Who's the Worst Roommate of the Millennium?
This story was the winner of
"Worst Roommate Story of the Millenium" contest.
To see all the entries (if you dare!)
Never trust a person who always smiles - especially
if you've got good credit
As I sit at my computer, attempting to put into words an event
that at one point left me speechless, a satisfying sense of
retribution comes over me, for at this very moment, my EX - and
I stress EX - roommate is sitting in a jail cell, and I helped
put her there.
It all started a little over a year ago. I had just graduated
from college and needed a part time job while I looked for what
I termed a "real" job. I ended up hostessing at a restaurant,
and that's where I met her. Her name was "Jane". She was the all
American girl - blond hair, blue eyes. She came across as the most
upstanding, trustworthy person you could ever find. She had the
voice of Minnie Mouse and was always in a good mood (No. 1 clue
that she could not be trusted). In time, Jane and I formed a
friendship. We clicked instantly and became closer and closer
with ease - with too much ease some of my friends would tell me
later. But I thought nothing of it other than how lucky I was
to meet her.
When we first met, I lived with my folks, but wanted desperately
to move out. Unfortunately, I opted for the shiny new car after
graduation rather than thinking about affording rent. Jane, however,
had a solution. She had lived by herself for months in her father's
condo and was looking for a roommate - a roommate that she trusted (an
ironic statement in light of what was to come). I would only have to
pay $300 rent and I'd have my own room and bathroom. What a deal!!
By March, I was all moved in. Little did I know that in less than four
months, I would find myself sitting in my old room at my mother's
house once again, wondering what in the heck had just happened. Things
on the surface appeared to be fine in my new home. I worked all day,
and Jane went to school and worked from time to time at night. We
never fought, as female roommates often do, and rarely had any
conflicting interests. I had met her parents, and I knew her friends.
It was perfect… too perfect.
While I lived with Jane, I always noticed that she seemed to spend
a lot of money. She always had her hair and nails done, and she took
trips quite often. Remembering how I struggled through college with
part time jobs that didn't pay enough to eat out at Taco Bell let alone
travel out of state every other weekend, I thought it was strange that
she was able to live so well with only a hostessing job. I explained my
doubts away, however, by figuring that either her parents were helping
her or she had financial aid. I later learned that I was close on both
accounts - only, I was the one helping her and my credit was her financial
Late one June night, I called American Express to check on my application
for a credit card. Still trying to get out of debt, I grabbed at any
opportunity to get a low APR. Strangely, they informed me that I already
had an account with American Express and that it had a $3,000 balance.
"That's impossible," I told the faceless customer service agent, who went
on to specify that I was the PRIMARY account holder. 'Primary account
holder?' I thought. 'Well, who is the secondary?' "Does the name
Jane ------- sound familiar to you?"
I couldn't believe it. In fact, I didn't believe it. Jane was my friend.
American Express had made some kind - any kind - of mistake.
I woke Jane up and told her what was going on. She looked shocked (she
should have been an actress) and informed me that she had an account of
her own with American Express ever since January. We agreed that someone,
somewhere made an error and that we would get it straightened out the next
The next morning, I spent hours on the phone with American Express pleading
with every person willing to talk to me. I was certain they had made the
mistake. No one would believe me, though. They only asked me again and again,
"How well do you know your roommate?" Finally, I got in touch with a woman
working in new accounts. She told me that the account had been applied for
over the Internet in May and there was no record of a Jane ------- prior to
that date. I asked her to fax me a copy of the application so I could at
least see from where this account originated.
You know the expression "jaw dropping"? It's kind of strange when you find
yourself actually reading something that literally makes your jaw drop.
There was my name, my social security number and my and Jane's address.
The name of my work was correct, but that was about it. Every phone number
was bogus, and my salary was inflated quite a bit. And there, at the bottom
of the page, was her name.
I didn't know what to do! 'This could not be happening. This isn't happening,'
I said to myself. But it was. On top of the American Express account, there
were uncountable inquiries into my credit history made by various credit card
companies. She had been applying for credit cards almost daily since I had
moved in using my social security number!!
I still didn't want to believe it. Jane was my friend. She wouldn't do
anything like this!
I hate being wrong.
That night, after I let her dig herself into an even deeper hole for a few
minutes, I confronted her. She told me that she had tried to fix things with
American Express and that they were "completely rude" to her. She denied making
ny of the charges on this mystery account and that her account (which never
existed) had only $1,500 in balance transfers.
I couldn't take it anymore so I showed her the application and calmly asked her
to explain it. Her face and voice remained composed, but her hands began to
shake. She told me that she couldn't explain it and that she didn't know what
to say. She pleaded with me to believe that she could never do something like
this to me. We agreed that we would talk about it the next day, and she left
for work. That was the last time I saw her - other than her mug shot.
The next day I decided to get a list of the purchases made on the account.
Part of me hoped that Jane couldn't have made any of the charges, proving
that it wasn't her. No such luck. Almost every charge could be linked
directly to her - plane tickets she bought, hotels where she stayed. I was
floored. I was also pissed off, and somewhat scared. First, I raced to the
police station to make a report. Second, I moved out - FAST! I was out of there
(with the help of most of my family) in less than two hours. I only heard from
Jane once after that. She called the next day to say she was surprised that I
had moved out. I actually think that she was a little more scared than surprised.
Two weeks ago, Jane was arrested for credit card fraud. Since then, she has been
sitting in jail, I assume, trying to figure out how she is going to spend the
next few years of her life. See, Jane was on probation for forgery when I met
her - another one of her secrets. Because of this, the state is going to go
after her. They offered her a deal - plead guilty to the credit card fraud
charges (a class 5 felony with a mandatory two year sentence) and they will
forget the probation violation (a mandatory three year sentence). Or go to trial
and be found guilty of it all. Two years versus five... I think she will take
I now live with my mother once again and am planning to buy a place of my own
within the next year. When I think back on my experience, it all feels very
surreal to me, like a television movie of the week. Definitely not something
that actually happened to me only three months ago. Part of me feels badly for
Jane. Her Minnie Mouse voice isn't going to fare too well in prison, but she
knew what she was doing.
I never got angry about the whole situation. I think that I'm still in shock.
I've been lied to before... we all have. But to be absolutely blindsided with no
way to see it coming, it really affects your ability to trust. Ultimately, I
don't know which was worse - that she ruined my credit or that she had acted
like my friend in order to do it.