Sometimes things aren't always as they seem. Sometimes your gut tells you one thing and reality tells you another. It can be good to trust your gut, but some cases go against what you may think.
I was traveling solo through Europe at 23 and was on the last leg of my journey before starting a volunteer program in Cyprus.
I was on the bus to Split, Croatia when I had one of my most memorable interactions.
I had just been diagnosed with mononucleosus in the last city and was prepared to rest during my stay in Split. On the bus to the city, a man sat behind me and spoke very loudly on the phone, talking big money. When he got off the phone, I started chatting with him. His name was John. He was much older and had an Indian accent (although he claimed to be from Amsterdam). He told me he works for a travel company and flies all over the world. He then asked me where I will be staying once we reach the city.
I hadn't found a place yet and was just planning on looking up the cheapest hostel upon arriving.
He said, "Oh no, you can't do that. You need space to yourself and a place to relax with privacy."
I told him that I could not afford such luxuries.
He then told me he would help me out once we got to the city.
Unsure of what he meant, I sat quietly and trusted his words.
When we got there, he called a cab for us. When we got in, he told the driver to go to the nicest hotel in the city. At this point, I was feeling hesitant and uncertain. Here I was in a foreign city, with a stranger, in a cab, supposedly on the way to a 5-star hotel. Was this a scam? Was I safe? What should I do? All of my instincts were telling me to get out of this situation.
However, when we got to the hotel, he booked two separate rooms for the both of us. He said in a few hours we would go out to dinner. I got to my room and it was beautiful. It overlooked the Mediterranean Sea and the hotel pool. The bed was a cloud and the softest surface I had been on in months. I was very confused with my situation. So I just kept rolling with it.
After a relaxing shower, I got a call from John and he told me to meet him in the front lobby. I met him there and we took a cab to the city center for dinner. We went to a very fancy restaurant and he paid for everything. Despite how it sounds, it was all very platonic. There was literally nothing creepy happening and we were just two normal people eating food together.
When we got back to the hotel, he told me we are going to leave this place tomorrow and stay somewhere closer to the center. I continued to go along with it.
The next morning, I had the nicest complimentary breakfast of my life. Although I couldn't actually eat much because I was still pretty sick.
After breakfast, John and I took a cab to a place that appeared to be an apartment complex. We met a lady there who works with John to find places for tourists to stay (because he's a travel agent). So I got this one bedroom apartment all by myself for a few days! I mostly did my own thing during the day and John and I would meet up in the evening to have dinner. He ended up staying somewhere else in the city.
One morning, he asked what I was doing that day. I told him that I was planning on going snorkeling at some of the nearby islands. So we met at the dock and looked at all the different boat trips being advertised. The one I wanted to do was at a time period he could make so he told me he would just pay for it for me anyway.
This was too much.
I asked him, "Why are you being so nice to me?"
His response, "I think you should be nice to everyone."
I was at a loss for words and felt grateful for this selflessly kind human.
A couple days later I decided to leave the apartment and find a cheap hostel. I hadn't really heard much from John so I gave him a call. I asked if he was still in the city. He said he was in Singapore!
And just like that he was gone.
A stranger out of nowhere that simply helped me because he could.
I literally have no way of ever contacting him again because I lost that phone with all my contacts.
It's interesting what this experience has showed me. On one hand, I know this was a very rare and lucky outcome. I know I should not be so trusting of everyone. And this surely could've ended very badly for me.
But somehow, I was taken care of in this situation.
Somehow, this stranger showed up right when I needed it the most and left without a trace.
Sometimes all you can really do is be thankful.