My mom was violated. There are few things that make us feel as uneasy and vulnerable in life as being violated. There are a million ways that we can be violated in this world and it is not a problem strictly resigned to just women, though as the “weaker” sex, we are more susceptible.That is not to say that women are “weaker” in any fashion than men, but we are perceived that way and that, in itself, makes us more vulnerable.
Bear with me as I try to explain to you the events that transpired this past weekend. I’m still having trouble believing that this really happened. Sunday afternoon, my mom was headed home from my house after a weekend of celebrating my littlest girl’s 9th birthday. She was almost home when she decided to stop for a refill on gas. My little brother came back home with her since college is out for the summer so he was pumping the gas and she was out of the car talking to him. That’s when it happened.
A man drove up beside her car, stopped, jumped out of the car, reached in and stole my mom’s purse. Jumped back in his car and sped off before my mom even realized what had happened. Luckily, there was an elderly gentleman there who got the man’s license plate and my brother made eye contact with him, so he saw his face.
As if being robbed in broad daylight was not traumatic enough for a sweet southern senior, she had EVERYTHING in that purse. You know that saying, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” well, my mom had everything of importance in that one purse.
When my mom travels, she doesn’t want to leave anything in her house of importance. You know, just in case some asshole, wants to break in and steal her life away. So she carries it all on her person. When I say everything, I mean everything. She had her id’s, check book, spare keys to car and house, savings information, about $500 in cash (because people her age carry cash), all of her passwords written down on a piece of paper (because she’s 65-years-old and that’s what she does), her phone and all of her credit cards. Literally, everything of value to her was in that pocketbook except for her children and grandchildren.
Obviously, she is very freaked out. We all are. I know she’s upset that all of her things were stolen. It’s a pain in the ass to call and put a freeze on everything and have things reissued. She had to go into her bank on Monday morning and do all the things to freeze the account and get new cards and account numbers issued. She has to get a new social security card and had to change the locks and get her locks changed on her car. These are all inconveniences but better than the alternative.
All I keep thinking is what if she had been sitting in the car and, heaven forbid, reacted by grabbing her purse? What if this crackhead** in his desperation, pulled out a gun and shot my mother for her purse? That’s what’s keeping me up at night. We can replace all of the things but I can’t replace my mom and that scares the shit out of me.
My mom is gutted that she has been robbed. She feels vulnerable and violated. She is afraid to go home because this person has her address and her keys. She is afraid and I don’t blame her. How do you regain your trust in mankind after something like this? Something so brazen and heartless. I mean stealing from the elderly? You can’t get much lower than that.
I tell people, all the time, that I grew up in the ghetto. I’m obviously not exaggerating but in our neighborhood, my mom is known. She’s lived there for 40 years. We’ve been trying to get her to move for years and this may have just been the catalyst to make that happen. I need her closer to me so I can keep a better eye on her and protect her.
My mom had just visited me in the suburbs, so maybe her guard was down. She’s learned a valuable lesson, to never trust anyone, albeit the hardest way possible. I can’t undo what’s happened to my mother, though I wish I could but I can warn the rest of you.
If you get out to pump gas, even in broad daylight, 1) put your purse in the back floorboard 2) lock your car doors 3) keep your windows up 4) keep your important stuff at home in a safe or in a lock box at the bank, never carry it all on you. I know it sounds like overkill but either you do these things as a precaution or some creep sees you vulnerable and violates you. Believe me, this could have been a lot worse. He could have shot her, taken her hostage or carjacked her. But, as it stands, it was still pretty awful.
** I say crackhead because I say it takes a pretty desperate/stupid person to do something so crazy.