It happened two years ago, on a beautiful Saturday night just past 8pm.
I was in a great mood, the week that just passed was full of good occurrences, and it was weekend. I made plans to go dancing with a friend of mine and agreed to pick her up at her house at 8pm that night. I spent the day at home doing some work, going to gym and watching a movie, and it got time for me to take a shower and get ready to go out.
All refreshed and dressed up to go partying, I got in my car and headed out to go pick up my friend. Traffic was pretty thin so I had no problems on the way, in fact I got there about 5 minutes early, and of course she wasn’t ready yet because she was still doing the final touches of her make-up and hair. I was totally relaxed so didn’t mind waiting. I didn’t feel like going inside so I decided to sit in my car on the sidewalk of the road in front of her house.
Now, up to this point in my life things had always gone pretty smoothly, and I had never come into contact with real violence or crime, and I pretty much had the impression that those kind of things only happen in movies or to some other unfortunate souls. It was almost like I believed that I was invincible, and I was very naive thinking that those things could never happen to me.
My friend didn’t live in a super bad neighbourhood, but it definitely was not the greatest. I did not see it as a real problem because I had been going there for the last two years without a problem. Back to the moment I was sitting in my car. I should probably mention that it was a new, white, shiny VW golf GTI that I had gotten in the beginning of the year and was really in love with. The car was switched off, hand-brake was up, gears in neutral, key in the ignition, and I was listening to the radio and playing with my phone. I wasn’t looking around since the street was empty and I had no idea that there was evil lurking around me.
Then all of a sudden I catch a glimpse of headlights from my rear-view mirror, I hear the engine from a car and BANG, I see this small lorry swerve straight into the front of my car. Immediately I was seriously angry, I thought this guy was drunk and that he just drove into my gorgeous car, and I was about to get out to tell him what I thought of him when the doors opened and 5 guys jumped out. I was still confused and kind of thinking “What the f*** is going on here”. Then one of them lifted their arm and pointed a shiny silver revolver at me from outside the car and I realised “Oh crap, I’m being Hijacked” as he told me to get out the car.
Strange thing is, I wasn’t scared at all, not even in the slightest. I didn’t even think about dying, but I was aware of the fact that i could get shot at any moment. There were multiple thoughts running through my head at light-speed. First thought was…”is that gun real?” because these men were tiny, some of them I think were under 18, and I was not scared to get into a fight with them if they did not have guns or knives or other weapons. I decided not to take the gamble if the gun was real and accepted the fact that he would probably kill me if I resisted so I just went along. My second thought which was linked to the first one was a calculation of how long it would take to start the car, shift into gear, remove the handbrake and drive off, but this would take at least 6-10 seconds which was time I did not have.
I concluded that it was best to give them what they wanted and hope they don’t do anything to me. I got out the car, one guy was screaming at me to give him the key, and I told him it was in the ignition. He screamed at me to give him my cell phone while another guy got in the car and started it. I handed him my cell phone and wallet, and watched the one guy race away with my car as the others got back in the lorry and sped off also.
So there I was standing, totally perplexed and confused as to what had just happened, in the middle of the street. For a while I was worried they would come back and do a drive-by shooting or something, so I jumped over my friends wall and banged on her door. It took her forever to answer and she thought I was joking when I told her my car had just been stolen.
The rest of the story is not as exciting and not the message that I want to share with you, but I will tell you briefly how it turned out. I was perfectly fine (no trauma or fear either, just angry that these idiots took my car), we went to the police station to report the incident and the next day my car was found in the rural townships with everything stolen out of it and no wheels. The interior wasn’t damaged though and they had driven a total of less than 100km with it. I was without my car for a few months as it was being repaired (good thing that I was insured, because the insurance covered it). When I got it back it was practically new again and I still have it until this day and still love my car .
The lessons I learnt from this whole experience and the lessons I want to share with you today are:
1- It is worth being insured for events like this.
2- You are not invincible, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or just a victim, bad things can happen to you.
3- In the event of lesson number 2 occurring, it is good to always have a plan. Where-ever you go, always be cautious, know where emergency exits are, be wary of unattended suitcases in crowded areas, shady characters that you might think are following you.
I heard a story from a guy who went to Asia and he was on a crowded airport, when a taxi driver came up to him and offered to take him to his hotel 30 miles away. This guy didn’t see a problem as it was a taxi driver so went with the man. The taxi driver ended up taking him to some dodgy neighbourhood, robbing him, stealing all his stuff and leaving him there. The guy found his way back and was okay, but he learnt his lesson not to trust strangers so quickly.
If something doesn’t quite feel right, go with your gut instinct. Subconciously you can pick up many things that you can’t quite clarify or explain.
4- Whenever you have to wait in your car outside or in a place you are not really familiar with, do not switch it off, leave the engine running, keep the car in gear, and be observant of what is going on around you and behind you. Do not position yourself so you can be wedged in easily and that you always have a chance to get away.
These are simple little things, and it is terrible that we have to take these precautions, but it is a big (and sometimes bad) world, and these little things may just save your life or increase your chances of getting away if something bad happens to you. I hope it never will!
Have a Rockin’ day