What I learned from almost being mugged

general 27 Comments

Today, as my contribution to Robert Hruzek’s group writing project, “What I Learned from Adversity,” I would like to relate an experience whereby I was almost mugged on the way to work.

The situation occurred on a Monday morning just over six years ago. I was under a considerable degree of pressure in the office with regards to workflow, and had decided to go in to the office a couple of hours early as a result.

It was still dark when my train arrived at Melbourne Central station, and as got out of the train, there were no other people in sight as I got out of the train apart from two dark skinned youths,

Hurriedly, I proceeded up the escalator, but one of the youths followed and was soon by my side asking for change for a phone call.

Deciding warily to give him what he asked for, I reached into my pocket to retrieve my wallet. Big mistake – turning to run, he snatched it from my hand.

Fortunately, he did not get very far. In a knee-jerk reaction, I reached out my hand and managed to take a hold of his jacket. A brief struggle ensued, during which the youth was knocked over backward and my wallet spilled to the ground. Frantically, I scooped it up and bolted as fast as I could, reporting the incident to police as immediately upon reaching my office.

Let me stress, by no means were my efforts to defend my property borne out of some brave, heroic act of vigilantism. Instead, I was completely turned to jelly from a mental and emotional viewpoint, and my conduct merely represented something of a shocked knee-jerk reaction.

 

What I learned

 

Here are two key lessons which I took away from the ordeal:

 

• Work deadlines are no reason for physical danger.

Physical safety is more important than work deadlines, and no matter what the situation with regards to workflow, one should never place themselves in a situation whereby they are using public transport during hours where it is unsafe to do so.

In cases where the performance of work related duties during irregular hours is necessary, then individuals who do not have their own private form of transportation should consider asking their employer to pay for a taxi.

 

• Greater empathy for those who have suffered serious forms of assault.

Not having ever suffered any form of physical or sexual assault, I cannot possibly pretend to understand the lasting impact which these types of ordeals must have upon those who fall victim to callous attackers.

Nevertheless, I feel that I have become more empathetic with those who have suffered serious forms of assault as a result of the ordeal. 

I was considerably shaken by the episode. Due to my distressed state, I had to be sent home from work later that morning, and I did have several nightmares during the weeks that followed, which I presume represented some form of emotional reaction stemming from the ordeal.

Given the extent to which I, as a twenty-six year old man, was affected by the incident, I can only imagine the impact which victims of serious physical or sexual assault must feel, especially when it happens to those members of the community who are most vulnerable, such as women, children or the elderly.

(That said, let me stress again that I cannot, and will not pretend to understand the long term pain which no doubt affects those who have experienced these types of traumatic events).

 

 

27 Responses to “What I learned from almost being mugged”

  1. Brad Shorr Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Andrew, Thank you for sharing this story. It really does sound like a harrowing experience. I hope you are not suffering any long term effects from this, but I imagine it’s something a person could never put completely out of his or her mind. As you say, it’s mind boggling to think about how even worse forms of trauma must affect the victims.

    Brad Shorrs last blog post..How Important Is Google PageRank?

  2. Jackie Cameron Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Great learning from what was a nasty experience. I think it is important to recognise ( and articulate) the impact that a bad experience has had. Whilst I appreciate and understand why you have put it into context with what are far worse experiences it should not diminish the impact it has had – and continues to have – on you.

    Jackie Camerons last blog post..Standing out in the crowd

  3. Andrew Says:
    April 8th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Brad,

    Thanks – Even though I haven’t forgotten about it, I don’t think think that I am suffering from any major long term effects.

    I had excellent support from family and friends at the time, and I really feel that this helped me to come to terms with the experience.

    Jackie,

    Thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog. You are absolutely right and I certainly must not downplay the extent to which the experience had an impact on me.

    As I was saying to Brad, I don’t think it had a major lasting impact, but I still like to share the experience nonetheless.

    Andrews last blog post..What I learned from almost being mugged

  4. Robert Hruzek Says:
    April 9th, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Yikes, Andrew! Certainly an opportunity to learn something important without serious physical consequences. The mental lessons are another thing altogether, and I’m glad to hear you’re doing well there, too.

  5. Andrew Says:
    April 9th, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Thanks Robert.

    Andrews last blog post..What I learned from almost being mugged

  6. tom Says:
    April 9th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Andrew, thanks for sharing this story because it is sometimes very hard to imagine such things happening to us.
    I know when i had someone break into my car and taking some stuff, I felt violated, like how could they just take my stuff.
    But I learned from it so I know what to do to make my car less of a target.

    toms last blog post..Are your parents doing more harm than good?

  7. Lillie Ammann Says:
    April 9th, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Valuable lessons learned from a scary experience, Andrew. Though you were fortunate that what happened wasn’t even worse, you can’t help but feel violated and wary after an experience like that.

    Lillie Ammanns last blog post..The True Passion of Christ

  8. Andrew Says:
    April 10th, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Tom,

    It is difficult to imagine these type of things happening to us, and we cannot help but feel violated when they do.

    I’m sorry to hear about your car being broken into and I am glad to hear that you learned a valuable lesson from the experience, even though the incident was not your fault in any way.

    Lillie,

    Yes, I was certainly relieved that no harm came to it, at least from a physical viewpoint.

    Nevertheless, as you say, the feeling of being violated is difficult to avoid in these types of circumstances.

    Andrews last blog post..What I learned from almost being mugged

  9. Fred H Schlegel Says:
    April 10th, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience Andrew. I don’t think your ‘knee jerk’ reaction is unusual, nor the turned to jelly part. When adrenaline kicks in during a situation like that I think a part of us takes over that almost leaves our conscious selves watching from the sidelines. Glad you weren’t hurt.

