I Tried to Buy a Ford Escape and Stumbled Into an Underground Operation

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A family is shown in front of a house with a helicopter overhead after someone searched for a used Ford Escape for sale.

I was recently shopping around for a used Ford Escape for sale. My friend had warned me that today there are a lot of “code words” people put in listings for all sorts of products for sale and services for hire. I already knew some of these code words. For example, when someone hires a construction company for a “wet job,” they’re asking them to assassinate someone. In the drug world, when someone is “babysitting the kids,” it means they’re watching a large supply of, well, supply. But when I started shopping for my Ford Escape, I did not know that the words “I’d like a Ford Escape” had their own meaning in the underworld of criminal activity. At least, I didn’t know, until I did.

I met up with the seller at their home. I didn’t go inside – I’m no dummy – but we agreed they would just be waiting in the driveway with their vehicle. When I got there, their driveway was empty. There was no car in sight. But the seller was there, looking very nervous. I approached and asked where the Escape was. They said, “It’s on its way. They just had to do another run.” I thought that was a weird way to describe a test drive, but whatever. While we waited, the seller pulled out a rack of wigs and asked which one I’d feel most comfortable with. I said I really wasn’t in the market for any wigs and just really wanted to see the Escape. They said, “Everybody who gets the Escape needs to change up their look, so pick a wig.” I found this a very weird and pushy upsell, but fine, I chose a short blonde bob wig.

Next the seller asked me, “So, what do you want to do for a living?” I was confused. I’m a full-grown adult and I already have a profession. I told them that I’m already a CPA and have no plans of doing something else. They said, “You’re really not understanding this. You have to leave your old identity behind if you’re going to buy the Escape. I see you as a hair dresser. You’ll be a hair dresser.”

Did I ask for a side order of career coaching with my Ford Escape? I don’t think so. I started to feel uncomfortable and told them I was going to leave. “There’s no going back now. I’ve already called my guys. We have a helicopter waiting for you, and your new accommodations.” Okay, literally what wais going on at this point? Then the person explained to me that it was important that I didn’t say goodbye to anyone, or tell them where I was going. “To buy a car?” I asked.

At that moment, somebody did pull up in a Ford Escape. They hopped out, and asked if I’d like to see the trunk. At this point, I just had to know what was happening. I was curious. In the trunk, they showed me a briefcase full of passports. The picture in each one looked a bit like me, which was so creepy. “Which one do you want?” they asked. The first person held the passports, one after another, next to my face, as the two people picked one out for me. “I don’t need a passport!” I exclaimed. “I just want to buy a car!”

Then the two people looked at each other confused. Shock came over their faces. “Wait,” one asked. “Are you really just trying to buy the car?” “Yes!” I said. “Oh. It’s not for sale,” they said.

I was so frustrated, but I got in my car and drove off. Later I learned that “I want to buy a Ford Escape” is lingo for hiring people who help you disappear and take on a new identity. It’s about that kind of Escape. It teally makes you wonder what happens when you try to buy a Nissan LEAF online. Maybe I’ll give it a try. But I think I’ll skip the Jeep Gladiator, just to be safe.

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