It was early morning before work. Since I was doing home office, sometimes I rode my bike around the district for exercise. I didn’t take my wallet and bike lock because I knew I won’t need them.
I rode the usual route — on the way back, stopped at a bench near the water, and reflected on life.
As I was leaving, a guy on a light blue bike came out of nowhere, approached me, and said something in German. I paused and looked at him, trying to figure out what he said, sometimes it is possible from context. He repeated the words and quickly produced a combination lock.
After another pause, I gave up solving the puzzle and said, “Englisch? Mein Deutsch ist nicht gut.”
He replied, “You want? 6 Euro” as he waved the lock back and forth. The situation felt strange; the deal seemed very cheap. It gave the impression something wasn’t right. Like it was stolen or something.
Surprisingly, I felt an itch of temptation because I would eventually need another bike lock; a friend lent me the current one. But as a person that was living in a foreign country, I was careful not to make any trouble because I believed it could have a drastic impact on my life, for example, deportation.
I replied, “I don’t have any money on me,” which was true.
He said, “ATM? We can go.”
I replied, “I don’t have a wallet on me,” which was also true. Then a thought crossed my mind: buying the lock could be a scam. If the pin was not configurable, then this guy would be able to steal my bike.
Then he said something, the main ideas was: we could ride to my apartment and he’d wait outside while I got the money. This offer increased the probability that it was a scam, and I ejected myself from the conversation.
The guy rode off. He happened to go in the same direction as my apartment, so I followed. He stopped at a cafe where some men were sitting outside and tried to sell them something.
I casually rode home and parked. By the time I arrived, the guy was speaking with another man at the kiosk nearby. The guy was in a hurry. The old man declined with “Nein, Ich habe ein Auto.” His tone gave the impression that he also thought the situation was odd.