Will be tied up with some family business for a few days. This blog will return on Friday, July 17.
Ronnie Carr made the first three-pointer in the history of the NCAA on November 29, 1980. I was a member of the Western Carolina University staff who, a couple years prior, recruited Ronnie to the Southern Conference school. By the time he made the shot, I’d moved on to the University of Tennessee. Unfortunately for Ronnie, a potential NBA first round pick, he was in a career-ending, life-threatening car accident during the summer between his junior and senior years. The wreck left him with a broken collarbone, two broken arms, broken ribs, punctured lungs, two broken legs, a fractured ankle and a fractured wrist. The impact of the wreck also forced him to undergo open-heart surgery to replace a damaged mitral valve.
The fault of the accident was that of a rogue cop who was in a high-speed chase (with no siren blaring) and ran a stop sign, broadsiding the car Ronnie was driving. He was laid up in the hospital for 6 1/2 weeks and was advised to sue. He did so but in a “back room deal” between his lawyer and the state of North Carolina, a deal was brokered that wound up giving nothing to Ronnie. In the early ’80s a young, black kid (even if he had made NCAA basketball history) had no chance winning a court case against a white cop.
Despite this tragedy and miscarriage of justice, Ronnie not only finished his undergraduate degree but his title now is Dr. Ronnie Carr, following completion of his master’s and PhD. He’s an ordained minister, runs a successful business, working with and positively influencing young people, and is about to publish a book. He has honored me by requesting me to write the forward for that book.
It is with that background information that I inform you of my weekend. I had planned to get my car serviced (75,000 mile check) on Friday but I was running behind, so I called my mechanic and set up an appointment for the next morning. Friday evening, I went grocery shopping (which I had also been putting off) and when I got home, I had just enough time to unload the groceries before leaving for my appointment with an acupuncturist. I had strained a muscle in my neck going through an exercise routine (in which I, apparently, did something I shouldn’t have done) – a month ago. I was hoping to see if acupuncture would give me some relief. After putting up the groceries, I got into my car – and it wouldn’t start.
Because I was in such a rush, I took my wife’s car, calling AAA on the way. They informed me that, unless I had somewhere to tow it to that night, it would probably be better to call Saturday morning. I did so and AAA came to our house, checked out my car, only to find the battery dead. He charged it and I let it run for a few minutes before heading to my mechanic. There, they put in a new battery, serviced the car and I was on my way.
When I got home, I checked my emails. I had five (5) consecutive emails from PayPal – all of them fraudulent charges. They ranged from a one-time $1.88 charge to $120 monthly transaction. As I’ve mentioned times in this blogspace, I’m not exactly “from today.” The main reason I have a PayPal account is as a convenience for customers who want to order and pay online for baby gifts from our company (CuteBabyNameGifts.com). I only use PayPal to transfer money from the that account to my business checking account.
I tried to contact PayPal but they were closed. I did see where, if a customer thought there was a fraudulent charge, they could forward the email to PayPal, they would look it over and send an email response. I forwarded the first one. While I was in the process of forwarding the second, I noticed I’d received an email – from PayPal. It began, “Dear, Thank you for being a proactive contributor by reporting suspicious-looking emails to PayPal’s Abuse Department. Our security team is working to identify if the email you forwarded to us is a malicious email.” It then went on to list what PayPal will always do, and what PayPal will never do. There was one “Always” followed by a whole lotta “Nevers.” Since it was after their business hours, I will be contacting them in a few hours.
While this was going on, I received an email from American Express with the subject line “Fraud Protection Alert.” Nice. It alerted me of a charge on my card and asked the question: “Do you recognize this attempt?” Below it, there were two boxes, one in bright green with a check mark and “Yes” inside, the other a fire engine red with an exclamation point and a “No.” Since I was becoming an expert on how to be a fraud victim, I clicked on the red box. A message came on, saying I’d be getting a call from Amex within five minutes but my phone rang as I was finishing reading the message. The representative on the other end couldn’t have been more helpful.
We discussed the charge, I explained that it was not made by me (which they’d expected, hence the email) and we took a walk down memory lane – going over each of my charges for the past few days. I was of assistance, being able to tell him when the last two occasions were that I’d use the card. He noted those – and several others made subsequently, none of which were purchases made by me. He deleted the fraudulent charges, told me he was cancelling that card (to make sure I didn’t use it), that he would be sending me a new one with a new number and would send me an email of all the companies that had automatic withdrawals on my card. What, he wasn’t going to contact them, too? While the news wasn’t great, the service was exceedingly so.
A wrap up of my weekend: one dead battery, a painful neck – the acupuncture gave me fleeting relief, as did the six lydocaine shots from the doctor a few weeks ago and the massage therapy from a couple of different (both professional) people, five fraudulent charges on my PayPal account and several others on my American Express card.
As I began putting pen to paper for the forward of Ronnie Carr’s book which details his ordeal, I thought:
“Y’know, this wasn’t such a bad weekend after all.”