Land of Opportunity

I had gone to America with the intention to stay there permanently because my two daughters were studying there, and I had completed about 19 years in Saudi Arabia and badly wanted some change of venue and pitch my tents permanently somewhere.

I was very hopeful that I will succeed as I had heard that “AMERICA IS A LAND OF OPPORTUNITY”, but for me it did not turn out be so,( may be due some of my own shortcomings), so after four years of all sorts futile efforts I was destined to find my own “Land of opportunity” in the warmth of UAE, which is a completely different story which may be if I find the time and opportunity will tell at some other time.

When I was struggling in USA to find a footing and was almost frustrated bitter and convinced against about “America being a Land of Opportunity”, someone told me this interesting story about some smart guy who converted it be the “Land of abundance” for himself.

The story goes like this.
A guy like me (but of course much smarter) came to USA with his money and plans and booked in a hotel in some expensive district in New York. On a Friday evening he hired a taxi and landed in very exclusive shopping area in Manhattan and casually walked into a very high-end boutique selling very expensive lady’s fur coats. After browsing around for some time, he stopped at a very beautiful lady’s mink coat which looked very distinguished and expensive. He kept on looking, touching and admiring it as debating in his mind whether to buy it not. Finally, he seemed to have succumbed to the desire to buy it and called the salesman/girl to ask its price. The sales person of course very enthusiastically looked at the price tag which was something around $ 10,000.00. The customer again took sometimes to think about it but finally made up his mind and asked the manager of boutique to pack it. The manager very gladly obliged and the customer took out his cheque book and wrote a cheque for the amount. (It was the time when the plastic money was not yet introduced). The manager did not have a choice but to accept the cheque because being Friday evening the banks were closed and could not demand cash. The Manager and customer both very cordially said good bye to each other.

The matter did not close there and the supposed to be a rich guy walked into a Pawn Shop two blocks away from the place of his shopping and asked Pawn Shop owner to lend him some cash against the this “ Expensive Fur coat” which he had bought only hours ago from the neighborhood shop for which he showed him a valid sales invoice. His excuse for asking cash was that as it being Friday evening, he had no chance of withdrawing any money till Monday morning and being the fist time visitor, he did not have any way of getting any cash during the two days for hotel and other personal expenses. The Pawn Shop had no excuse to turn him down as the security was genuine with valid proof of ownership. He very gladly gave him $ 8,000.00 for the coat which the gentleman accepted without much bargaining.

For a Pawn Shop owner, it was a bit unusual for a rich customer to ask such a huge amount against such luxury item. Just to be a good smarten he thought it to be his duty to caution the Boutique owner about the whole transaction and when he came to know about payment being made by cheque their suspicion became stronger about the whole affair being fishy and both smart and cautious businessmen thought it advisable to inform the local police.
NYPD being a very efficient and cautious law enforcing agency and having a reputation of being very tough on con man and criminals and as a vigilant force at the service of the citizenry did not take any chances, and thought it most appropriate to apprehend the suspect lest he gets the chance to defraud the Boutique owner and rob him of the substantial amount of $10,000.00 by disappearing during the weekend.

The supposed suspect despite his all pleading and assuring of being an honest person was thrown in police custody as he being an stranger in the city could not produce any guarantor to vouch for his character.

The suspect helplessly spent two nights and two days in police custody in the company of hardened criminals’ robbers and murderers and was finally presented in the criminal court in front of the judge in the late Monday morning with handcuffs on. Listening the full case, the judge in the natural course ordered to call the bank to honor or dis-honor the cheque.

To everyone’s surprise the bank confirmed that the suspect has not only the funds enough to cover the cheque but much more, the suspect was immediately de-cuffed to file defamation cases against NYDP, Boutique owner, Pawn shop owner and few onlookers for couple of million dollars each. Overnight the man ended up being a multi-millioner due to his brilliant plant and flawless execution.

At the time when this story was told to me this man owned the chain of most exclusive Boutique all over the States including at Bel-Air in Hollywood and me the nth time had to admit that all my failures are all mine and no ones else’s.

“opportunities are there, where law prevails”

Rais Khan is a Chartered Accountant and an author. He has worked in corporate sector for 40 years in a variety of corporations ranging from IBM to Etisalat in UAE. He has worked and lived in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA, Africa and the UAE. Currently he is a freelance business consultant and part-time writer. He is the Editor of Pehchaan and can be contacted at [email protected]

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