It’s a strange thing being robbed. You don’t expect it, think other people are nuts, and they must be doing something wrong when it happens to them.
That would never happen to me! …you’d say.
I know, because that’s exactly how I’ve always felt. I’ve always been a bit paranoid, careful, and aware of my surroundings. I’ve been in some awkward situations, and spending significant time in Los Angeles teaches you to always have one eye looking over your shoulder.
The worst way I’ve ever been violated in the past was having my car broken into outside my apartment, and having some cd’s stolen. And even that was in the late 90′s. So long ago it’s nothing more than a memory.
I had heard the bad things about the pickpockets in Barcelona, and I listened to them repeated when we were there at the show. The warnings about carrying things in your front pockets only, keeping your hands in your pockets to secure them there, all that stuff. I’m paranoid, careful, and aware of my surroundings, remember?
It’s a shame, Barcelona, that the most outstanding memory I have of visiting your city is being nearly robbed, and beating a woman, as accidental in nature as it was (some would say “deserved”). So what you’re about to read is my account of what happened.
After a great day at the show, a hot shower, and a change of clothes, the team and I headed to dinner at a fantastic Italian joint in The W. We were joined at the last minute by a couple of others and had a nice group for dinner. A good time was had by all. After this, we attended #vBacon in the lounge, also at The W, and again, a good time was had by all.
However, the premier event of the night was the always-fantastic and memorable Veeam party, to be held at the Shoko Barcelona. So after vBacon, we hopped in cabs and headed out.
The party was fantastic. Open bar, great Euro house music, and lots of people dancing and having a blast. This went on for several hours. Lots of community folks I’ve known for years now just having a good time and enjoying themselves.
Later, I met back up in the club with a guy who is becoming my partner-in-crime at these shows, Patrick Redknap, and as the bar was closing down, we walked outside to go to the taxi line.
Almost immediately, I had a “lady of the night” on each side of me, rubbing all over me, quite literally, to the point I was uncomfortable, and threw my hands up in the air, so as not to touch them, and started to speed-walk away.
What came next happened so fast, literally a second or less, that the full gravity of the situation didn’t really hit me until a couple of hours later when I had sobered up.
I felt it.
<self> “Hey that’s my back pocket…”
I felt the back pocket that I had snapped closed earlier pop open, and in one smooth motion, my wallet was coming out of my pocket. I swirled around, as if to swat an annoying mosquito away, but with a balled fist. Not intending to “strike” anyone, my closed fist naturally connected with the side of her face, and just from the sheer force of how fast I had spun around, I hit her so hard it took her off her feet and knocked her to the ground.
Laying next to her on the ground, was my wallet. She had done it. In a matter of 5 seconds or so, she and her companion [read: co-conspirator] had successfully removed my wallet from my back pocket, behind a snapped closed pocket, and underneath the tail of an untucked shirt.
As I reached down for my wallet on the ground, I noticed she was STILL reaching for it. When I had it back in my hand, she scrambled up and ran off. In sheer rage of what had just happened, I began to chase her down, but realized that with a bum knee, I wasn’t going to gain any ground. She was gone, and likely on to her next victim.
I contemplated trying to alert the police, but in my inebriated state, all I wanted to do was get in a cab and go back to my hotel.
I didn’t sleep much that night. I called and talked to my best friend in the States for a couple of hours explaining the situation to him, even breaking down at one point over the guilt. Funny enough, the thing that bothered me the most was that I had done something I was raised to never do, have physically beaten a guy FOR doing, and told myself I would never do.
I had struck a woman. It was very hard for me to cope with this. Even though I received encouraging support from many friends, it still kept me up most of the night.
“She deserved it.”
“She got what she had coming.”
“Dumb bitch shouldn’t have been stealing.”
The next morning, after only napping for an hour or so, I awoke to a swollen and bruised hand.
<self> “Holy shit, dude, you must have really clocked her!”
This didn’t help me cope at all. So many emotions went through me. How desperate must a person be to willingly rob a person in the open public like that? I began to feel sorry for her, and, in turn, even more guilty. I’ve always given to charities, and if I have loose change or a spare smoke, I’ll hand it out when the mood strikes me. Had she only asked, I probably would have handed her one of the $20 bills in my wallet.
I eventually came to terms with it, composed myself, and went back to the show the next day, only to be asked a million times, “OMG DUDE! WHAT HAPPENED?!” This too did not help with letting it slip away into a faded memory, but it was nice to know people cared and were concerned.
So to all of you that reached out in any way, thank you. For those of you that didn’t hear the whole story, now you know. :)
@Storagezilla gave me some really good advice that I will follow from now on. I will never travel abroad without locking my passport and at least one debit/credit card in the hotel room safe. Even if everything else gets taken, I can still get home.
I couldn’t wait to leave Barcelona and get home. Shame on you, Barcelona, for allowing your beautiful city to get SO bad that the reputation that precedes you is the prevalence of pickpockets.
Moral of the story? It could happen to you. No, seriously. It even happened to the paranoid, careful, and aware of his surroundings guy.