I am a nice guy. I found out just how nice recently.
In the past few weeks, I got rich - very rich. Big money just came right out of the blue and fell into my lap. I don't know why really. Maybe it's because I'm a nice guy.
OK, explanation time. I got this e-mail a few weeks back:
"I am General Johnson Kuku, the former Chief of Defense Staff in Liberia. I am 58 years old. Sequel to outbreak of war in Liberia, I have in my possession, the sum of $62.5m (Sixty-two Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars) being government money assigned to me by government of Charles Taylor for rehabilitation of Liberian Army Barracks and purchase of military war ship and these funds was diverted to my personal use when the rebels hijacked the government of Charles Taylor.
"However, these funds were smuggled through the border via a diplomatic security company and have the funds delivered in any of their offshore payment office in order to work out modalities to have the funds moved to overseas countries. Furthermore, this fund was sealed as a family treasure and will be move as diplomatic cargo which is covered with diplomatic immunity.
"This is 100 percent risk-free transaction and is profit oriented and I have chosen to strike this business with you if you will not mind. As I am in exile, I have no traveling documents with me and still under protection, therefore, this is the only treasure I have and the future of my children depends on these funds since all our account has been frozen, I have nothing to boast for except this funds that has been deposited with the diplomatic security company. Based on your attention is highly needed to execute this business. I will offer you 30 percent of the funds and we can as well go into a joint venture and the sharing ration can be 70-30 percent."
What freak, amazing luck, I thought. I wouldn't know General Johnson Kuku if I fell over him, and here out of all the people in the world to make $18,7500,000 richer, he picks me. Me! Did he find out I'm a nice guy or something?
If he did, he must have told somebody else. In just a matter of a few more days I received this e-mail:
"I am a financial consultant based in East London. I have a client (a widow) she has $12,000,000 USD with a private equity investment trust company for safekeeping. And she is willing to offer you 20 percent of the total fund if you can assist her transfer this fund to your country or any bank of your wish. She wishes to invest in a stable economy
Who would have believed it? I've been a working stiff my entire life and all of a sudden I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams. Here is this financial consultant willing to give me $2,400,000 for a little bank transfer. Me! And it shows up only days after General Kuku's proposal. And I always thought nice guys finished last.
All right, so that's a rather tired metaphor. So here's another - when it rains, it pours. Incredible as it may seem, this e-mail came just a few days later:
"This is to inform you of the release of the EURO MILLION LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL held on the 7th of Sept. 2004. The results were released on the 23th of Sept. 2004. Your email address was attached to ticket number 653-908-321-675 with serial number 345-790-241-671 that drew the lucky numbers of 34-32-90-43-32, which consequently won the lottery in the 1st category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum of payment of Euros 1,000.000.00(One million thousand Euro, only) in cash. Credited to file with this is from US 20,000.000.00 (twenty million Euro) in cash among the 20 participating finalist playing 6,000 full tickets. CONGRATULATIONS!!!"
Now I swear to you, I've never in my life played the EURO MILLION LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL. I've never even heard of the EURO MILLION LOTTERY INTERNATIONAL. Yet there it was, I won. Me! Now I'll admit I have no idea what a million Euros is worth in terms of what I can spend at the local Pizza Hut, but I'd bet it would give me an awful lot of pepperoni.
So there I was, sitting on top of the world - more than $20 million ahead. And then I got the following e-mail, which appealed to my being a nice guy a little bit more than I could take:
"Please help this little boy:
"My name is Billy Evans. I am a very sick little boy. My mother is typing this for me, because I can't. She is crying. The reason she is so sad is because I'm so sick. I was born without a body. All I have is a head. It doesn't hurt, except when I try to breathe. The doctors gave me an artificial body. It is a burlap bag filled with leaves.
"The doctors said that was the best they could do on account of us having no money or insurance. I would like to have a body transplant, but we need more money. Mommy doesn't work because she said nobody hires crying people. I said, "Don't cry, Mommy," and she hugged my burlap bag. Mommy always gives me hugs, even though she's allergic to burlap and it makes her sneeze and chafes her real bad.
"I hope you will help me."
Well, what else is there to say? How in the world does someone fail to be moved by a needy kid with a burlap body? I'm welling up just thinking about it. And here I am, boasting about my dumb luck and newfound riches. Well, the guilt kept coming. I felt I had no choice.
I forwarded the General Kuku, the financial consultant and the Euro Million Lottery International e-mails to Billy Evans. I hope he can find a really good body and have enough money left over for allergy shots for his mom. I'm a nice guy. I'm more than glad to help.
So there you have it. After a brief roller coaster ride on the cusp of financial fortune, I am back where I started, left only to ponder that age-old question: Is the price for being a nice guy too high?
I thought about that one long and hard. As a nice guy, I came to the conclusion that there is only one true answer:
Ted Williams is a senior Web producer for mcall.com. His column appears weekly.
Nice guys finish poor
« Previous Story More Topic pages Next Story »
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.