In May of 2019, I visited my youngest son and one of my best friends in what has become one of my favorite cities, Philadelphia.
Friday night we had a grand reunion gathering with many friends I had grown to love during my time in Pennsylvania. Good food, lots of laughter, and reminiscing. They all enjoyed meeting my son.
On Saturday the two of us drove to Bethlehem, PA to spend time with his girlfriend. We had a very enjoyable day. It was filled with a wonderful Greek food festival, followed by a horrible wine tasting event and ear screeching music – the stuff memories are made of – lol.
When we returned to Philly, we called my friend and arranged to meet behind his condo so I could buy him at least one glass of wine to thank him for his generosity over the weekend.
Unfortunately, things went south pretty quickly.
The three of us were walking nonchalantly down the cobblestone path that connects my friend’s condo residence with the wine bar we were walking toward. We were laughing and talking about the events of the day and looking forward to catching up further over a glass of wine.
Out of the blue, three men stepped out of the shadows and pulled a gun on us. We all froze in unexpected surprise and bewilderment.
The guy that was in charge demanded that we get down on our knees, we did. Before that, they frisked us all and pulled out my friend’s wallet as well as my son’s and ripped the backpack off of his shoulders.
In the end, they stole all of our phones, $200 in cash from my friend – also his car keys, driver’s license, and credit cards, as well as my son’s ID.
After kneeling against a stair stoop with a gun held to my head (Words I never imagined myself saying), we waited for them to leave and in a harried moment, I convinced a woman to let us use her phone to call the police.
She looked scared at first, but it didn’t take long for her to realize that we were for real. The police showed up in seconds. This was far from the first time they’ve had a similar incident. I’m just going to say that going to Police Headquarters to make a statement is far from a pleasant experience, in oh so many ways.
The material losses were small ones in the grand scheme of things. We all made it through the ordeal safely, and while more than a bit rattled, it could have been so much worse. It’s simply one of those things that you never expect will happen to you.
I’ve honestly had a really hard time letting go of the experience. I still find myself jumping at unexpected noises.
Perhaps this will change over time.
Words are how I process.