You Have A Lucky Face

I’d been walking back from a meeting in town when it suddenly began raining. I’m the type of person who packs an umbrella even at the slightest possibility of rain – in fact, at school my friends found it amusing how I always seemed to have an umbrella even in the middle of summer.

Lately though, I’d begun relying on a new weather app that provided very reliable hour-by-hour rain predictions to figure out what to wear in the morning – a sort of just-in-time clothing process – and today it told me the probability of rain was very low, hence no umbrella. And so here I was, sheltering underneath an awning waiting for the pedestrian lights to turn green, speaking to a guy who’d just been standing there.

I hadn’t noticed him at first; I was listening to a podcast of This American Life, the one about Father’s Day, and it took a while for me to realise he was actually trying to speak to me. The man was smartly dressed, wearing a dark suit jacket over an open-necked white shirt. He didn’t look like a weirdo, but you never know. I took one earbud out and turned towards him.

“You have a lucky face,” he said.

I laughed. “Thanks,” I said, thinking that he was just in a cheerful mood.

“You have a very lucky face,” he continued. “I can tell from your eyes and your mouth.”

“Hmm,” I said.

“But you look worried, you are frowning here,” he said, gesturing above my nose. “You should know that you will have good luck in the next three months, you will work hard but you will get what you are looking for.”

Ah, I thought, a fortune-teller. I glanced up at the lights; they were still red, and the rain was still coming down.

“Do you want to know why I think this? Let me tell you.” He slipped a red wallet made from leather out of his jacket and pulled out a few small bits of paper and a pen. He scribbed a few words on a scrap of paper, then crumpled it up into a little ball and gave it to me. “Don’t open it yet,” he said.

I took the paper and stuck it in my pocket.

“Okay, now pick a number from 1 to 9.”

Before I went to university, I thought I was interested in genetics and molecular biology. After precisely one lecture, I realised exactly how wrong I was and became determined to switch to something more stimulating, and I eventually found myself taking experimental psychology and neuroscience lectures. Many of them were highly reductionist or focusing on development or pathology, but some were at the cognitive level, and from them and from various textbooks I knew all about how humans reason and how poor we are at understanding logic and probability and causation.

They didn’t teach us specifically about magic, but it was clear that our limited capacity for attention and our ease of being misdirected was really the key to successful magicians. I once saw David Blaine perform a bit of magic at a TED conference. I was standing about one metre away from him when he did a fairly standard card trick on a guy he was close enough to touch, and then at the end gave the guy his watch back. We were all duly impressed; we had all been watching his hands intently, wanting to be the one person who was smart enough to see the trick, to figure out the ending. But he was too good.

“3,” I said, shrugging. He noted it down on a new piece of paper.

“Your favourite colour?”

The lights had turned green. This was the perfect opportunity to escape, but I wanted to see where this was going.

“Blue.” Why not?

“Your age?”

“Uh… 28.”

“How many brothers and sisters?”


“Brother or sister?”

“Brother.” He wrote down ‘B – 1’ at the bottom of his list.

“Okay.” He looked up. “And what do you want most? Good health, good life, good fortune, good love, good family?”

I laughed. What an absurd question. “All of them,” I said.

For the first time, he laughed as well. “You have to pick one.”

“Okay then… good family.” He wrote down ‘G – F’.

He asked me for his bit of paper he’d given me at the start. I pulled it out of my pocket and handed it over, and he waved it in front of his face at precise points, and gave it back to me. “Don’t open it,” he said again. Then he began talking about how the numbers all added up and how if you combined this and that, I would figure out my fortune.

I was starting to finally get worried. I figured that he’d be asking for money shortly, and things had gone on for long enough that it was already going to be embarrassing when I left. With the lights back to green again, I backed away and said that I had to go now.

“No no no no no, we haven’t finished yet!”

“Sorry,” I said lamely.

“But you haven’t opened the paper!” he protested.

“Sorry,” I repeated behind me.

Befitting my status as a former scientist and being an avid reader of all the science blogs and such, I’m intensely suspicious of superstition. I have no problem with black cats. I deliberately walk underneath ladders. I’m sure I’ve broken at least two mirrors. But walking away from this guy, I couldn’t help but think I’d somehow cursed myself by not letting him finish his shtick; it was surely a rude thing to do, no matter how (eventually) annoying he had become.

Of course, I opened the paper. Written on it was:

0 – 28
B -1
G -F

For about three seconds, I froze.

Firstly, I thought: Wow, could it be true? Did this guy actually figure this out? Have I been completely wrong about all of this my entire life?

Secondly: Obviously not. But what are the chances of him guessing? Still pretty high – certainly not high enough to get a decent hit rate.

