At the Franklin D. Roosevelt Metro Station at Champs Elysees, a group of four or five teenage girls boarded onto the Metro with me, pushing everyone forward rather forcibly.
As I turned to glare at who was pushing, I saw a girl avert my stare and continue to push forward with her bag, pretending to be concerned about getting onto the Metro. I became instantly suspicious and reached for my “man bag” that was hanging cross shoulder off of my right hip. Immediately turning myself away from them, I checked and saw that my bag was not opened.
My feeling of relief was only temporary as I remembered that I had not returned my wallet into the bag after getting my metro tickets. Panic set in again as I felt my pockets for my wallet. Just then, one of the girls pretended to pick up a dropped wallet and offered it to me. My first instinct was to check for my credit cards which were still in place.
Then, as the Metro rolled to a stop at the next station, I knew that the cash would be missing and the girls off the Metro.
I’ve foiled various attempts on my wallet during the many trips to Paris, London, Seoul, Saigon, New York and other large cities. That’s just a part of traveling. This time I had let myself be the victim.
That night I was meeting friends for dinner at one of my favorite Moroccan restaurants in Paris “Chez Omar”. I was taken there by a friendly but relatively quiet young taxi driver. We chit chatted just a little as I gave him directions to the restaurant. Upon leaving the taxi, I gave him a modest 2 euro tip which he said was nice of me.
Ten minutes into talking to my friends at the restaurant I saw the taxi driver walk into the restaurant and hand me my Samsung Note II phone, which was apparently left in the back seat of his taxi. I was dumbfounded for words. That phone could easily have been sold at a good price. It was him who was incredibly “nice”. All the negative feelings from earlier in the day was now replaced by gratitude.