My husband and I are typical Florida homeowners: we are over 80, live in a mobile home community, have no close relatives, have a dog, and live a very quiet life. We met a young sweet gentle giant from Georgia who convinced us he was a veteran with PTSD who could help us with all our repair/remodel/handyman projects. He was not asking for charity, just a chance. We hired him and kept him busy for months.

Then he needed an advance. Of course, because by now he is a friend, we have met some of his friends and family, fine people. The painting is not finished but he assures us it will be and is really hurt when I ask if he plans to come back and finish it. He is a very good actor. I actually apologized to him for doubting his integrity, his professionalism, his honesty, which he touts with great conviction because as he says, that’s all he has. Never doubt it.

He took the money and has never been back. He does not answer phone calls or texts. The hardwood floors he installed will have to be ripped out and redone.

Are we unusual? Not according to AARP. We thought we were smarter: we have gotten the phone calls from the phony grandchildren and we did not fall for them. This was different. We really cared about this shyster who made us feel very paternal toward him. We wanted to help him, we wanted to see him succeed at his own business. We helped him take us for a very hard ride. As a result, we will not trust anyone ever again.

Wilson Zanella

Sebring

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