Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can you spot a thief?

A couple of months ago one of my students wrote how she averted a robbery by thwarting a thief.
She was on a busy bus and she said she saw a "thief" coming towards a handsome young man who 
looked like a fellow with money in his wallet. She was too frightened to warn the young man for fear
the thief would wreak revenge on her. So, she thought fast, hurried next to him and threw her arms
around his neck declaring out loud how much she loved him then whispered in his ear that a thief
was approaching him with the intent to take his wallet. Her outburst had a profound affect on the
thief who left the bus at the next stop. The young man thanked her for her quick thinking, kindness
and bravery.

I have wondered a few times since reading her account how she was able to recognize a thief on
a public bus like that. I've looked around several times and have no idea what I'm looking at in this
Chinese sea of humanity.

We were warned at our training sessions in Provo, Utah to be aware of such things and alter our
schedules so that our walks to and from school were not so predictable.

Last night it happened.

John was walking home from school and as he stood waiting for the light to change at a huge, busy
intersection a muscular, ruddy-looking man in his mid-to-late 20's approached him and offered to 
hold his heavy computer for him. John said, "No thank you." Actually, this is not uncommon on the
university staircases where students often offer to help us carry our roller bags up the stairs. But, this 
wasn't a student. The fellow asked again. And again, John said a little louder, No Thank You."
A third time the fellow asked to carry the computer bag for John, and again, even louder John
said, "NO THANK YOU." At that point the light changed and John crossed the street while the
would-be thief quickly walked on ahead. You see, he planned to run into the traffic carrying
John's computer so John couldn't chase after him while pulling his roller bag. 

John mentioned this incident to his class this morning and all the students knew exactly what
that thief was up to. Apparently, this is not  uncommon around foreigners.

I kind of wish I had been there so I could see what a thief looks like around here.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's difficult for Americans to spot a thief simply because of lifestyle. People in US(in general)don't take buses, trains, subways or do anything on daily basis that requires interaction with lots of other humans at the same time. But when you live in a country where interaction is not an option but a necessity, things change. And unfortunately some will try to take advantage of you. So learning the skills to avoid been stolen is essential. Being a good observer and having some experience is a good start to spot a thief! I do have quite a few stories myself...