August Turak

Author Consultant Speaker

From Russia with Love

MariaSeveral years ago I met Masha in St. Petersburg, Russia while there for my friends Dina and Slava's wedding. She was working the front desk of my hotel, and when I returned the following year we renewed our friendship. But soon she hesitantly told me that she needed a serious operation and despite working two jobs did not have the money to pay for it. Russia offers government funded medical care but the service is so terrible that she was determined to pay cash instead at a private hospital. She told me that she had scraped, saved, and borrowed but was still hundreds of dollars short of what she needed.

Despite the fact that I hardly knew her and we had no romantic relationship I decided to lend her the money. I told another Russian friend, Marina, who I'd known for years, that I fully realized that this all might be a scam. I told her further that I was structuring it as a loan only to see if Masha did intend to pay me back. If she did offer I intended to turn the loan into a gift.

A few days later I gave Masha the money along with the news that I had been to a Russian Orthodox church where I lit a candle for her and asked God to speed her recovery.

Six months later Masha contacted me here in the USA. The operation had been successful and she only needed one thing: A way to send me the money she had borrowed. I told her "nyet." I did not want the money.

That was several years ago and I have not seen Masha since. Then just last week I got an email from her. She is married and just had her first baby. This is a bit of what she wrote:
My dear Augie,  First of all I want to tell you that I always remember you and I remember all good things you've done for me and all the good advice you gave me. I want to know how you are and how everything is.

I want you to know that in November 2013 I had a business trip to one of the most picturesque towns of our country, which now is an important historical and religious center with numerous monasteries and churches - Suzdal. And of course I lit a candle for you in several churches. 

I attached some photos of my son and me, so you can look at him. Let me know if you are planning a trip to Russia. Love, Masha. 
I'm so happy for Masha and so glad I took a chance on her. One of her photo' is attached so you can "look at him" too!