Consumerist Prevents You From Getting Mugged?

Reader Geoff was at a gas station with his girlfriend when a shady looking dude approached them and started asking for money so he could pay someone to unlock his car and free the 11 month-old kid whom he’d locked inside… in a dark corner of the next parking lot over. Hm. Was he telling the truth? Geoff writes:

Dear Consumerist,

I just wanted to say thank you for practically saving my life last night. I was at the gas station with my beautiful girlfriend when a strange, homeless looking man came up to us begging for our help.

He claimed that he accidentally locked his 11-month old child in the car, which he pointed to in the distance, sitting in a dark corner in the next parking lot over. He at first said he needed some money to pay someone to unlock his car. After I told him I had no money, he started begging I go to the ATM. At that point I told him to beat it because there was no kid in that car and that he just wanted money.

Then things got scary.

He started telling me to go check out the car so he could see his child was locked in the car. Now remember, this car is in the next parking lot over, in a dark corner, and it’s about 1:00AM. This is when I remembered a little tip I got from a Consumerist article I read a couple weeks ago about a corrupt company that overcharges customers to have their car be unlocked. So I turned to him and said, “If there is really a kid in there, then call 911. The fire department will come and unlock it for free, since I think an infant locked in the car constitutes an emergency.” Then I offered to call the 911 for him on my cell phone. He then stared at me for a second, turned around and jogged away.

I just wanted to thank you, Consumerist, for providing me the information I needed to protect both my girlfriend and I from a potential danger. I know that saving us from getting mugged and robbed by a homeless man isn’t quite your mission, but you saved the day for us, and I’m forever grateful.


You know, Geoff. We think you’re on to something there. Good thinking on your part. Consumerist says: Don’t follow strangers into dark parking lots! Here’s the original shady locksmith post Geoff mentioned.