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university, arguing that her wayward experience would help her save others. It didn't.
Drugs had impaired her ability to concentrate. She found it difficult to study, fell out
with her lecturers and quit. For the past year, she'd been wandering around trying to
10 Ingrid's new friend
Ingrid came from Denmark and was travelling with a young man who went out of
his way to say that they were just good friends. His name was Rolf and he acted
as her minder. Why he should have assumed that role was never clear to me.
The pair spent several months with us and worked for their beds. Ingrid helped with
the cleaning and Rolf did odd jobs . He was reserved. She was decidedly outgoing.
One day a young man arrived at the hostel. He registered under the name of
Nickolas and claimed to be Polish. According to Nickolas, his passport and credit
cards had been stolen and he couldn't get money until they'd been replaced. He
produced a valuable watch and said I could have it as security. In return, I gave him a
loan of $50 and said he could work for his bed.
Not surprisingly, Ingrid took Nickolas under her wing . He told her the story of his
unhappy life and secured a sizeable loan. Several days passed and Rolf came to see
"Do you know Nickolas is borrowing money?"
I said I'd loaned him $50 but didn't k now about anyone else.
"He's got over $600 and he's writing cheques ... telling people they can cash them
when the bank opens tomorrow."
I said it was Thursday and the banks stayed open late.
Rolf grinned. "Okay! I'll take him there right now."
Rolf was a big guy and could be physically persuasive despite his mild nature . He
collected Ingrid and they went down into the pool area where Nickolas was sitting at a
table, busily writing cheques. A crowd gathered. People got excited and there was a
lot of gesticulating. During all of this, Nickolas remained his usual nonchalant self and
didn't seem put out when Rolf insisted they go round to the bank immediately.
What followed went something like this. Nickolas arrived at the bank, under escort,
insisting it was closed and they were wasting their time. Needless to say, he got a bit
of a shock when he discovered the doors still open. The bulk of his escort remained
outside and he entered flanked by Rolf and Ingrid. They marched him to the counter
and stood beside him as he presented a cheque.
After that things started to heat up . The cashier examined the cheque and said she
would have to see if some transfers had been made. Nickolas said they would come
back the next day and the cashier said they should wait. Nickolas started to argue and
the cashier signalled to a security guard . The look on the man's face said they were
not going anywhere without a fight.
They were shown to a bench in the main hall. Rolf hooked an arm round Nickolas
and sat down. Ingrid took a place on the other side and held onto him. A minute
passed and Nickolas tried to get up. A struggle ensued and customers moved away.
The security guard glanced at his watch but made no attempt to intervene. Finally,
after twenty minutes, three police officers arrived. Rolf got up and was immediately
arrested along with Nickolas and Ingrid.
They were taken to a police station and questioned individually. It went on for
hours. Finally, Ingrid and Rolf were released when CCTV footage arrived from the