    Fred H Schlegels last blog post..Cardboard Creativity… Making Do While Making Great

  10. tom Says:
    April 10th, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Actually Andrew, it wasn’t really my fault but it kind of was because i left things on the seat that were visible so it was a lesson learned.

    I mean i would imagine things were rushing through your head of the terror you would go through if say the guy took your wallet and you had no identity.
    I mean what do you do then?

    toms last blog post..#7 More money will not solve your current problems

  11. Andrew Says:
    April 10th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Fred,

    Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my blog.

    Yes, when these things happen, you just react, and you don’t have time to think.

    As you say, the main thing was that I wasn’t injured.

    Hi Tom,

    Although I wasn’t really thinking at all and my actions represented more knee-jerk reactions than any form of deliberate response, I must say that there were, if anything, two pre-dominate thoughts running through my head: (a) What will I do without cash or identification; and (b) Do they have a weapon stashed away in their pocket?

    With respect to your car robbery, as you say, the practice of not leaving valuable items in a visible position is a good way to reduce your chances of a break in and is certainly an advisable form of action.

    Andrews last blog post..What I learned from almost being mugged

  12. Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com Says:
    April 11th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Andrew,
    I am a big fan of Lessons Learned style post. Good read.
    It also touches the topics that resonate with a lot – I am too overwhelmed at work, I am too approached by strangers in the street asking for change. Your lessons help me reflect at myself and improve in my reactions for similar situations.

    Alik Levin | PracticeThis.coms last blog post..Adopt 18/40/60 Rule And Stop Worrying About What They Think About You

  13. Andrew Says:
    April 11th, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Alik,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    I’m glad to hear that you were able to relate to the issues raised in the discussion.

    Andrews last blog post..What I learned from almost being mugged

  14. Brandon Says:
    April 11th, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Wow, what a crazy experience! Glad you are ok!

    Brandons last blog post..Is a Pizza Franchise a Good Investment?

  15. Natural Says:
    April 12th, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Hi Andrew, I can’t even imagine being robbed or sexually assaulted. The memory is a horrible thing to live with. I’m trusting of people like that, but when I get a bad feeling before hand, I’m usually very skeptical…it’s just a feeling I get.

    Good thing you were not harmed, were able to get your wallet back and get away.

    Naturals last blog post..My Two Left Feet

  16. Andrew Says:
    April 12th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Brandon,

    Thank you for visiting.

    It was a bit of an unsettling experience at the time, but I am thankful that I was not hurt.

    Hi Natural,

    Yes, the thought of being robbed or sexually assaulted would be simply terrible beyond comprehension.

    Your approach of trusting your instinct when approached by strangers seems sensible to me. I have found that whenever I have a good or bad feeling about someone, there is usually a reason behind such a feeling.

    Andrews last blog post..What I learned from almost being mugged

  17. Giovanna Garcia Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Hi Andrews

    I am glad you were not harmed. No one ever think this kind of things happen to them, but it does.
    It looks like you walked away from that and learned some meaningful leassons and now you are sharing that with us.
    I believe that is what life is all about, learning and sharing.
    Thank you for sharing your story.
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

    Giovanna Garcias last blog post..What can you learn from the Easter Bunny!

  18. Andrew Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Giovanna,

    Exactly right, experiences, pleasant or otherwise, typically represent wonderful opportunities to learn, grow and develop as a human being.

    Andrews last blog post..What I learned from almost being mugged

  19. Middle Zone Musings » All Entries: What I Learned From Adversity Says:
    April 13th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    [...] What I Learned From Almost Being Mugged, by Andrew at Good Honest Dollar [...]

  20. Mark Says:
    April 14th, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Thank-you for sharing this ordeal! You gained a couple of interesting lessons from this and that is what it is all about. I am glad you were not physically hurt.

    Marks last blog post..Be Open to Wisdom It Comes In Many Ways

  21. Andrew Says:
    April 14th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Hi Mark.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    You are right on – the important thing from my perspective was that I learned from the experience and avoided any form of serious personal injury.

    Andrews last blog post..Diligently handing money over to scam artists

  22. Gennaro Says:
    April 16th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Glad everything end okay. It’s often best to just give up the cash. There is always the possibility that the person has a weapon. Been lucky enough to avoid being in the situation, but have a friend who smacked around a bit.

    Gennaros last blog post..Authentic Local Eats: Readers Weigh In

  23. Andrew Says:
    April 17th, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Gennaro,

    Fair point. The most important goal in these types of situations is survival.

    Unfortunately, in this case, my actions represented more of a knee jerk reaction, and a more considered approach may have been to just let him have the money.

    I’m sorry to hear that your friend suffered a beating, but I am glad to hear that you have managed to avoid these types of situations yourself.

    Andrews last blog post..How 35 workplace deaths were exposed in an internet chat room

  24. Karen Swim Says:
    April 17th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Andrew, I’m glad that you survived that incident but sorry it happened in the first place. When your personal safety has been put at risk it teaches you to be more alert and aware. I had a very serious incident in my 20s and I doggedly worked to not continue to be victimized by the memory. I routinely practice personal safety and run through drills so if ever threatened my knee jerk reaction will be one of practiced readiness.

    Karen Swims last blog post..Dubious Deception and other Corporate Tales

  25. Andrew Says:
    April 20th, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Karen,

    I’m sorry to hear that you experienced such an incident but I’m glad to hear that you worked so hard in order to overcome it.

    Your practice of safety drills sounds like a very proactive measure to me in order to get yourself out of situations involving potential danger.

    Andrews last blog post..How 35 workplace deaths were exposed in an internet chat room

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