Have you ever heard the phrase, “Open-minded ka ba?” It’s a dreaded one-liner that networkers use to lure people into their “businesses,” whatever they may be. What if you chance upon a potential internet scammer who might have a similar intention? What would you do?
Ben Taylor encountered a stranger on Facebook who initially asked him for “business or financial assistance” in the “name of GOD.”
Based on Daily Mail’s report, the stranger messaged the following text to him:
“Helo Sir, wel my name is Joel from Liberia, West Africa. Pls I beg u in name of GOD, I need some assistance from u, business or financial assistance dat will help empower me pls.”
Taylor didn’t delete nor ignore the message. Instead, he replied, “How can I help?”
He admitted that he initially wanted to waste the potential internet scammer’s time. However, they quickly exchanged messages that led to a heartfelt encounter.
“At first I just thought this was one of those scammers who wanted to take advantage of me. In the past when people have contacted me I would waste their time. I even sent them poop and tried to get revenge.”
“They usually realize I’m not falling for their tricks but Joel said, ‘OK, you’re offering me an opportunity and I’m going to do my best.'”
“The fact he was willing to put in work and do what I was asking him to do made me think, ‘This guy is worth spending money on.'”
“I was super surprised with how long the story went on for. I didn’t expect it to last more than a couple of days but it’s lasted more than six months.”
“I thought he was trying to make a quick buck off me but it turned out he was someone who was really in need and all he needed was someone to just take a chance on him. That person ended up being me.”
Taylor eventually asked Joel if he wanted to collaborate on a project that involved photojournalism. According to the source, Joel claimed that he wanted to become a journalist.
Taylor requested the man to send him sample pictures of the sunset in his place using a mobile. He also promised that he would pay Joel. When Joel sent the initial snapshots, Taylor was not satisfied.
He sent the man a camera and received over 20 stunning images of an impoverished village in Liberia through his e-mail. This prompted Taylor to create a book which aimed to feature Joel’s work.
According to the report:
“He went on to create a book showcasing Joel’s work, entitled By D Grace of God, which sold around 2,500 copies at $10 each – raising a staggering $25,000.”
“Some of the money went to Joel’s wife and children and towards printing costs, but the reformed scammer also splashed some of it on backpacks for 150 Liberian children.”
“It has turned into this humanitarian opportunity that has developed. People are continuing to support our project and Joel is still doing good. It was really special and moving to see how much good one guy could do. Joel was able to buy backpacks for over 150 kids. He is now in the process of building up a business for himself and getting back up on his feet.”
Watch his video below:
What do you think about Taylor and Joel’s story? Have you been contacted by a potential internet scammer before? What did you do? Let us know your thoughts and stories in the comments section below!