Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 4


Today started off normally enough. Slept terribly (couldn't get my earplugs to stay in) but didn't feel too bad this morning. We all went over to the Robideau's and worked until noon. Keith was off with the Major to the Rotary Club for lunch which left us on our own for lunch. We decided to bring a picnic with us and catch some sun down on the water front.

We had eaten our lunch and were all relaxing and enjoying the sun when a guy came up to us and asked for a dollar. This is a pretty common occurrence here being that we're white. Usually we just refuse and that's the end of the story. Not today. Today Julia refused him. He asked a few questions (why wouldn't she give him money) but when we wouldn't give him any money, he did finally leave. I was lying down on the cement at this point, just chilling, listened to this exchange and found it a little off. But the guy left so I dismissed it. Just made sure I was hanging on tight to my backpack and relaxed again. A few minutes later though, he was back. This time he tried to hit Janice up for a dollar. She wouldn't give him any money either. This time he didn't want to take no for an answer. Janice finally reached into her bag to give him some money but he reached over (from on his bike) and grabbed her bad and rode off on his bike.

I didn't see this happen. All I heard was suddenly Janice saying "He took my bag." She didn't sound excited, scared - just like she was stating a simple fact. I swear, the second I heard "he took my bag", I was sitting up, jumping off the cement barrier, pulling my backpack on and started to run after this guy, tightening my backpack as I ran. I never thought twice. About half a block away, as the guy was turning up a street, the girls were yelling after me to stop, to come back. I couldn't figure it out. I shouted back something stupid about we could catch him, come on. He wasn't riding fast. But then then Julia shouted after me (she had to shout, I was too far away for her to just speak in a normal voice) "GUN!!!" I was still running though but now I looked behind me, kinda slowing down as the word was sinking in. Julia shouted again "HE HAS A GUN!!!" I was almost at the corner where this guy had gone with Janice's bag. All of a sudden, I got it. This guy had a gun!

I didn't see this guy face on. I couldn't even tell you the colour of his bike or what he was wearing. All I could see was Janice's purple metallic bag hanging off his left hand.

Anyway, apparently Janice only noticed the gun when she finally decided to give him the dollar. Julia saw the shape of it under his shirt the second time he came by. We walked around the block hoping to see the bag thrown down on the ground but couldn't find it. Janice didn't want us to go down the street he'd come up. She wanted to stay on the busy street and get back to the school.

So we picked up the few things we needed at a couple of different hardware stores, stopped for an iced coffee and made our way back to the school. We were going to clean and paint the stove/sink/fridge wall in the kitchen. Janice needed a little time on her own, so she went back up to the church to chill for a bit. Julia, Jen and I started in the kitchen.

When Keith got back, Julia told him what had happened. He was shocked of course. He took Janice and Julia to the police station to report the theft. That took a lot longer than he thought it would but they took the situation very seriously. At any rate, at the very least, Janice will have the police report for her insurance and will hopefully be able to get back a little money. Luckily Janice didn't have much in her bag. Only about $6, her water but also her camera and her watch. Obviously she was upset about losing her camera but was glad not to have been hurt. In fact, all of us felt pretty much the same way.

Think we all felt pretty terrible about the whole thing. I'm kicking myself now for not being more aware of what was going on. I should've got up after the first time that guy asked for money. I should've made sure we all had a good handle on our stuff or at least made sure we had a dollar easily available to hand over without having to open our bags. So stupid. And then running after him. What the hell was I thinking?! Well, I didn't know he had a gun. All I could think of was pushing that asshole off his bike, getting Janice's bag and then hurting this guy. Really hurting him. Kicking him, stamping on him ... I'm not a violent person so I'm having trouble thinking of how I can hurt this guy. Kicking and stamping is all I got.

Anyway ... the day did end on a happier note. We had a BBQ for the kids. Hamburgers and hot dogs for all the kids. And there wasn't a crumb left. Luckily we had some potatoes and I was able to cook those up for us, with a little bit of salad on the side.

The girls played outside with the kids until 8pm and then we had our down time. Our week is coming up fast to its close. Our work at the Robideau's is nearly complete and the same at the school.

Tired now. It's been a long day.

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