and beyond his call of duty.

Guess, caution is the word. Hope we learn from this experience and never accept anything to eat from anybody, ever!!

This trial of our trust… will this make us trust people around us? Can this happen to us, can this happen to you?

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65 thoughts on “Can This Happen to Us?

    • It is indeed so shocking, Corinne. I shudder to think about it, still. Our friends are better now but the few days were nightmarish for them. True, such incidents will certainly shatter our faith and trust in other people. Yes, God bless the attendant!

  1. Yes this happens and very frequently Shilpa. I read such news in papers. Who knows the kids are her kids or not ? May be they all r con artists. I am glad ur friend p is safe now. I hope he blocked all his debit/ credit cards.
    Thanks for writing this. As I travel alone many times SHUD Keep this in mind :* 🙁

    • Yeah, agree with you, who knows about the kids too. Thanks, yes, glad that P is well and safe now. Imagine, if somebody suffered some serious effects due to this drugging! Yes, he blocked all his cards!! True, be alert and be careful always!

  2. In the country I reside in, 10-12 year old kids burn tyres and scream slogans in the name of protest against the government. It is the parents who teach them to do so. It is shocking that anyone would bring up their kids in such a way. May God give some sense to these people who are ruining the world that they will leave behind them.
    Nisha recently posted…Sob Factory!My Profile

    • I know, even I thought that such crimes are no longer done as everybody is so aware now-a-days. But looks like the con men are way more smarter too!
      Yes, God bless the attendant! And thank you so much, P is fine now.

  3. Have read so much about such incidents in the papers. You are concerned about what lessons they are imparting to their kids. How do we even know that they are an actual family ? It could be a staged drama just to gain people’s confidence. Lesson learnt -Be careful esp when traveling alone.thank goodness he only lost his things and there was no danger to his life.
    jaishvats recently posted…Show some concern, road usersMy Profile

    • True… for all we know they are all con artists to give a perfect family look. Yes, life is more valuable than the lost things and glad he is fine now.

  4. OMG. If this can happen to a person who is a frequent traveler, it can easily happen to any of us. This is one reason why I don’t trust strangers or talk to anyone, when I visit a new place. Secondly, I try my best not to take anything valuable with me and I keep very limited cash/debit card. The latest credit cards come with PIN security, but the earlier ones didn’t – hence I avoided taking them.

    Destination Infinity
    Destination Infinity recently posted…The Concept of Zen – Perfection in Imperfection?My Profile

    • Oh yes, he is such a seasoned traveler. Has traveled the world and imagine this happening to him! Yes, the PIN thing is effective from Dec 1. Important lessons learnt, truly!

  5. This was one scary incident that you narrated. Given that I travel in trains quite frequently and so does my wife and lil one, this is important information that you shared. One should never let one’s guard down in any public place in India I guess. Thanks for sharing this story so that all the readers are just that little bit more alert.
    Jairam Mohan recently posted…Surya – The special boyMy Profile

  6. This happened to a friend of mine…he sadly passed away because of sudden heart failure and he was a young, healthy man who jogged regularly. The cause is still unknown, but I would not exclude things like a small toffee or chocolate bar! Thanks for sharing!
    Michelle Liew recently posted…UnforgettableMy Profile

    • Oh My God!! That’s is so tragic, Michele!! How heartless can people be. For some money they have no qualms in killing or endangering someone’s life!

  7. OMG !!! Quite scary ….
    Esp to do such things in front of their kids ( or really their kids, I doubt ??) to teach them all wrong stuff…this is a pretty bad world.
    Lets stay safe and protected and never eat out what ppl in the train offer !!

