For adults with Down syndrome, life can be a difficult challenge where it’s hard to find people who understand, and those who want to enable them to be contributors to society are even more difficult to locate. However, one cafe in Houston, Texas, is helping to address this problem in a fantastic way.
SmooTea Cafe is a tapioca shop found in Houston which opened its second location in the city this year after opening its first location in 2015. Founder Samantha Le and her husband, Chi, were moved to begin their program after Samantha saw an online video from Bitty & Beau’s Coffee in the Carolinas.
In the video, employees with intellectual and physical disabilities were shown operating the business, having been trained by management staff to do so. “I thought to myself that maybe one day I can run a shop like that to help people who have disabilities,” Samantha said.
She was so inspired that she began having students from the Down Syndrome Academy come to the shop in early December, where they have learned how to make smoothies and banh mi sandwiches for customers.
“It just increases their self-esteem. They love being able to be productive and do what their peers have done,” said Rosa Rocha, president and founder of Friends of Down Syndrome. “They graduate from high school, and then they have no place to go. This gives them a purpose. This gives them a place to go and continue to be a part of the community.”
The students’ two-hour shifts at SmooTea are also helping to secure funding for a $2.6 million building for the non-profit organization that educates the young adults. Today, the school has 78 students, but there is still a waiting list to get in because of the lack of space.
“They want to be here,” Rocha said of the cafe. “They’re telling the rest of the students when they go back on Monday how wonderful it was and what a wonderful experience they had.”
45 People Share Scams They Fell for So Others Won’t
Worst Way to React
There are certain things that you rely on in life. For instance, you would hope that if your credit card gets stolen, you would get help from your credit card company to rectify the situation.
When this person had just this experience, instead of calling about suspicious activity, the company just raised their credit card limit. The only reason they found out that someone had used their card was that the company called to congratulate them on the new limit!
Best Case Scenario
Once in a while, a scam isn’t necessarily malicious in the sense of draining a bank account or identity theft. Sometimes, you’re just on the wrong end of a joke or prank.
While this person was the victim of a few scams, the one they remember most happened on a street corner. The man bet them $10 that he could guess where they got their shoes. He quickly told them that he knew exactly where he had them – on his feet. Caught off-guard, they paid up.
Losing Hair and Money
When this person worked at a daycare, they thought it’d be fun to use colored hair gel. It did the job of hair gel and gave them a brief but brilliant hair tone.
For one, when they tried to buy it, their whole bank account was drained. They had to get a new card and fix the situation. Oddly enough, they actually got the hair gel. The only problem was it quickly made their hair fall out, forcing them to opt for a shaved head that summer.
PlayStation Controller Blues
This person just wanted to pick up a PlayStation 3 controller at their local GameStop. They found one for a fair price with the help of a sales associate.
Despite what the box said, when they got home they realized they had bought a cheap knockoff. They went back to the GameStop demanding answers and they said the buyer hadn’t specified a Sony controller. They offered to sell them a new one without a refund and they never saw justice for the scam.
It’s one thing to fall for a Craigslist ad that seemed too good to be true. It’s another type of scam altogether to try and convince you to sell some of your own items.
This person left some items outside of their business. Someone then made a Craigslist ad to claim that they were giving the items away. While it probably would have been suspicious to the business owner, their staff saw the ad and even helped the man load some of the items in his trailer.
Tea Shop Scam
This person was actually sharing the story of a friend of theirs who didn’t quite realize what was going on. Apparently, she brags about the scam to this day!
She was in Shanghai when a student came up to them and asked if they wanted to practice English in a tea shop. Happy to make a new friend, she obliged. The end result was a ridiculously racked up bill of more than $150 for tea before the person disappeared.
The sad thing about people being online so early now is that scammers don’t necessarily care about age. There are plenty of stories of kids being scammed.
Luckily, this is a fairly low-stakes story that doesn’t involve a parent’s credit card. This person was just enjoying Runescape as a seven-year-old. They met up with another player online after they offered to upgrade their armor if they handed it over. They did and the person logged off, taking the armor with them.
It’s Kind of Funny
Back in the 1990s, this person’s friend received plenty of letters about winning something. They were promised a cash prize at the end, even a mention of $10,000!
The final step was to call a 1-900 number to claim their prize. The catch was that they had to pay $2 per minute. After 10 minutes of menus alone and every minute draining money, they reached the final step. They had won a grand total of $1!
Buying a house is no small task. That’s why many people in the market rely on a realtor to guide them through the process and help them find the perfect home.
