I own Bubble Tap, which is a very popular desert shop in Cambridge, and today I lost 50 pounds because I was politically correct.
A young ethnic man walked into the store and my super-posh employee (the Etonian-lite rugby playing chap) mistook him for the Deliveroo driver.
I immediately felt bad for this young ethnic chap as it’s par for the course for us coloureds to be mistaken for taxi drivers, Uber drivers etc. I immediately warmed up to him and as he made his way to order; I personally stepped in to take it.
As he made his order with a pseudo-Khaleeji (Gulfie accent – I was born in Kuwait so the empathy grew higher) I was thinking to myself how my English employee had gotten it all wrong. At any rate after the order he asked if I could change money for him and thinking he was a tourist + customer + the earlier confusion I agreed to his request.
He showed me his 20s and asked me if I could change all the 10s I had. Unsuspectingly I did as he asked (again my guard was much lower than usual) and he then returned my 10s in a huff because he wanted the old notes!
I got taken aback and smelled something was up and told him he could go to the Metro bank down the street. He made a big show about waiting for his order and I told him not to worry it would be ready (we were speaking foreign English – lots of hands gesturing) for him when he got back. He asked me show me where the bank was and I went out with him and pointed it out to him.
As I went back inside and recounted my notes I realised I was missing 5 10’s (50 pounds). I immediately realised what was up but he had of course disappeared.
I called the relevant authorities and of course no such luck; but I’ve lodged the police complaint (despite them slightly discouraging me) for my own peace of mind. The police told me these cases are shockingly common; these thieves are primed to take advantage of confusion and chaos..
I was feeling extremely stupid and my guard was down because I empathised with this chap as a fellow Arabish/Muslimish coloured man. It turns out he could have been Gypsy/aroma since they often look like us (he had pale skin, 5’6, short hair – gave his name as Armando and brokenish English that wasn’t actually so broken).
My ego is hurt but writing about it is therapeutic. As is often the way Baha’u’llah has a plan and a way of teaching us lessons. I had earlier shared today in my Brexit WhatsApp group this passage about ethnic and class counciding and seeing my posh English employee make that confusion obviously touch a chord.
Usually I’m sharp and very on the ball (or so I like to think) but I was also coordinating our puppy being sent back home as it was raining so it was a perfect moment for this young ethnic chap to wreck mischief.
Writing about it makes me reflect on the incident and I guess as I tweeted/whatsapped the story (it’s embarrassing having to explain to a wife who’s Cambridge’s scientific super-star how dumb I am) it was carthartic to write my blog post.
Thanks for listening ..