If you haven’t read the first part of the story, please click here...
So, by now, the trolley congestion had lessened somewhat, so we huddled together as a family and tried to sort through the last 15 minutes and what had occurred. I kept saying to Brad how I couldn’t believe this had happened as I had been holding on to my purse the entire time. It was strapped across the front of my body and there is no way someone could have reached inside to grab my coin purse.
Then, like an exclamation point, a pen fell to the ground from my purse…as I was holding the top.
The method of choice, as we have been warned, oftentimes is to slice the backpack or purse straps in order to grab the contents. That is the reason you wear the backpack backwards and put your purse across the front of your body…an extra precaution to further protect your belongings in order to minimize the risk.
We hopped off downtown, no longer excited to get my desired coffee, (Brad probably only had a $20 in his pocket and goodness knows we would have needed smaller change for my cup of bliss but didn’t have it now!) so instead decided to trolley back home and report our losses. My purse had contained at least one credit card, but I needed to check a few things back at our apartment to see what else I did and didn’t have along. One coin purse of two was removed from my purse, and we knew, at this point that in addition to my credit card, I also had been carrying a copy of my passport, about $30-$35 in cash (including my massive, horded amount of change!), and my coveted driver’s license that I had just received about 3 weeks earlier. At this point, I was more angry about losing all my accumulated change and having to figure out what to do about my lost driver’s license that I wasn’t even shook up – I was just plain mad. There was no way I wanted to go back and sit at the Ecuadorian version of the DMV sooner than one year from my license expiration date! And, Christmas was coming so I knew it was going to be hard to get this all resolved. Angry. Frustrated…not even necessarily at the perpetrators. Just that it had happened despite our diligence.
Because, you see, we thought we had been diligent. We thought we had been aware. We thought we had been on guard. As we further discussed the incident, it was amazing how we were able to see this all unfold – in retrospect. If only Brad, the kids, and I could have conferred about what we had seen on the trolley just a bit earlier, we would have been more acutely aware of being targets. I saw certain things, Brad saw other things, and putting them all together, we had the whole picture.
When we first made the decision to take the specific trolley, creepy guy and balance by supernatural powers older woman raced to follow us in the front doors rather than just boarding at the middle doors they had previously been standing by. Brad saw that they had let three trolleys go by, just like us, and then quickly adjusted and followed us when we decided to board. The creepy guy was actually the decoy in this case. All of our attention was on him because he was staying close to Brad and Jacob, so we naturally assumed he was interested in the backpack, making Brad and Jacob on guard for watching and protecting the contents. The woman separated Tessa and I from Brad. I hadn’t even realized that she was with creepy guy. She utilized my helpful nature by positioning herself next to me and I continued to try and assist her with finding a handrail and a place to hold on to. She had a large jacket tied around her waist with a large bag slung (similar to mine) across her front. Her hands never appeared the entire time we were near her. I felt pulling and tugging a few times on my purse, but assumed it was from people being up next to me and not from the dance that this woman and I were engaged in. Again, I had my hand on top of my purse, clutching it closed, the entire time. I was not suspicious of her at all, being more concerned about Brad since the creepy guy was by him. Brad’s instinct, even though he didn’t know anything had happened, was to follow them off the trolley due to their quick departure. I was close enough to her that I could pick her out of a lineup, that was how many times I made eye contact and tried to be of assistance. Oh, yeah, I helped her plenty…$30-$35 worth, for sure.
We got back home and started making calls. Thankfully, I did only have one credit card in my purse and we were able to contact the AAI Business director to assist us with canceling our credit card. We were thankful to be able to email with the security adviser of our school regarding my lost license and passport copy and be assured that the passport copy was a minimal identity risk. I investigated the cost and time of getting a replacement license: no break in the fee for obtaining a new one…plan to proceed to the nearest line and start waiting…Ugh. I already had begun to dread what the next week was going to look like to resolve these inconveniences. We combed through our materials making sure there was nothing else of vital importance to take care of, and rejoiced that I hadn’t been carrying my camera or my tablet in my purse as well.
At this point, short of being just plain mad about the whole deal and feeling like somehow, someway, we should have been able to avoid this even though we did feel like we had been on our guard, we were so thankful that no one had been hurt. We hadn’t been held at gunpoint or knife point like other friends of ours had experienced. Our financial losses had been minimal in the big picture, and, short of the inconvenience of getting a new credit card at Christmas time and replacing my license, we escaped the whole ordeal with little distress, all in all.
But, come to find out, it wasn’t completely over. There was still more to add to the story…
Stay tuned for the final installment: The Rendezvous!