Thirdly: Wait a second… he must have done a classic switcheroo while I wasn’t looking! This must be the same bit of paper he’d been writing my answers on, and when he was waving it around, he’d swapped them over.

Aha. I felt proud of myself at this piece of Sherlockian deduction, then slightly sad. It was a tremendously engrossing piece of street magic; certainly not that technically impressive, but no doubt more than good enough to fool the average passerby. I wondered how much money he made by doing this. I wondered what he would have told me next.

And I wondered whether this was his life, giving other people a glimpse ahead into their lives. Giving them a certainty, proven with written evidence and without any caveats or probabilities or qualifications, that things were going to get better. I looked down at the piece of paper again, thought about whether to throw it away or not, and kept on walking.

440 Replies to “You Have A Lucky Face”

  1. Same things happen to me last year 2018. and this guy call me suddenly and want me again. why he call again because for money or for good will.

  2. Checked in, found in Malaysia center of KL City. Named changed to “Sam” this time quite tall guy with his “senior”. But it’s okay. I assume he’s a messenger of God or something asked me to practice yoga. Claimed to be from Jakarta. And yeah he gave me a small “mala” beads to keep. Well, I just follow what he says and see how from now on. I was on my way for haircut but after I gave 80 bucks I couldn’t get a haircut until next month salary if you READ ME!

  3. Happened to encounter him with similar modus operandi. Named “Sam”. Next time I should learn to do “we-fie” for every transactions made with stranger.

    1. He’s now in Malaysia. I was going for haircut and well – he gave a dose of advice to let me at ease. 3 months from now let’s see what will happen. Good advice though. This is my 3rd encounter giving my money as contribution:

      1st was a person whom just out of jail, paid rm10.
      2nd was tourist from China who lost gambling from Genting, paid rm50.
      – There is one here where a family from Arab Saudi whose luggages got robbed, I skipped because I were in a rush.
      3rd was this yoga guru, gave advice to me and then, paid rm80.

  4. I think this could be the same guy who stopped me yesterday in Edinburgh. If not they are from the same school! His trick was to say ‘excuse me’ softly and when I turned round, marking myself I suppose, he began the spiel. He was very calming and made me feel good and kept touching his forehead in a mysterious esoteric way. He said I would have good fortune in the next few months, that he was from India and his name was Sagan and asked if I would remember should I have good fortune. He said I had two weaknesses: that I didn’t like cheating and that I didn’t like to disturb people. I happen to be a psychiatrist and was aware of and enjoying the general performance, so I agreed benignly that yes most people would feel like that and listened on. He put a piece of paper in my hand. He asked for my favourite colour. I said blue and of course that was on the paper to which I thought, fair play, it was confident and a decent enough trick. When he asked for money I dug out my coins, £2 which I thought was fair for a brief but decent street trick, but he said he wanted £10 and – suddenly unsettlingly – that he knew I had £10 in my pocket. As it happened I did, and despite this being a totally cold read he almost had me pulling it out – but luckily I was boundaried enough to remember to say no, he was getting £2 and thanks for stopping to say nice things. Then as I had some time on my hands I decided to follow him from a distance for a bit and watched him stop two other men with what looked like the same performance.

    I guess it depends whether you are willing to let the guy do his thing and pull a nice trick for a small payment of your choice. But don’t be bounced into giving him more than you want to – for me his attempts to do so crossed the line from entertainment to extortion of people (who by means of psychological techniques he has placed) in a vulnerable frame of mind, and made a nice encounter into really quite a nasty little act.

  5. I just met SAM in Dublin!!! He collared me getting out of my car in the city Centre! He told me he was a yogi and trying to bring his commune of 300 disabled children to Edinburgh! He had the neck to ask me for €100 and when I refused he demanded that I prove to him that I did not have it, luckily my wallet was empty I waved it in his face and he then demanded that I go to an ATM and get the money. Very well dressed, same wallet and small pieces of balled up paper as with everyone else’s description. Avoid him!!!!! He gets a bit heavy if you refuse him

  6. Just met this kind of guy in Dublin 1, near where I live. He approached me by randomly asking direction for the nearest Centra. Said his name was Krishna, that he could read my aura. He chatted a bit, then did the paper trick, and asked for money. Gave me a little rock and said he and other 13 people will pray for me.
    I believe there is a lot of these guys all around the world, scamming everyone. At least this one was not aggressive nor intrusive….