This person’s parents agreed to pay their realtor for his help for $4,500. Later, he disappeared and stopped answering the couple’s calls. The realtor turned out to be running a scam and tried to actually charge the family $20,000. While they dodged the charge, it was surely scary.
Speaking to a Manager
This person wasn’t scammed themselves but they played witness to a scam on a Best Buy customer. The moral of the story is to never try to directly purchase from an unreliable source.
When this customer jumped on Craigslist, they talked to a “Best Buy manager” who sold them a TV after they were given the information on gift cards. All the person had to do was pick up the TV in-store. It was a rude awakening when the staff had to tell her she’d been the victim of a scam.
Don’t Forget It!
Today, people are a lot more technologically literate. After all, the longer that technology is around, the more people will recognize it and use it more often.
In the early days, though, this person fell for a scam from a Best Buy employee. They convinced them that they needed to buy a $60 HDMI cord for the best graphics in the game. However, an HDMI cable is just a generic cord that doesn’t affect how good a movie or game looks.
In the United States, going to college is pretty expensive. That’s why there are programs like FAFSA to help students out by helping them pay for their schooling.
This person was waiting for their FAFSA money when they almost fell for a scam. They claimed to have their money and just need their account number. They gave it to the scammers but felt odd and closed the account immediately afterward. Later, they received their actual FAFSA money.
While there is a whole new generation of consoles coming out now, older consoles were just as well-awaited as the PS5 is today. For a time, this honor laid with the NES, revolutionary for its time.
It was suspicious enough when this person’s friend came to their house and offered to clean their NES. It became clear shortly afterward that there was something fishy going on. They noticed that when their friend went to the bathroom, they had tried to switch his and their NES!
Never Trust Mobile Games
Mobile games have become a hotbed for scams over the last few years. Apparently, this can include games you’ve never played as well!
This person was the victim of a rather confusing scam. The scam included an interesting set of charges to their bank account of 10 $100 micro-transactions. It was weird because they’d never played or downloaded the game that they were supposedly charged for. Even worse, this came with $600 in overdraft fees as well.
Too Good to be Free
This person fell for a two-part scam. The first part started when they received a call from the company that was actually just a scam.
The scammers told them that they just had to complete a survey and they’d get free gifts. So, this person filled out a survey and offered their address. The company continued to offer them a free trial for a magazine but they needed their card information. Unsurprisingly, they were charged immediately, overdrafting their account.
This scam is horrible but, we have to admit, it’s a pretty clever trick. It only serves as all the more reason that you should be careful when you’re talking to people you don’t know.
It’s particularly clever because the victim of the scam was the one selling a car. The buyer seemed very interested and even sent them a link to get a report on the car’s history. It was as they were putting their credit card information in that they realized the site was fake.
Using someone else’s computer can be nerve-wracking. Especially if it’s a fancier or more expensive computer, the last thing you want to do is make a mistake and damage it.
This person was using their husband’s laptop when they got a pop-up that there was something wrong with the computer. They called the provided number immediately, in a panic. When the “tech support” said they needed access to the computer to fix the problem, they realized it was a scam and hung up.
Making Flying Harder
Rather than an unofficial scammer, this person warns about the scam that Blue Panorama Airlines has. It’s an easy way for them to collect extra money by taking advantage of customers.
They require passengers to have their middle name on their boarding pass but don’t offer a field for it online. The solution? Passengers who ordered online have to pay 100 Euros to change it. If you already know about this scam, you can apparently enter your name online as “FirstMiddle Last.”
If demand for a game is high, you can’t guarantee that you’ll get a physical copy on the day of its release. This is why pre-ordering games is a popular choice to ensure that you have a copy.
This person was pre-ordering from GameStop when they realized the company had a bit of a scam. They had a $5 pre-order fee that would be taken out when they picked the game up. As the buyer pointed out, this probably wasn’t fair to kids.
The Birth of a Star
For children who are looking to break into Hollywood, there are plenty of scams that promise hopeful kids and parents fame. This can lead to some expensive interactions.
When this person was young, their mother paid for several months of service with a talent agent. What went wrong was that they signed up more people than they could handle. Shortly afterward, they went out of business and made off with the money parents had paid ahead of time that they never saw again.
A Classic Experience
This person shared that they were a victim of a semi-common scam a while back. To be fair, everyone makes mistakes when they’re 18.
