Fight or Flight

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What would you do?

I wanted to share with you all something that happened to me recently. While I was shopping in a grocery store close to my home, my wallet was stolen out of the front of my shopping cart. I turned my back to my cart to grab a packet of yeast, and I heard my keys jingle against the rails of the cart. I knew that was a sound that I should not have been hearing. I turned back around and I knew immediately that my wallet was gone.

I thought for a second that I just imagined it, or my wallet had fallen to the bottom of the cart, but then I looked up and saw an abandoned cart and a woman quickly heading in the direction of the exit. I started to walk toward her and as she neared another individual I thought for some reason that she would pass it off to her, but she just kept heading for the doors. By this point I had found my voice and yelled out, “HEY! She has my wallet! That’s my wallet!” hoping that someone would apprehend her before she was able to get outside. No such luck.

I caught up to her as she reached the outside doors, grasping for my wallet, when she jerked back and yelled at me, “What the f*ck are you doing?! You crazy b*tch! Get the f*ck off of me!” I was so surprised by her reaction that I stopped for a second. She headed toward her car while I charged after her all the while demanding, “GIVE ME BACK MY WALLET.” She continued to protest that it was her wallet and I was in fact, a crazy b*tch.

By the time we got to her car I caught up with her again. She opened the driver side door and attempted to put my wallet in her front seat underneath my wallet, as if I had forgotten it was there. I reached into her car, basically diving on top of her, until I could feel my wallet in my hands. I struggled for a beat with her before wrenching my wallet free. Then she started screaming, “That’s my wallet! What the f*ck are you doing?!” Wallet in hand, I had enough confidence left to yell at her, “Then why is my ID inside it?!”

At this point a few employees caught up to us and she started to pull away, muttering “b*tch” as she drove off. I didn’t think about it because I was in shock, but the kids who worked at the store got her license plate number down. As we headed back into the store more people began congregating around us. Everyone asking if I was okay and if we were able to get her license plate number. I could slowly feel myself returning to normal as the adrenaline rush subsided and I realized I was covered in a cold sweat. I rushed back to my shopping cart since I had left my phone in the basket in my haste to retrieve my wallet.

As I calmed down and finished my shopping, I could hear murmurs of what had happened ripple though the store. I don’t even think that the people who were talking about me realized that I was the person it had happened to and I could hear them. A few people congratulated me in the freezer section for my bravery and quick thinking. They attested that they would not have been able to chase her down like that and they were glad that I not only got my wallet back but we were able to get the license plate. After checking out, I made my way to my car to calm down some more and call the police.

The police showed up shortly thereafter, reassuring me that I did the right thing and should have maybe even thrown a punch in there for good measure. I decided to press charges even though a misdemeanor will mean that a fine will be the most aggressive punishment (you can steal $499.99 and it’s still a misdemeanor). For me, it was more about getting it on record so that if she is eventually caught maybe they will add up and hopefully she won’t be able to do this to someone who can’t chase her down.

I’m happy to say that I was contacted today and the individual was arrested. Turns out she has been doing this at several stores across the area and was using the credit cards to buy gift cards to then later pawn off. Hopefully with proof of these other instances she may do some jail time, but I doubt it. I’m glad that I was able to help give the police information that lead to her arrest, even if it doesn’t amount to anything.

It was interesting to listen to different reactions of friends and family as I recounted my adventure. Some thought that I didn’t have it in me and were impressed, others were proud that I didn’t just give up and scream at her helplessly. As we saw, if I had left it up to the employees of the store, my wallet would have been long gone. But I now know what I would do in a fight or flight situation, and I’m glad that I had the reaction that I did. Honestly it didn’t even cross my mind to react in a different way. She had my wallet and I was getting it back. Has your fight or flight ever been tested? How did you respond?

I was kind of traumatized and had a few sleepless nights after the incident. I just had to keep telling myself that I got my wallet back, and everything was okay. Sometimes that’s difficult for me to grasp since I have a pretty active imagination.

I’ve been hypervigilant with my wallet since then. And I’m cognizant of keeping it on me at all times, but I know even that isn’t safe from someone who’s just going to run off. I know she was hoping that I just wouldn’t turn around in time, but luckily she wasn’t as quiet as she thought she was and I heard it immediately. I advise everyone to really be careful of their property, especially at gas stations and grocery stores. It is so easy for someone to just swoop by and pick something up while you’re filling up your gas tank or your grocery cart, so don’t even put yourself in that situation.

I hope you all can learn a little something from my tale, and I hope it doesn’t happen to you!

xoxo

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