An Alberta woman who was scammed out of $2,000 in Vietnam launched a Facebook search for the hero who helped her out — and found him in Red Deer.
Violet Reid was travelling in Vietnam in March when she met two seemingly nice women in a Saigon park. One of the women told her she has a sister who’s moving to Vancouver, and asked if Reid would talk to her about life in Canada.
She agreed — but didn’t count on being taken on a cab ride to the far side of town.
After meeting the “sister,” Reid was coerced into playing a poker game against the women’s “uncle” — even though she had never played poker before.
A large “friend” showed up to make sure she paid the $2,000 that was supposedly owed to the uncle. He also took her cellphone.
After being intimidated into paying the scammers through a credit card transaction, Reid was left alone in a strange part of Saigon, feeling rattled and afraid.
She didn’t know how to return to her hotel, since the address had been in her phone.
She entered a small cafe on an unfamiliar street and asked the only Caucasian in the place if he knew English and whether he could help her.
After hearing her story, a man named Jack immediately abandoned his lunch and helped her flag down a cab.
Reid recalled the fellow Albertan made sure that she had enough funds to pay the cab driver and also spoke to the driver to ensure that she was taken directly back to her hotel.
“All of this took 20 minutes to half an hour. I’m not even sure he was able to finish his lunch,” said Reid, who works as an administrator in Edmonton.
After returning to Canada, she told her story on Facebook in hopes of being able to track down her rescuer, so she could buy him lunch and thank him in person.
All Reid knew was that his first name was Jack, he was from Red Deer and he was in Vietnam to improve his language skills, since two of his children have Vietnamese spouses.
She was soon put in touch with Jack Foulston’s family through a mutual acquaintance, and hopes to meet up with him after he returns from Vietnam.
Andrew Foulston has been in touch with his father about Reid’s request, and was told his dad would be happy to meet with her. Andrew added Jack is the kind of guy who would always help a stranger.
Meanwhile, the scam hasn’t dimmed Reid’s love of travel or Vietnam. “It’s a beautiful country,” she said, with many wonderful people.
She’s not the first tourist to fall victim to this scam, however. More information about it can be found on the blog http://johnnyvagabond.com/featured/poker-scam-saigon/