Friday, April 17, 2015

A First Encounter

For the past ten years, I've been drifting around Europe.  I've visited the capitols of many countries, stood on the platforms of the busiest train stations, walked around in crowds, and I've never been mugged or pick-pocketed until this week.

I'm a sucker for children's charities, so when a young lady approached me with a clip board and asked for a contribution, even though she didn't (so she said) speak a word of German, it looked legitimate, so I offered five euros, paying with a ten.  As she was making change, her friend approached, and in the hubbub, I watched as they counted out five one euro coins into my hand. They thanked me, I smiled, and walked away happy. 

I walked around for awhile, went home to eat, and went back out a few hours later.  It wasn't until I went to pay for some pipe filters that I noticed my wallet (which had previously held somewhere between 100 and 200 euros) was empty.  Zapped by good intentions, I walked across the square, retrieved some more money, went back to the tobacco shop, paid for my stuff, then sought out the police and reported my inattentiveness!  The policeman and I had a good laugh over the magic trick and he made some notes, told me never to give money to strange people and that was that. 

Pick-pockets and con-artists in Europe are really slick.  Most of them have been trained since birth in slight of hand and misdirection and the really good ones don't get caught.  Eyes open, but don't turn your back on being kind.  Life is good.  Share the goodness.