FRANCE: Revenge

2 minute read

Young French Airman Jean-Louis Tournier, like a character out of Dumas, lived only for revenge—revenge for an indignity practiced upon him in a New York bar two years ago when a group of G.I.s got friendly with him, went along with him to his hotel room, and disappeared with all his possessions. Jean-Louis Tournier, having returned from his U.S. Air Force training, conceived a neat way to get even.

He began to haunt the bars of Montmartre searching for American soldiers. Finding one, he would strike up a conversation in excellent English. “In France,” he would say, “we consider the numbers 1 and 10 unlucky. I hope your hotel room bears a lucky number.” Falling into the trap, the G.I., like as not, would tell his room number. After that, it was nothing for Jean-Louis to pose as the G.I. over a telephone and order a room clerk to turn over his suitcases to a French friend, who would shortly call to pick them up. Jean-Louis would then collect the suitcases, drive to the river and dump them in. It pleased him to watch them float unopened downstream before sinking.

Last week, with the River Seine richer by more than 15 G.I. suitcases, the police finally caught up with Jean-Louis Tournier. “I never took anything for myself,” he explained proudly to his captors. “It was a simple case of revenge.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at