They saw someone in a white van who claimed that they had delivered items to Best Buy and had leftovers. Since they were unneeded, he was selling them and even had a mock-up sheet for prices. After negotiating him down to $350, they realized that they were left with poor quality and broken items.
Don’t Be Too Trusting
This person had to watch their sweet coworker fall for a scam. They describe her as a “trust fund baby” who had plenty of money.
That’s why she probably didn’t question when she received a call trying to help her consolidate her bank accounts. She “set up a new account” and then promptly transferred her money into it – about $150,000. To be fair, she did call the bank before doing this and it turned out he was a bank employee running a scam!
This person was on vacation when their sister fell for a scam. Unfortunately, she used this person’s bank card to pay up for the scam.
The sister was housesitting for them when she received a call. The caller claimed that their sibling was about to be convicted of a crime and arrested unless they were paid $900. Unable to reach her vacationing sibling, she paid up in full with their card. They still get calls from the scammers!
Don’t Fall For It
This scam is particularly sad because it took advantage of this Reddit user’s generous grandmother. When she received a call, she answered by asking if this was her grandchild.
Starting the phone call with a generic “Grandma?” the scammer continued on. They claimed that they were a grandchild stranded in Mexico and needed $10,000. Worried they were in danger, this grandmother rushed to the bank. They stopped her and recommended she call her family and double-check, saving her from a scam.
Sleight of Hand
If there’s one thing that has worked for centuries for scam artists and thieves, it’s the benefit of learning some sleight of hand tricks. They can pull it off right under someone’s nose.
This person was working in a convenience store that handled money orders. The scam artist was trying to transfer a large amount of money and was $20 short. When they pointed it out, they handed the cash back and he added the $20. Later, they learned he had taken $500 out of the stack!
Another PlayStation Scam
Once again, this is another person who was on the wrong end of a gaming scam. They had saved up a long time to pay for this PlayStation 3 too.
When they found an affordable option, they were pleased and ironed out all the details with the seller. At the end of the negotiations, they gave them the money and sent them a picture of the package labeled for shipping. Sadly, the PlayStation 3 never came and they were out their hard-earned cash.
The site eBay has some pretty good deals but you have to be careful. Otherwise, you might stumble on something that’s too good to be true.
This person purchased an item but only received a small bag of candy as a token of appreciation. It also serves as proof to eBay that an item was shipped and received. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t say you didn’t receive your item but that it “wasn’t as described.”
All for the Job
When this person was looking for a job, they thought that they’d found a great choice. As part of the air traffic controller training, they were told they needed to take an aptitude test.
The test cost $200 to take in person and they were instructed not to talk to each other, for the sake of the test. Later on, they realized they hadn’t heard back and no one probably had either. With about 100 people taking the test, the scam probably made at least $20,000.
We all want to believe that we can’t go wrong when we’re performing good deeds. Unfortunately, a lot of scams take advantage of this goodwill for the scammer’s own purpose.
This person was on their daily commute when a woman came up to them asking for money. She said she needed this to buy train tickets for her and her kids. Not one to leave someone in need, they gave her money for one ticket. Unfortunately, they saw her using the same story the next day.
This person found themselves in a hard situation during which their mother was taken advantage of by a scammer. It all happened shortly after their dad was arrested.
One day, someone called claiming to be from the Navy. The mother believed it because the father had been in the Navy. They promised to bail her husband out if she bought a $300 ankle bracelet. So, she bought the bracelet and never heard back after the scam artist got what they wanted.
This person said they were witness to two major scams in their lifetime. We hope that since these events they’ve caught a bit of a break from scams.
The first scam was actually their mother falling for a false computer security phone number. As for the scam they fell for themselves, it wasn’t a traditional scam to steal their money. In a particularly rough scam, they found out that they’d been catfished by the person they were talking to.
Free Except for Shipping
We all want to give our friends the gifts they deserve, even if we don’t have the money to invest in a big gift. This person thought they found quite a deal when they were shopping around.
There was a company selling LED lamps shaped like elephants. The lamps were free but customers had to pay shipping costs. That’s exactly what this person did in the hopes of getting the lamp by their friend’s birthday. After a litany of excuses, the company just stopped contacting them altogether.
Just Some Gas Money
No one wants to be punished for their altruism. Yet, it’s a scam that this person fell for before realizing that the person who scammed them seemed a little suspicious.
One day, someone asked them for gas money to get to an important job interview. They obliged but realized over time that this was a repeating pattern. Eventually, he tried to scam the person again at which point they confronted him. He wasn’t seen at that gas station again.
