THIS week I witnessed a particularly nasty robbery. Although, in itself it was a traumatic experience, it was my reaction to the event that somewhat disturbed me.
I had been to the airport to meet some friends arriving from the UK. They subsequently accompanied me to the car, which I had left in the multi storey car park. As we transferred their luggage, I suddenly heard hysterical screams for ‘help’ and ‘policia’ issuing from somewhere across the rows of parked vehicles.
I quickly ran out into the salida ‘exit’ route where, some 30 meters away, I observed two young women locked in a violent tug of war with an unsavory looking individual attempting to drag from their grasp a large handbag. Without a thought, I immediately began to run full pelt toward the confrontation. As I did so, a car slewed around the corner and, narrowly missing me, sped forward and screeched to a halt beside the struggling trio.
The passenger door flung open and I realized this was no heroic rescue attempt, but indeed a fellow mugger.
At this point, in my headlong flight toward the melee, to my shame, I hesitated. Suddenly I was confronted with an unknown entity that could possibly cost my life. Thoughts of knives, ‘have a go’ deaths, my own responsibilities and fitness all flashed across my mind and my momentum slowed. Had I kept up my initial speed, I could certainly have reached the melee in time to launch myself into the fray.
In my younger days, I would have done exactly that. As it was I pulled up almost to a halt. At this point the aggressor managed to extract the handbag and jump into the car – but it wasn’t over. Somehow the frantic woman was now hanging on to the still open door!
As the car attempted to speed off, she was being dragged along the ground and at any moment could have been under the wheels. It was horrific, like a movie. I was now totally rooted to the spot, unable to do anything. The car stopped, jerked forward, stopped and sped forward again till finally this extremely spunky young woman lost her grip and fell to the ground. The car then screeched away.
Once again galvanized into action I rushed forward and helped her to her feet. Luckily, apart from a few abrasions, she was unhurt. Her friend, who had tried to run after the car, also returned without injury.
I made sure both of the women were reasonably okay and that the police had been called. Returning to my somewhat bewildered friends I then left the scene. I am now ridden with the guilt that I could have done more. Did I make the right decisions or were my actions those of a coward? I’m all ears.
Keep the faith.