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?
December 2, 2013 3:51 pm|
I am so shocked, Shilpa and can’t begin to imagine what your friends feel. Sometimes it gets so difficult to be ourselves and nice to others when we hear stories like this. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to taking food and beverages from strangers.
God bless the attendant!
December 3, 2013 7:02 pm|
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!
December 2, 2013 4:38 pm|
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 :* 🙁
December 3, 2013 7:05 pm|
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!
December 2, 2013 5:15 pm|
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.
December 3, 2013 7:12 pm|
Gosh! That’s such a terrible thing to do to children. Hope sense prevails soon!
December 2, 2013 5:27 pm|
Oh God, this is so shocking.We come across such cases in books or in movies,but here the victim was your family friend. The railway attendant came in the form of God to save your friend.Hope he all right now.
December 3, 2013 7:15 pm|
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.
December 2, 2013 5:58 pm|
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.
December 3, 2013 7:16 pm|
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.
December 2, 2013 7:10 pm|
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.
December 3, 2013 7:20 pm|
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!
December 2, 2013 7:25 pm|
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.
December 3, 2013 7:28 pm|
Oh yes, caution is the word!!
December 2, 2013 7:47 pm|
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!
December 3, 2013 7:32 pm|
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!
December 3, 2013 1:07 am|
Seriously? with children around? I always try to be cautious but its really hard to put your shields up when cute children are playing around you. How will anyone resist joking with a cute girl or talking to a bold kid? Using kids like this is unforgivable!
December 3, 2013 7:34 pm|
I know what you mean, but with incidents like these, one has no option but to be cautious and be wary of strangers always!
December 3, 2013 2:01 am|
Oh my god! can’t believe that such things can happen on trains. Even I never believed in such things since I never knew someone who was conned. It is pretty scary! People travelling in trains should be really careful I guess.
December 3, 2013 7:35 pm|
My sentiments exactly. For the first time heard about this happening to somebody known to us!
December 3, 2013 3:35 am|
How awful and scary!! This is a real eye opener to keep our guard up. So glad you shared this story. It is scary to know things like this can and do happen.
December 3, 2013 8:01 pm|
I shudder to think about it still. Oh yes, to stay alert always, should be the mantra for all of us!
December 3, 2013 8:49 am|
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 !!
December 3, 2013 8:03 pm|
Yes, that’s what we all should do, always!
December 3, 2013 9:11 am|
This is scary indeed. Thank you for sharing. Eclairs also? I have heard of biscuits being used for this. Sad state of affairs on trains. It is true, eat and drink only what you take along or buy from a trust worthy shops!
December 3, 2013 8:03 pm|
Guess, they have graduated from biscuits to eclairs! 🙁
December 3, 2013 9:21 am|
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.
December 3, 2013 8:04 pm|
You are spot on, SG. Liked your suggestion!! Thanks for sharing.
December 3, 2013 10:16 am|
Shucks! This is so horrible!! I thought that these things do not happen now. You know my MIL is very scared while travelling & is always on high alert. I the other hands am very casual. But this incident is an eye opener!! You can not trust anyone!!!
December 3, 2013 8:06 pm|
Usually, I am very cautious. But even I will never be never the same after this incident! The antennas will be up always from now on!
December 3, 2013 11:00 am|
What all to expect next? In this era we are not even safe in our own homes. Like parents used to tell us…. Don’t even look at strangers!!
Hope your friend is fine… glad nothing much happened!
December 3, 2013 8:07 pm|
I know what you mean, Sheethal. There is wisdom actually in what our parents said! Thanks, P is fine now, though this incident had shaken him badly!
December 3, 2013 11:25 am|
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.
December 3, 2013 8:09 pm|
Even I thought that such practices went out of fashion years ago, but guess they are still there in much smarter avatars!
December 3, 2013 12:34 pm|
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?
December 3, 2013 8:12 pm|
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!
December 3, 2013 1:47 pm|
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.
December 3, 2013 8:50 pm|
OMG… that’s another scary incident… guess, one must not take anything from anybody to eat!!
December 3, 2013 4:17 pm|
OMG this is not just shocking but downright scary. I hope your friend is okay now. Thanks for sharing, We all need to be cautious in dealings with strangers.
December 3, 2013 8:50 pm|
Thanks Suzy! Yes, P is better now. That’s true, caution is the big word!
December 3, 2013 10:06 pm|
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.
December 3, 2013 10:17 pm|
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!! 😥
December 3, 2013 10:25 pm|
Oh My God. This is still happening? Shudders to think of what the person must have gone through. Just when we learn to start trusting people, these sort of incidents keep surfacing again. Disgusting.
December 21, 2013 5:01 pm|
This was my first reaction too!! 😐 I thought such things happened long ago!
December 4, 2013 6:03 am|
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…
December 21, 2013 5:03 pm|
The things that our parents taught us still holds true and good.
God knows, the family must be a sham only!
December 4, 2013 10:29 pm|
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.
December 21, 2013 5:08 pm|
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 🙂
December 4, 2013 11:40 pm|
omg!! What a scary and horrifying incident!!
I’m glad that your friend’s husband is alright
Thieves posing as families in trains is so dangerous!! 🙁
one has to be vigilant all the time..
December 21, 2013 5:09 pm|
Oh yes, safety is in our own hands!! 😐
December 5, 2013 6:20 pm|
I am not even sure if they were their kids.may be!they have a gang which includes the kids.
Remember,the elderly used to tell us never to accept eatables from strangers.?
December 21, 2013 5:10 pm|
I know, the learnings that our elders drilled in us then are valid even today!
Yeah, a group of con artists posing as a family is a possibility!
December 6, 2013 12:10 am|
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!
December 21, 2013 5:11 pm|
I know what you mean, Neha. True, we must be cautious all the time!
December 6, 2013 11:16 am|
OMG!!! This is scary.
I hope your friend is fine now. 🙁
December 21, 2013 5:12 pm|
Yes, he is good now. Thanks.
December 12, 2013 4:50 pm|
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.
December 21, 2013 5:15 pm|
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!
December 16, 2013 12:31 pm|
The first question I asked myself as I read the first few paragraphs was the same which you have asked. Do these things happen still? Shocking ! And what kind of a society are we living in !
December 21, 2013 5:15 pm|
Truly shocking! 😐
December 19, 2013 5:41 pm|
Scary incident! Such incidents are a reminder that we should be careful while travelling.
December 21, 2013 5:16 pm|
Oh yes!! Always and all the time!
June 15, 2015 6:23 pm|
I am going to link this post from mine…
June 17, 2015 10:26 pm|
This is terrible. Adding to the shock is it happening in AC compartment.