Fight or Flight.
Yesterday three girls stole my phone right out of my hands, in broad fucking daylight in downtown SF. I ended up chasing them through a parking garage, around two corners, and up 3rd street, all the while yelling to bystanders, “Stop her! She stole my phone!”
My legs were giving out and I remember calculating in my head, “What if I just gave up? How much would it cost to replace it? What is on my phone that I would miss?” And I remembered all of the photos and texts and memories stored on there, and it gave me a second wind to continue running. Luckily, a girl walking out of a copy store saw the girls run past and heard my pleas, and she turned around and started giving chase as well, at which point the thieves, either by accident or because they decided it wasn’t worth it, dropped my phone, and I was able to retrieve it.
After profusely thanking the good samaritan girl who tried to help me, I found out that she had also had her purse recently stolen, which is why she impulsively decided to help. God, why don’t more people have empathy like that.
Anyways, I ended up passing by one of the three girls (who couldn’t keep up with the chase) on my walk back to meet my friend, but I didn’t confront her. Didn’t punch her in the face and call her a fucking cunt (though in retrospect I should have), because I was honestly just happy to have my phone back and wanted to wash my hands of the whole event. (side note: on the walk back I also encountered one of the girl’s weaves - guess it had fallen out while I was chasing her, haaaah)
Being a victim of theft is traumatic and unnerving, and I’m just really really fortunate to have only been the victim of an attempted theft. I hope that those girls will now think twice before they consider pulling this kind of shit again on someone else. I’m aware that I’m a pretty easy target, I mean, I’m 4”11 and weigh 96 lbs, so I hope the fact that I didn’t go down without a fight will at least partially dissuade them from trying this shit with someone else.
I can’t pretend to be a “badass” though, can’t claim that this hasn’t left me shaken, because it has. Back at work I found myself racked with anxiety, unable to concentrate as the full weight of the situation bore itself upon me. Like, fuck, that was a really fucking shitty thing that just happened to me. And I am just so so grateful, thanking karma and that good samaritan and god and whoever else I need to thank, that today I didn’t become part of the statistic of people who’ve had their shit stolen right out of their hands. I can’t even think about all the alternative outcomes that could have taken place because it just leaves me feeling restless and raw and worst of all, vulnerable. It’s violating, having someone so forcefully infringe upon your life.
It’s also awful because now as I walk down the street I find myself suspicious of everyone, especially groups of young black girls, which is a shameful thing to admit and it pretty much fucking disgusts me. Though they weren’t successful in stealing my phone, they did manage to steal something else from me - a sense of security, a misplaced hope in the decency of human beings. And now I’m just waiting to heal.
I would never wish for someone to experience what I did yesterday, and I completely sympathize with those who have. And if someone ever rushes past me with a rightful owner shouting and trailing behind, you better believe I’m going to give chase on that mother fucker. Pay it forward. You know.