Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 24 June |
The Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

How this would-be scam turned a man’s life around


Pleasant Green | YouTube

Sophia Swinford - published on 12/28/17

It started with a Facebook message but it changed his life.

We’ve all received those scam messages to our email or Facebook accounts, but what would happen if you didn’t just delete them? When Ben Taylor received a suspicious message from a man called Joel in Liberia, he was confident that he was being scammed but he responded to the message anyway, hoping to waste the scammer’s time for a while.

Instead of sending him any money, he proposed that Joel send him photos and, if they were any good, Ben would buy them. Though the first batch were terrible, Joel gave him a second chance by shipping him a proper camera and providing a couple of photography tips.

“I thought I would waste his time by giving him these menial tasks of taking pictures around his village, but it turns out that he was willing to put in the work,” Ben explains. “He was really just a guy that was down on his luck and looking for work.”

The new photos Joel sent were beautiful. True to his word, Ben bought them and collected them into a book — a book that sold 1,000 copies in 40 countries. “When you give someone a chance, sometimes they’re not who you thought they were,” Ben says. “Sometimes they surprise you, and sometimes you end up being the answer to their prayers.”

Ben could have simply deleted the message and moved on, but his decision to respond to Joel ended up turning his life around. And his persistence in accompanying Joel through to the end was well rewarded.

You can hear more from Ben in the video below.


Read more:
Here’s how to be the most polite person in the digital world

Practicing MercySocial Media
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Zoe Romanowsky
Animated film shows the power of fatherhood in just one minute
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Zelda Caldwell
Catholic priest’s chapel is finalist in “Shed of the Year&#...
Philip Kosloski
Can Catholics use the Enneagram personality system?
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Ways to understand God as Father
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.