Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Catharsis Part II and Village Palm winner

Catharsis Part II

In general, my life is pretty calm and drama-free. I try to live life on an even keel, even when I’m thrown a curve ball. You may have read a very difficult experience that I had a few years ago from a story I shared with you a while ago. Today, I have another story to share with you. It’s another story that I don’t share often for a few reasons. It supports the belief that Mexico is often a dangerous place. It also shows a lapse (or lack) in judgment on my part. I’m sharing it with you because I was recently reminded of how frustration often leads to decisions very similar to mine.

My friend was driving in Mexico City in the local lanes of the Periferico. While he was at a stoplight, two would-be thieves approached his car and asked for his watch at gunpoint. For whatever reason, my friend didn’t hand over his watch, but he was waiting for the light to change; there was no escape. The one man pointed the gun at my friend and told him, “You’re going to die!” My brave friend replied, “Yes, I am. BUT NOT TODAY.” An angel was looking down on my dear James Bond-esque friend, the light turned green, and he drove away from the light and the thieves. Maybe not the smartest decision, but it reminded me of my own experience. It’s a long story…

Car-jacked
I should have known better than to be out at midnight alone with two girlfriends. We had enjoyed a very late dinner and were on the way home. After crossing the Monte Libano bridge, a car rear-ended my car and I did the most natural, but most incorrect thing. I stopped the car. Little did I know that this was a typical ploy to get people to stop their car. Three men came to the car with guns. I got out of the car, handed the guy the keys and expected to have my car stolen. What happened next was the scariest experience of my life. One man pushed me into the back seat of my car along with my friend who was already sitting in the back seat. Another man drove my car. My other friend was taken in the other car with the one carjacker. We were blindfolded and were driven around for hours at gunpoint. We had to go to different cash machines and withdraw money.

After what seemed to be an eternity, the carjackers let us go. They took our purses, money, jewelry; everything.

We were in the middle of NOWHERE and by this time, it was early morning.

A series of bus drivers took pity on us by letting us ride the bus for free and we went to the U.S. Embassy. I didn’t know where else to go. I was truly in a state of shock. The embassy really had no jurisdiction over what had happened and both of my friends were Mexican nationals. They were kind and let us in to the embassy without my passport. We made phone calls and made arrangements to change locks on my apartment. An embassy representative offered to accompany me to make an official police report. Of course, nothing ever came of the report. Our other friend returned home later that day and she was also quite upset. We are all lucky that nothing else happened to us and that we were not beaten or worse.

Enough is Enough
After this experience, I had vowed to make changes in my life to be safer, especially since I was a single female living in the city. About two weeks after the carjacking, I was walking in my neighborhood, temporarily sans vehicle, and I heard footsteps rapidly approaching from behind me.

I grasped the handle of my purse tightly and quickened my pace. The footsteps behind me also increased in speed. I was getting concerned. I didn't have any money in my purse and had not yet replaced all of my credit cards that had been taken the first time. But I did have my make up bag in my purse that was full of creams I had bought at the duty free store. The first thing that ran through my mind was that I was not going to be a victim this time. I started to run and then I felt someone try to grab my purse. The would-be robber didn't expect that I would have a firm grasp on the bag.

Turning around, I saw the face of the criminal and was a little shocked. Quickly, I realized that at 5'4" and 120 pounds, I was both taller and bigger than the robber. He yelled some obscenities at me and asked for my bag. He didn't have a knife or a gun and looked pretty skinny to me.

So adrenaline kicked in and the next thing I know, I am on the ground with the robber, kicking and wrestling him pretty badly. I don't know how long this lasted, but I kicked him where you're always supposed to kick a would-be attacker, left him on the ground, and ran. I didn't know I was capable of doing what I did to that man.

When I got home to my apartment, the doorman was pretty shocked by my appearance. My black tights were completely shredded, my hair had dirt and debris in it, and at that point, I had started crying from the trauma of the situation.

Not my most intelligent decision, but I had had enough of the crime and was not going to let someone do that to me. I was lucky that I did not get hurt and probably should have just handed over my bag, but something in me on that evening snapped.

You may ask why I stayed in Mexico for many years after this...There's something magical and special about Mexico. It's so difficult to explain, but you take the minor inconveniences and modifications to your life in exchange for other things. My story could have easily occurred in any major city in the U.S. or around the world. There are parts of D.C. where I don't dare travel. It's just a matter of being safe.

Thanks for reading my long story and experience. Enjoy your day!

xoxo


P.S. Mint Juleps and Magnolias is the lucky winner of the Lilly Pulitzer Murfee scarf from Village Palm's Anniversary celebration. Please contact me at blbrodger1@hotmail.com within 48 hours so that we can coordinate your prize. Lolly is the winner of the Lilly Pulitzer umbrella. Congrats to the two lucky winners and thanks to everyone who entered the contests. There's still time to enter the contest for the make up bag and Gretchen Scott tunic.

10 comments:

  1. Bethany, oh my goodness, you are SO BRAVE! I can't believe you experienced all of that! You must have been so frightened to have been kidnapped at gunpoint! And then you fought off your attacker just two weeks after the carjacking...wow! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    Congrats to the lucky winners, thanks for hosting such fab giveaways!

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  2. Wow, girl, what crazy stories! You are one lucky girl. I know you love Mexico, but I know you're glad you're in a safer place now. I can't even imagine. I'd replay those moments over and over in my head forever. And I know you're glad your girls are safer here, than in Mexico too. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Oh my gosh, you are so brave, I don't know if I could have fought off my attacker! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Lord Bethany! I knoow you lovew Mexico, but that is some scary stuff!!!!

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  5. Wow! What an amazing story! Thank God you made it out alive! Every day is a gift! thanks for sharing!

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  6. Oh my goodness! What a brave and tough lady you are. Thanks for sharing your stories. They truly are enlightening!

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  7. You are one brave girl! I give you so much credit for staying so strong! Thank you so much for sharing this, I will definitely be more careful myself! xoxo

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  8. I sent you an email and posted it on your facebook! Thanks so much! yay so excited!

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  9. You are one brave lady... and so strong. What experiences you have had. Must say though that I am glad you are in your sweet town with your Minnies!

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  10. OMG...SCARY!!! At least you are okay!! YIKES, that's stuff you hear about on the news never thinking it's gonna happen to you! YIKES!!

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