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They call it “Strong Arm Robbery”

April 1, 2013

Here’s the thing about getting robbed.

You don’t actually believe it’s happening as it’s happening.

And when you start running after the fucker who snatched your iPhone out of your hands, you don’t even think about what you’re going to do when you catch up with him.

Because, at that moment, you’re GOING to catch up with him. Not catching up with him is not an option.

It becomes an option when your legs hurt, your lungs hurt, you’re in a neighborhood you know isn’t safe, and you can’t see the fucker anymore.

And that’s when you realize: You’ve just been motherfucking robbed. And that iPhone is not coming back.


Let’s review how it happened.

You’re sitting on the El, casually browsing Pinterest, when all the sudden you feel some fucker’s hands on your hands and your phone is ripped away from you. And you’re all, “MOTHER FUCK!”

You know, Regina George style.



So, as the train doors are closing, you take off after him and yell, “HE HAS MY PHONE! HE HAS MY PHONE!” And you run like hell in his direction.

And you wish you’d had started training for that 5k a few weeks earlier.

When you finally resolve that Michelle Obama isn’t coming back (that was my phone’s name, R.I.P.), you turn around. You don’t know what to do.

You see a bodega, but it looks sketchy. So you cross the street to the Subway.

You’ve never seen a Subway where the workers are behind panes of glass. You’re clearly not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

A woman, an angel named Beverly, asks you if you got your phone back. She was on the same train car and watched you take off after him. She offers you her phone to call the police and your husband. She asks what you’re doing on the west side, clearly noticing that a nerdy white girl is a bit out of place. You explain you live in the next suburb over. She waits with you and walks you to the street when the police arrive. You give her a hug, wishing you could give her more, wishing you could give her peace in her neighborhood, knowing this happens all too often.

The police take their sweet ass time. You wonder if they would’ve been quicker to respond had it happened in another part of the city, like the Gold Coast.

You file a report. You don’t expect to see your phone again.

You get back on the green line and shed a few tears. Not because you miss your phone, but because you just got motherfuckin’ ROBBED.

When you get back to your little suburb, you stop at the neighborhood bar and drink your feelings (they taste like amaretto sours). You wipe the data from your phone remotely and make sure your husband reported it stolen to AT&T. You let your hands stop shaking.

You explore all the feelings you’re feeling. And you realize that you’re pissed you’ve become a statistic. You’re pissed that the fucker that robbed you is a statistic. You’re pissed that he was a young Black male and you are a young white woman and he’s forced you two to play into stereotypes. You’re pissed that your race, your gender, and your age likely made you a target.

You pray he sells your phone for something good — to help his little brother buy books, to treat his lady to ice cream, to help his mom put food on the table.
You’re probably wrong.

But deep down, you still think that people are really good at heart.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2013 7:55 am

    Oh honey! First, I’m glad you’re ok. Second, I’m so SO sorry this happened to you. Third, I laughed out loud at that Mean Girls clip. But seriously, I’m glad you’re ok.

  2. April 2, 2013 8:39 am

    What kind of fuckery is this? So not cool! I’m sorry this happened to you, but I’m also so happy that you’re okay. I love that you ran after the jerkface who stole your phone. GIANT hug. My fingers are crossed that he needed money for books for the upcoming summer semester at community college.

  3. April 2, 2013 8:41 am

    GLAD YOU’RE OKAY! But also — this was wonderfully written.

  4. Shannon permalink
    April 2, 2013 8:41 am

    Oh Renee! I’m sorry this happened, but I’m glad you’re ok. I do hope that the robber uses the phone for something good at least.

  5. April 2, 2013 11:21 am

    holy crap!! Glad you’re ok, but yeah, totally sucks! People like Beverly are amazing. Glad she was there for you when it happened.

  6. April 2, 2013 2:13 pm

    I’m so glad there’s a Beverly in this story. The proof that there is kindness in humanity as much as there is greed and desperation. But still… this sucks. 😦

  7. April 3, 2013 1:58 pm

    Mother fuck! So sorry 😦 but people like Beverly make me believe in people, despite the robber. Blah.

  8. Natalie permalink
    April 25, 2013 2:46 pm

    So sorry this happened to you… the way you write….don’t stop. Look at the bright side, you met Beverly. There is always a good.

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