Flight attendant and TikToker Destanie (@destineaaa) has accumulated a staunch following on the popular social media platform sharing with viewers on the ups and downs of working in the aviation industry. She’s previously gone viral for revealing how she handles airplane passengers who try to finagle themselves into empty first class seats, and airing out some of the biggest pet peeves she deals with from passengers: From pre-boarding, mid-flight, and the preconceived notions people have about her because she’s a flight attendant.
She recently uploaded another clip that’s amassed over 10,000 views where she highlighted a strange encounter she had with a man who tried to finesse money out of her using Google Translate. She said that the scenario had all of the makings of a Liam Neeson human trafficking flick and thanks to her outright refusal to entertain the person’s exhortations and what she calls a seemingly fake nice guy shtick, she thankfully emerged from the incident unscathed.
“I had something happen to me tonight that I feel like was like a scene out of Taken. So I’m literally just getting back from my yearly reoccurrent flight attendant training so I’m already on edge right cause we did a lot of like safety and security stuff. They’re like situational awareness. So it’s like 8 o’clock, I’m waiting for the train, train’s coming at 8:10 and it’s really cold outside so I’m waiting above in the airport. There’s like an escalator to go down and an elevator to go down. This man comes up to me, and he’s like hmmm, I’m like yeah? I think he’s gonna ask for directions or something he gets super close to me,” she holds her hand up directly beside her face to demonstrate the proximity in which the man approached her, “Like this close to me, and I back up. And he gets closer to me. He pulls out his Google Translate, he’s speaking Russian into Google Translate like I saw the characters once he showed it to me, it’s Russian as she’s like getting really close to me and I keep backing up. It was just a weird vibe too, it was just like I felt a weird vibe from him. Like he was trying to give off this vibe that he was like ‘I’m a nice guy’ but it was creepy. He showed me his phone. His phone says: ‘I have been waiting at the ATM for an hour. Will you please transfer me some money and I will give you cash.’ And he shows it to me and he’s giving me this like nervous smile. And I look at him I’m like, ‘No, no,’” she says demonstrating the stern look she shot him while voicing she would not be transferring him money.
Destanie goes on to say that the strange man sighed and rolled his eyes before walking away, “He goes down to the train, walks in a circle, makes a phone call, and comes right back up the escalator. I watch him. He goes down to the train, paces around, makes a phone call and goes right back up. Am I overthinking this?” she asks at the end of the video, while also noting in a text overlay in her clip that there was no ATM machine located in the area that his mystery man kept retreating to.
Several commenters who responded to her clip did not believe she was overthinking the situation at all. One person penned: “All the comments are right – you get a weird feeling, trust your gut, trust your intuition. Happy nothing else happened”
Someone else remarked, “Weird and trust your instincts!”
While one TikTok user pointed out how strange the man’s scam was: Why in the world would he be asking for money to be transferred to his account if he had cash on his person?
Unfortunately, there are several ATM scams that are aimed at targeting travelers, however, they seem to be more complex than the one Destanie suspects she was a victim of: These cons usually involve card readers installed on ATM machines. Folks think that they’re getting their money out of the machine, and maybe they even do, but not before a device saves the card information to a microSD card that is then lifted by the con artist and used for a variety of transactions.
I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt but really felt odd 😭
It seems that the particular con that Destanie is referring to is one that seems to tug on the heart strings of folks: A forlorn looking traveler is looking to have some funds transferred. They use Google Translate to create the persona of an individual who is a stranger in a strange land—who wouldn’t want to help someone in need? However, judging by the pitch offered up by the strange man, it didn’t sound like his con made much sense.
Another scam that’s gone viral on TikTok previously that travelers should watch out for, the “Paris clear cup scam” was aired by a user on the platform who said that beggars will intentionally put their money in clear cups on the floor and hope that tourists kick them over. When an apologetic pedestrian picks up their cup and their money, they will act upset and look to extort money out of folks: But it is apparently a known hustle, and one that preys on the guilt of someone who is supposedly more fortunate than the indigent beggar who just had their alms toppled over by some careless feet.
*First Published: Dec 31, 2023, 12:00 am CST
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.