  8. Very shocking. Lesson learnt here is to refuse the snack from strangers, however charming and friendly their conversation is. That includes old grandmas too. Or, take it and put it in your pocket telling them you will eat later. Better, take it and break the chocolate in 2 pieces and offer her to eat one portion.
    SG recently posted…NeighborsMy Profile

  9. This sort of thing was quite rampant a few years ago. Especially tricking children with dosed chocolates…what you narrated is scary as hell. And a good lesson for all of us. Thanks for sharing, Shilpa.
    I am concerned about that family and their children because they are bringing them up to be little creeps and giving out the wrong messages.
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Life Laughter And Happily Ever AfterMy Profile

  10. We have often heard little children being lured by chocolates. Thanks for this post, shilpa. We have to be more cautious. Regarding trust, after reading the recent stories of Talwars, tejpal etc. I have second thoughts. Though we do judge and trust, see how an innocent educated man has been taken for a ride. Have they filed a complaint? any clues regarding the culprits?
    asha balakrishnan recently posted…Washington-il thirumanamMy Profile

    • Yeah, have read about such cases too. Regarding police complaint…well, that’s another story. They harassed them saying that P must have ganged up with them and cooked this story. They wanted a bribe too!! Since, P and his wife were too shocked and disturbed, they abandoned lodging the FIR! Such is the state of affairs!

  11. Seriously scary stuff…. I hope your friends are well now. I have become paranoid while riding on trains, after hearing these incidents. A similar thing happened with one of my relatives, he consumed biscuits from a sealed pack thinking it would be safe and was knocked down unconscious by them and then later robbed.
    Prats recently posted…Thanksgiving, I am Thankful for IIMy Profile

  12. I hate to say this but its very likely to be occuring at a much more regular frequency than u imagine. And I do mean the part about doing it in front of their kids as well… I have personally seen people openly grafting scams with their kids in the room and the kids actually applaud and show off their dad’s brains.
    Its a different world out there… scary as it is to say, ‘no holds barred’ is the easy way to look at things.
    Roshan R recently posted…Year 9 – There’ll be peace when you are done.My Profile

    • Yes, you are right Roshan. Since, it never happened to anybody known to us so we think otherwise. Gosh, parents ‘inspiring’ kids to walk in their criminal steps is sooo criminal and deplorable!! 😥

  13. On of the most important lessons I remember Mom drilling into my head, never accept food from strangers, even if they seem family type and friendly. It is scary to think that it was done brazenly in front of small children. I wonder if they were a real family or something put together for conning people…
    Reshma recently posted…Counting blessingsMy Profile

  14. Such things are very common these days. We keep reading in New papers about such incidents happening in trains and buses. I know we all think we can be careful, as we have read many times about these incidents, but on the fateful day we somehow forget and end up doing the very things which we knew we should not be doing. That is what happened t o your friend. There are couples roaming around the streets even near our house, Malls, bus stand saying they are new to the place, and can we help them as there money has been stolen, that they have no where to go with little children. They would look pretty well dressed too.
    One should not pity them and let them into our homes/ help them with money, for they are actually con artists. Many times they are capable of mesmerising people to do what they want us to do.
    Since you are a Reiki channel always put yourself in the Reiki protection, and believe nothing has happened to you or anyone known/ close to you.
    rama recently posted…Ads GaloreMy Profile

    • You are absolutely right, Rama. But isn’t it so sad that because of these con artists, we wouldn’t be helping genuine helpless, needy guys! But it is better to be safe than sorry!
      Thanks for reminding about this aspect of Reiki 🙂

  15. This indeed is scary! Have witnessed similar incidents with my family members too. In fact, it’s even worse when it’s a single girl travelling. Apart from the regular safety thing, the ‘looks’ we have to deal with are even worse. And yes, safest to keep a distance from strangers…an old advice which holds true till date!
    Neha recently posted…A Little Note After A Long Long Time…My Profile

  16. It does hit hard when it happens to one of us.

    Many commenters have expressed surprise that this kind of thing happens even now. However, I have seen a video displayed at railway stations cautioning passengers about this thing.

    I feel bad whenever I have to turn down a co-passenger’s offer to share food, especially if (s)he happens to be an elderly person. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
    Proactive Indian recently posted…Are we born corrupt?My Profile

    • Even I was surprised. I have seen huge hoardings cautioning about not accepting food from strangers but thought it was routine warning. Never thought that such crimes are pretty rampant! True, it is better to be safe than sorry!

  17. Pingback: Should You Share Eatables with Fellow Rail Passengers? | Destination Infinity

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