Lending to Family is Hard
Sometimes, scammers aren’t playing a long con or even trying to deceive you. However, if they take your money and you don’t ever see anything in return, you’re probably a little upset.
This person stayed short and sweet in their explanation of the event. They shared that their mom needed money and they were happy to loan it with the circumstance of her paying it back later. They said the moral of the story is that you probably shouldn’t lend money to family members.
Identity Theft Crisis
It’s age-old advice not to give out too much personal, identifying situation away to someone. Yet, in the modern era, people sometimes forget or get wrapped up in a moment.
This person was desperate for a job when they were offered one. They did their research and, on the surface, everything looked fine so they sent some information. Later, they got a bit suspicious and dug deeper. They realized they’d just handed out their license and passport information for a non-existent company.
No one wants to go through an ugly breakup. Most of the time, we want to believe that there wouldn’t be a significant amount of bad blood between two former partners.
In reality, breakups can get really messy. For this person, their breakup meant avoiding an ugly scam as their ex-girlfriend tried to completely empty their bank account. She was narrowly stopped and the issue even briefly became a legal matter when the police were called, although she got out of it.
This is Just Sad
Sometimes, scams aren’t necessarily for huge sums of money. Sometimes, they’re just ill-hearted attempts to ruin someone else’s day.
When this Reddit user was young, they enjoyed playing Club Penguin. They tried to trade accounts with someone once and found themselves with no account at all! The person they traded with gave them a fake password but, by the time they’d realized, they’d already lost their account. In the end, they were left crying while the other person successfully snatched their game.
One of the best ways to avoid a scam is to carefully research who you’re working with. That’s why this person was so trusting of who they were buying from since they were a 99%-rated seller.
They order a PlayStation 4 from them when it first came out, paying $550. After a while, they realized that this PlayStation simply wasn’t on its way to them and they were out $550. How? They just sold cheap wires to quickly and easily build a good rating to look trustworthy.
Busted for a Scam
When you’re buying tickets to an event online, there’s a risk relating to not buying them directly. Third parties could end up in a scam story like this one.
This person was trying to see the Knicks when they were sold fake tickets. Understandably upset at the $300 loss, she went to the police with the matter. They said they would be able to bust the scammer if she set up another sale. She did so and they busted him for his scam upon pickup.
The Quick Swap
There’s nothing worse than getting scammed on someone else’s behalf. Many people have to worry about their jobs when they’re a victim of a scam at work.
This person shared their story when a woman asked for two $10 bills in exchange for a $20. After a moment, they said that they were given a one-dollar bill and handed it back. With an apology, this person handed them another $20. Later, they realized the woman was lying and had made off with $40.
Multi-Level Marketing Scams
If there’s one thing that’s coming up more often as a definite scam, it’s multi-level marking (MLM) programs. Increasingly often, they’re called out for suspicious activities.
This person was called for a job interview only to walk into a conference for an MLM. They stayed for a while but eventually tried to walk out. When they further declined to join or spending money on the project, they were bullied for their refusal. Good for this person for avoiding the scam!
Not Free Parking
Tourists should be particularly careful of scams. After all, they aren’t as familiar with local deals that could save them money on their efforts.
This person and their dad visited Austin, Texas. While they were, they wanted to see the bats leave their cave that evening. When they got to a parking lot, someone came up and told them it was $7. They obliged but later realized that the chair they had been waiting for people in was blocking a “free parking” sign.
Wicked Role Models
It’s bad enough to scam an adult but it’s even worse to scam a child. This scam even including hacking the Twitter of a Disney star and tweeted a link to an IQ test.
The result? Kids like this person, who was 11 at the time, clicked the link and took the test. To get the results, they needed a credit card number and they used their parents. They learned about it afterward and had to admit everything to their parents.
Sometimes a scam artist scams you and other times it blows up in their face. This story occurred in a Rocket League game that any gamer knows can host quite a few trolls.
This person was trying to legitimately trade their in-game items with another player. The troll was being particularly difficult in continuously canceled the trade. Finally, they didn’t cancel quickly enough and surrendered their whole inventory to the person. The result? About $150 worth of in-game purchases for free!
What a Good Boyfriend
We all have gotten into situations in relationships that haven’t worked out well. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s more than an argument and it’s an outright scam.
This person was in a relationship with a man who steadily asked for more money. It started small in asking for grocery money but quickly built into expensive endeavors. As it turned out, he was a pretty well-known scam artist that had already caught the attention of the police.