  7. Hi Fellow lucky faces / strong aura people. I met this guy whilst I was waiting for a friend near Marble Arch in London. I ended up giving him £100. You know, he was convincing and there’s a part of me that wanted to believe him. I’ve been having a tough time in my business and he said things will improve. Hope they do 🙂

    At the end of the day, it was a great conversation and I was wondering how he did it – I had a few ideas. Good to read these comments. I’ve spent £100 frivolously before on things much worse. He did want much more in the end but I didn’t give it to him

    Here is luck to everyone who has posted on here. WIshing you well and a happy, healthy life 🙂

  8. I came around this Indian man twice while working at my shop in Melrose. The second time around I was hesitant & told him from the start I had no money… he continued to talk to me… what was shocking to me was the names he gave me at the end. He gave me actual names! I am shocked. How is this possible?

  9. This article was written ten years ago.

    This guy/similar gentlemen also practiced the same thing on me. I went through the whole thing. Though I did not give money, I left with a bead with an Eye on it and a thought lingering in my head that what just happened was a very good trick and this couldn’t be true.

    Being the millennial I am, I went to google and did a quick search describing what happened.
    Here I am.
    Hello all you lucky faces, those with worry on your face, those confused with love and those who need to remove a certain someone from your life.

    Now, if I have given him money…. It was Supposed to go to some kids who needed help. Guess my heart wasn’t that good at that moment.

  10. Oh, my God – I’ve just googled my experience in Frankfurt – it happened 4 days ago. When I look through all the comments – I recognize a pattern. My partner and I met a similar gentleman – with a headgear like a Sikh – and he did all the described actions. I was astonished and gave him money for these children, that he said he helped.
    Although I was thinking that this is a trick – he convinced me, that he was talking the ‘thruth’, because he said something about the relationship regarding my partner and me. And it was hitting me as a hammer – how could he know? In a way, he did help me – because he made me focus on our problems – but – again – what a show.
    Thanks Adrian Hon for starting and sharing your experience – and thanks to all of you, that have contributed with your experiences.

  11. I had the same experience yesterday. He told me not to talk about it so I’m not going into details. Love to all you special people.

  12. Well well,
    He is now in Manhattan , mid town.
    Raj was the name and he could not have been more congenial.
    Yes he did take me for 100, but I actually felt good about it.
    He also gave me a phone number on WhatsApp .He said he had been in NY for a month and was leaving soon for India.
    I appreciated the Palm reading and also the lucky stone. If he’s a con artist, he’s the best I’ve seen.

  13. Yeah,
    Exact thing happened to me in Munich yesterday May 3
    The guys name was Aman.
    All this happened to us but can anyone tell how did we get the paper with everything we say in future was already written?

    1. Hi fellow lucky facers

      I met with a man in a dark blue turban telling me the same thing yesterday in Kota Damansara, Malaysia

      I just said Thank you and left.

  14. Hi
    Exactly same thing to me. He (Raj) got my number and start texting me. I saw him in Toronto and I paid him 200$.

  15. I just had this happen to me in Manhattan New York. Very pleasant Indian guy. He told me next month will be life changing for me. In fact it will be as I will be proposing to my partner. He also said I will be changing jobs soon which is true having had the same job for 30 years. So that was impressive.
    Then the same questions on colour, I wish I had said “Turquoise” to make it more difficult for him! I said blue and number 7 which he got right. Now he was writing all the answers down on a pad and I now wonder if it was going onto a small post it size note underneath that he switched. At one point he asked me to stick out my tongue. He also stood very close to me so I could not look down and see what he was doing with his hands.
    At one point he asked me to drop the piece of paper onto one of three countries he had drawn. He picked up the piece of paper so could have switched it then. I do not give money out easily and he asked for 200 300 or 400, he never said dollars. I gave him 20$ and he was disappointed but pleasant. He carried on with a few more crumpled paper tricks and a couple of comments like I need to be better at keeping secrets and not be so open as people can take advantage. Very true. I gave him another $20? The interesting thing was I was feeling bad and a bit mean for not giving him what he wanted. It was only after I walked away the feeling left me and I felt annoyed with myself for giving the second $20. I was impressed with him that he had managed to make me feel generous by my standards towards him. I did enjoy the experience and found it intriguing even if it was street magic.

  16. Ok, I had this happen to me tonight. Same kind of routine. The intriguing part is he had me hold the crumpled note. Asked my favorite color, how old I was, and how many children I had. Then asked me to open the note I had been holding, and the answers were all there.

    I don’t really understand. I’m pretty certain o was clenching that note the whole time. Maybe he hypnotized me a bit and was able to take it out of my hand without my knowing? I feel like that couldn’t be the case though.

    Now I’m just baffled.

  17. I live in Toronto and it’s still happening in 2022. He’s around Yorkville. He may try to say you have good Karma or you have a lucky face. Smile and walk on.

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