It’s not good to write when you’re nervous, but if I don’t write now, when I blow fire, I don’t think you’d understand my anger!
Three Romanians stole my money in the subway in Paris!
From this sentence, what hurts me the most is the part about the “3 Romanians”, not that they “stole my money”. If, being officially warned in every metro station to be careful and watch out for thieves, I didn’t put my money in… my ass to be sure that no one can steal it from me, that’s it, I admit my fault.
But I am so angry, distraught, disappointed that some Romanians did it, that I feel like cursing using the most unorthodox words!!!
I came to Paris with an 84-year-old woman who was dying to take the Romanian flag with her, who always wore a tri-color bow on her chest, who said, whenever we entered into small dialogues with someone: “we’re from Romania, Romania”. She is my mother. She always says, proudly, that she is Romanian.
BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS
You can blame me, but tonight, I lost all pride in being Romanian!
I was pick-pocketed by 3 Romanians, talking to my mother in the nicest way possible, being excessively kind – this is where I started to have suspicions – and “making room” for us in the super-crowded subway.
It’s stupid what I say, but at least for being from the same country, I thought that they will not pick-pocket us…
Besides the permanent care of my mother, I always took care of two things: my phone and my flat wallet with cards and cash – a kind of a port-card. I kept taking pictures with the phone, so I had it in my hand almost always, but the port-card didn’t find its place in the bermuda shorts. (Just so you know: on none of my trips have I ever put my documents and money in my backpack. Never! It’s like a rule!). I took a cheap purse, tied up around my waist, hidden under my long and large t-shirts. And this was the safest place for port-card.
This evening we went by boat on the Seine, in a quiet cruise. I took pictures, I sat on the deck without any worries, but I still checked the port-card in my purse from time to time, even though there was no one near us.
With the backpack on the back, we then went down to the subway to go to the hotel. I took out 2 metro tickets from the port-card in my purse, put it back and entered the station. I repeat, with the backpack on my back. I didn’t put it down for a moment.
The first subway train was full of people, it was impossible to get on. I said to keep calm and wait until the next one comes, after which we talked about various things.
Thinking back, I remembered I saw on the platform, while we were waiting, a small group of 2 boys in white t-shirts and with caps on their heads, and a girl. One of them was looking at me when I was trying to put my phone in the front pocket of my bermuda shorts. (Always, in cases like this, when it is crowded, I take extra measures.)
When the subway train came, all of a sudden the 3 guys were next to us, “candidates” to use the same door. To avoid the crowd, I took my mother and moved to the next door. I don’t know how, the two boys appeared right next to us, one of them acting as host, very kindly, saying in Romanian: “Come on, lady, get in”. My mother was overjoyed that someone who speaks Romanian facilitates her boarding the subway with such respect and, therefore, she couldn’t stop thanking him.
In the subway crowd, my mother and I were standing face to face. One of the boys was next to us, I could not see the other. I had already forgotten about the girl!
And suddenly… I realized something, mainly because of their behavior, but also because of the very strange look of that boy, who seemed to be “scanning” around.
I pulled my mother towards me and put my hand on her bag. The zipper was half opened! Maybe I was thinking wrongly, maybe I was right, I didn’t know. That’s why I preferred to make it clear to that citizen that he had nothing to take from her.
“Did you put your medicine in the bag?” – I asked my mother, somehow justifying myself for the fact that I was closing the zipper of her bag.
“Yes, of course” – she answered me, without understanding the point of the question.
“Well, make sure you don’t lose them. That’s all you have in your bag after all…”, I added stupidly, but I wanted to make sure that the right ears heard.
It didn’t even occur to me to check MY purse, which seemed well sheltered in the shadow of my belly, to make fun in spite of the trouble.
A seat was freed up and the guy did the “good guy” job again, facilitating our passage to the seat, after which he left. That was the moment when my suspicions took on new forms and I put my hand in the purse on my waist. While my mother didn’t stop thanking the, I was discovering that I no longer had my port-card!!!
My blood rushed to my head in a fraction of a second and I said sharply to my mother: “don’t thank them so much, they just stole me my purse!!!”
I went to the two boys, who were in the crowd of travelers, and I saw the “kind” one trying to operate on someone else, from under the black crossbody bag he was carrying.
“Give me back what you stole from me!!!” – I told him in anger.
He was startled, I think he wasn’t expecting it, plus I interrupted him while he was doing his “job”.
He started to comment, I got even more angry and, while I was talking to him, I was trying to think quickly if there was any way to stop him from getting off the train, an alarm button, something. (Anyway, the train was so crowded, that I couldn’t even reach the bar, let alone a panic button!)
I don’t know what the travelers who heard us arguing in an unknown language said, I could no longer see anyone around me. And it didn’t even occur to me to say at least in French or English that something had been stolen from me (maybe then someone would have jumped to help). I had a war with them like from one Romanian to another…
When they realized that I wasn’t letting it go, at the first station they rushed to get off the train. I put my hand on one and told him that I would go off with them too, to call the police. I don’t know how I managed to get my mother out of the subway train too, don’t ask me!
