We were walking to the Tuileries over a pedestrian bridge from the Museum D’Orsay, when Johnny noticed “lover locks” on the bridge that seem to be appearing everywhere in Paris. Suddenly he picks up something gold and says “RING.” I hear his Daddy calling me as he rushes over to Johnny as he is also looking around to see where it came. You see there is a scam that I hear is unique to Paris and tourists called the “Gold Ring Scam.”
People who are trying to scam tourists sneakily drop a fake gold ring near your feet and then innocently bend down and pick it up and ask if its yours. Of course its not and then the person says its their lucky day and they should sell it. What is the catch? Well they are hungry and want money so they want the tourist to buy it for a cheap price and the tourist has a big gold ring. Their Daddy and I had decided to tell Johnny and Princess that there are some people who are making “bad choices” and trying to trick visitors into giving them money. We tell them not to pick anything up especially shiny jewelery and instead call us just like they would at home. You can read more about it here: http://europeforvisitors.com/paris/articles/paris-gold-ring-scam.htm
What does Johnny do when he has a big shiny gold ring in the plan of his hand? Johnny giggles and instead of giving it to Daddy he smirks and tosses it purposely right into the Seine. We couldn’t believe it! We look around and it seems that we are alone except for 3 other tourists on the bridge that don’t seem like scammers. Johnny knew was was happening and chose to handle it and the scam his way. Needless to say as parents we were very nervous because someone has tossed a ring right at the feet of one of my children to take advantage of their innocence. We go down the stairs of the bridge and get ready to cross the busy street still no one that fit the description of the scammers. All I see is an upset teenage girl with auburn hair that was near by. We crossed the street and get the kids together on Tuileries side when man picks up a ring by our the stroller and says, “is this yours?” We shake our heads and “no” and he nods and quickly leaves us. I see him cross the street and join the auburn coloured hair girl and console her as she looks out over the river where Johnny was and tossed the ring. She was in on the scam and was upset she lost her tool! They lobbed it at the feet of our children from quite a distance!!!!!
You read all about these scams and the danger of pick pockets in Paris but to have it happen right in front of you especially when you have kids is surreal and frustrating. I don’t like the idea of feeling hunted. But that day the scammers were “zero” and our family “one” because of the actions of our son. Today when I was choosing these pictures for my blog and editing them Johnny stood by and watched me on the iPad. He commented on all the locks, their colours and how there were so many. Then he said:
“Mommy, something happened on this bridge with the locks.”
I pretended I didn’t know what he was referring to especially since there was another bridge, The Pont des Arts, is the famous “Lovers Lock Footbridge” in Paris with the most locks.
“Mommy this French lady tossed a gold ring at my feet.”
Hmmm, his Daddy and I never told him that we suspected a young woman had done the scam to him. I asked him again to tell me about the ring incident.
He smiled his impish smile and said….
“Mommy a French lady tossed the gold ring at me and I threw it into the water.”
I loved how proud of himself he looked when he retold the story of our ring incident and then I reminded myself how important it is that he’s describing and event from the past in such detail and from his own point of view. We both shared a smile.