Just as he does every Tuesday, Art Smith drove into Whitehorse with his wife.
The Tagish resident was sitting in his truck, waiting for his wife to complete her shopping, when a young woman approached the cab.
“This young girl, when I was parked at the mall waiting for my wife the other day, she comes over and raps on the window,” he said.
“ ‘Do you know where the Catholic church is?’” she asked Smith.
“She looked like she was half-froze, no mitts or gloves or anything,” he said in a phone interview this week.
So, Smith invited her to slide into the truck to warm up while they waited for his wife.
The woman, who looked to be in her late teens or early 20s, said her name was Angelina.
“She said she was from Watson Lake; she works at the Belvedere Hotel,” he said.
Angelina told the couple she was in town for medical reasons.
“She had come to town for a follow-up. She had had a hysterectomy here a couple months ago and, apparently, there was some infection she had to get checked out,” he added.
While she’d found the fare to ride into Whitehorse, Social Services was supposed to pony up the money for a bus seat back to Watson Lake, said Smith.
“‘All I’ve got is $29,’” Smith said she told him.
A one-way ticket from Whitehorse to Watson Lake runs $67.95.
“‘I’ve been to the Maryhouse and they couldn’t help me. So, I thought I’d go to the Catholic Church,’” Angelina added, he said.
The elderly couple trucked her around to a number of churches in the downtown core.
“She got out of the truck and tried to get in, and all this,” he said from his home in Tagish.
Angelina still came up $40 short.
After frustrating their efforts, Smith and his wife took the young woman to the bus depot.
“I said, ‘Well, we’ll give you a ride to the bus depot and maybe I can look after it down there,’” said Smith.
“Thinking, you know, that I would pay her way. But, of course, she knew before I did that the place wasn’t even open.”
Angelina stepped down from the truck at a fast food restaurant across the street from the Greyhound bus station on Second Ave.
Smith reached into his wallet and gave her the $40 she lacked for bus fare.
“Look, here’s 40 bucks, you go over there at 6:40 p.m. and catch the bus,” Smith told her.
The couple then drove home to Tagish.
When Smith recounted the story to his son, he discovered he’d been scammed.
“Dad you’ve been had,” his son told him.
“She’s been doing this since before Christmas.”
It is probably the same woman who conned another local, said Smith.
“A friend got rooked by her,” he said.
“She told him she had to get back to Dawson City.
“And, by golly, if she didn’t hang onto him two weeks later with a different story. He had clued in and said, ‘Lady you better get your story straight.’”
Angelina is clean looking and skinny, with a high forehead, said Smith.
She’s not dressed in warm clothing, despite temperatures plummeting to minus 30 Celsius this week, he added.
“She’s very straightforward and pleasant, and she certainly doesn’t look like one who’d pull such a stunt,” he added.
Smith lodged a complaint with Whitehorse RCMP. He was told it had received other calls.
Police confirmed they had fielded a number of these calls in November and December.
While Smith is down $40, he hopes others won’t fall for scam.
He recommends that anyone who is approached in a similar way tell Angelina “to take a hike.”