On the platform we continued the argument. Taking advantage of the fact that I had my backpack on my back and I had both hands free, I tried to photograph the one with the big mouth, but he fought back like a star caught by the paparazzi. The other one shows me the empty pockets of his sweatpants, but I told them that they couldn’t think I was so stupid as to imagine that they put my port-card in the first pocket.
I don’t know where the girl was until then, because she was not in my visual range.
So that you understand, in that port-card I had a bank card that could be blocked immediately, so they could not use it. I had a press card that I could redo. I had the key to the room. And cash, around 180-200 euros. So that was the damage. It’s just that I couldn’t stand the idea that they had stolen from me!!! “Ours”, so to say…
I also told them that they have nothing to do with my cards. I threatened them again with the police. There was no trace of a subway employee on the platform, damn! Let alone any police.
I wanted to take a picture of the person I was arguing with directly, but he hit my hand again. I tried to stop him from leaving, he told me not to touch him. I was so nervous, that I would have jumped into the fight, if I had any idea of how to do this…
All three hurried to the exit, I followed them! I told my mother to stay in the station and I went up the stairs with them. No employees, man, on the way. Where in God’s name were all those who, in other stations, are everywhere???
The dispute continued outside. “Come on, I’ll take your picture and give it to the police” – I continued with my tension skyrocketing, but I couldn’t do it at all, because he kept hitting my hand. “I’m calling the police” – I threatened, without even being able to press the keys, because I was shaking with nerves! And, anyway, I thought I’d call and what? Will the 3 wait nicely for the mounted police??
“I didn’t take anything from you, bitch!” – I hear the girl’s first reply, which made me go out of my mind. I had no expectation for us to be polite to each other, but I did not expect that either.
And here is the moment when I heard twice, at a very short distance: “Look again, because we didn’t take anything from you!”, “Just check, we didn’t take anything from you!”. You could say that they were inviting me to check my stuff and, for a moment, I had a flash of an idea, but I quickly eliminated the thought. No, it wasn’t possible… And my purse was as empty as a pauper’s purse.
“Now I’m calling the police!” – I told them again, while finally hitting the 112 keys.
In that moment, they simply run away! All 3 of them. No, they didn’t leave idly, ignoring the one who talks nonsense, they didn’t wait for the police to come and laugh at me for going crazy and blaming them, they simply ran away!
I was super nervous! In the meantime, my mother had climbed the stairs from the subway station and had also come out to the street.
I called the police, I told them that I was robbed in the subway, but, being put on hold to… I don’t know what that man said to me, I hung up quickly, calling where I thought it was more important to call immediately: at the bank, to block my card!
I swear I didn’t understand what the robot was saying, what I had to press, I was talking to my mother at the same time, who was scared, I could only hear on the phone that I called outside of the business hours. Fuck! I called again and managed to talk to a gentleman who blocked my card. Phew. I calmed down to a certain extent.
Well, I had neither cash nor a card. Returning to the subway, I saw an employee at the only counter in the station and I told her what had happened, without telling her my greatest pain – that my compatriots had done it…
“A lot have suffered the same…” – she told me. Here, especially in the summer, theft in the subway train is the rule, not an exception – she explained to me. (I admit, it has never happened to me.)
She registered the complaint. A theft, in another subway train was just being announced on her station. “You see, what was I telling you?…” She added that there are many policemen in plain clothes who travel in wagons. Only I wasn’t lucky enough to have one…
I won’t tell you how we got to the hotel, with special tickets received from the employee, with the subway line closed while we were between sections, with a non-existent taxi where we got off the subway, with a Uber that couldn’t find us…
The best is yet to come!
At the hotel, I started packing for the next day’s departure. I took my empty purse from my waist. I took off my backpack and turned everything over on the bed to rearrange the things.
I was actually stuck when my port-card caught my eye!
Yes, my port-card, completely unharmed, was lying among the other things spilled from the backpack!
It seemed unreal!!! And instantly I understood that my subconscious had guessed right: the fact that the three of them kept repeating to me “look, ckeck to see that we didn’t take anything from you!”, basically meant that they had put my port-card where they could reach – in one of the outer pockets of the backpack that I had on my back then!
I swear I don’t know when they did that. I think the girl is the key, because until she opened her mouth with “I didn’t take anything from you, bitch!”, she was not in my visual range. And I was with my backpack on my back, determinedly going after the guys and arguing with them.
What can I say now, when I have calmed down: thank you, bitch, for giving it back to me J
Such a twist can make those who don’t know me well say: “Mladin, you’re crazy, you lost your port-card, you don’t know where you put it and you’re blaming people”.
Ok, let’s accept the theory, for the sake of analysis, although I know 100% that I didn’t put the port-card in the backpack: I have a reflex formed in so many dozens of trips – that of putting the documents and money in a completely different place than the backpack. In addition, in the current situation, I physically couldn’t have put anything in my backpack, because I had my backpack on my back when I took my port-card out of my purse to get the two subway tickets.
But let’s accept the theory. In this case, however, I ask: why do 3 innocent people run away when I call the police? Why not stay to have an authority show me that I am just a crazy person, wrongly accusing them?…