“When I first got into the business, I let my guard down and made a foolish exception that could have cost my life. When I say I learned the hard way, I mean it” Barbados Bailey

He was a ‘last minute’ appointment during one of my first tours to New York. By phone he disclosed his full name and claimed to be self employed. I insisted that he arrive with identification and corresponding business card to present upon our introduction. Strangely enough, that same day before this client booked, I received a chain of appointment requests followed by last minute cancellations.

I later discovered that it was the same client who falsified the flakey clients, so that by the time he booked his appointment I would be thankful since I had so many cancellations that day

The unverified client arrived. Immediately, I asked to see his identification and business card. He searched frantically in pockets and coat jacket but produced nothing. He claimed to be in such a rush from the office that he had forgotten his wallet. This well-dressed, business man made his way into my hotel room, sat down on the bed with a sulking expression while proclaiming that he had forgotten all of his information and would I please forgive him. I thought what the heck, it’s been a rought day. One time won’t hurt.

I couldn’t understand why he was in such a hurry for me to take all of my clothes off. But then, he grabbed me, shoved my hands behind my back and declared that I was under arrest.

My heart sank into my feet as I stood there naked and humiliated

He was more concerned with gathering all of my money. He carried no badge. Oddly, he completely overlooked my briefcase that sat in plain view under the desk. Wouldn’t he want to search that for money? It dawned on me 20 minutes into the “searching” that this man was impersonating a cop.

He forced me to open the safe where I had stashed all of my valuables. I was so nervous that I couldn’t remember the access code so he stood over while I called hotel security for assistance. Before they arrived, I was ordered to get dressed and threatened bodily harm should I scream or try to escape. Shaking with despair, I tried to conceal tears in my eyes as the safe was opened to reveal an envelope of cash that carried $4,000 in earnings.

Having gotten what he wanted, this criminal pushed me out the door of my hotel room, clamping my arm in the elevator and demanded that I wait there in the lobby until he returned.  With no cel phone, I sat paralyzed and intimated. After thirty long minutes passed, I realized this guy was not coming back. I felt so stupid. He made a clean exit!

Shaken and in tears, I used the lobby phone to place a collect call to my best friend back home

who knew that I was touring. Gently, he revealed that this man was not a cop but a thief and that I had been robbed. More than anything, I was angry with myself that I hadn’t deposited my money in the bank located just across the street. Though I had ample space in my schedule to deposit the cash I saw no reason not to wait until tomorrow. With no alternative, I cut my tour short and returned home the next morning.

This man could have raped or killed me

Such a dreadful experience taught me a valuable lesson. I was extremely fortunate that all he got was my money.  Never let your guard down and always verify a client before you meet, no matter how convincing he may be!  And, it is crucial, especially for ladies who tour, to maintain a bank account with branch locations in many cities throughout the U.S. such as Bank of America. At the end of your day and before the banks close it is essential to deposit your cash inside the branch, not at an ATM machine. Even if your room has a safe-deposit box still go to the bank each day and diligently make that deposit. Carrying no cash whether in your room with clients or traveling through the airport ensures that you won’t be robbed and most importantly, that your life will not be threatened.

Written by Guest Author, Barbados Bailey