We all get junk calls, and most people hang up on them. But one of these unbridled phone scams led to an unexpected friendship.
Stephen Era Adams, who owns an insurance agency in Central Louisiana, answers his phone regularly – even anonymous calls because it’s only part of the business. In 2016, he received a call that moved him unexpectedly. He heard a pain that he knew very well.
“Something in this young man’s voice, I felt as if I could hear him on the phone, was a broken man,” Adams told CBS Morning’s national correspondent David Begnad.
The man on the other side was in a call center in Ghana, Africa. He asked Adams to buy a gift card.
“I told him, ‘What you’re doing right now is a hoax. You know, you’re targeting older Americans, and that’s not true,” Adams said. “And I said, ‘Call me when you get off.’
The man called her back.
Adams said, “He never asked me for money again. No, he didn’t. He asked me for mosquito nets, malaria medicine, education.”
The man was Prince Anderson, from a small village in Ghana. As the eldest son of the family, he was responsible for caring for his ailing mother after the death of his father and supporting his younger brother through school.
It’s been five years since Adams and Anderson first talked and they’re still in touch via FaceTime.
Anderson said, “The kind of love he showed me, the things he sent me, the money, and the care and love for my mother and everything – the love he showed me, it’s so much more.” Anderson said.
Adams, a 41-year-old father of two, said he sees himself as the father of 25-year-old Anderson.
“I told him to leave the call center, and he never went back because he knew what was going on,” Adams said. “Some people working there, I found out what’s going on. His next job after leaving the call center, he was washing windows at the airport.”
Anderson now works for a private security company in the Ghanaian capital.
At one point, his brother, Isaac, received a scholarship to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he had just begun his new year. When the dormitory closed for the winter holidays, Adams invited Anderson’s younger brother to spend Christmas with his family in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Isaac Anderson said, “I see him as my dad, of course, the kind of thing he’s doing for me, caring and all that.
They may sound like an unexpected family, but Adams says he initially learned about the enduring power of kindness from strangers as a boy. He was born to young parents and says his childhood was tumultuous, with abuse, abandonment and poverty.
After a brief stint in foster care, Adams was raised by his grandmother and grandfather – a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, who he says developed a deep love for the country. Due to which he was able to serve his own country.
“I think about it when I was younger, the different random people who helped me. Give me some extra food to bring home, “Adams said.
He said he wanted to be trustworthy to others because they were trustworthy when he needed them.
“You never know who you’re going to be able to help. If you’re just open to that,” Adams said. “We are our brother’s guardians. It is our responsibility to make sure that, you know, our neighbors take care of our children, our families. And if we all do that for each other, So we’ll be fine. I wonder what? The world is gone, love. ”
The FTC has tips on how to detect and report phone scams. Read more here.