So Friday night I was out with my friend on Nanjing Dong Lu after a meal at a Japanese place (all you can eat, 158 RMB/about $20 US per person) and my way to find a cab to catch/his way home, we were stopped by these two girls.
Now normally, especially on Nanjing Lu, if anyone grabs or tries to talk to me I keep moving - the road is rife with scammers and touts and people who want to part you from your money.
These girls weren't much different - to me, but my friend started listening to their story. They said they had come to Shanghai from one of the provinces (Hebei? Like I said, I wasn't really listening) and they hadn't eaten in two days and could they get some money to eat. So my friend says, well, I'll take you to a restaurant and buy some food - and the two girls readily agreed.
So we walk to the local Sweeties (by the way? best Cantonese style roast duck) - and at this point, I take off to go sing karaoke with my friend D - so the rest of the story I get from C.
He says, apparently these girls were starving, came to the city to find jobs, but were unable to find anything - so needed a way to get home. So he took them back to his apartment (to pick up cash, you perverts - not for anything untoward) and then gave them 200 RMB (about $27 US) to take a cab to the station and then buy train tickets home.
And he said "well, they could have been scammers - but they really were very hungry" - they ate all the food he bought them - and he bought them 20 fried dumplings and some waters for the 20 hour train ride home. They took his business card and PROMISED to pay him back, but he told them to learn English instead and then send him an email.
What he ended up telling me later was - well, they could've have been scamming me, but look at it this way - if they weren't, they're going to remember me forever. How many people will remember you forever for the low low price of 200 RMB?
Was I too cynical and guarded? I don't know. But I thought it was good story.
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