Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Three Years Gone: Why I belive in the kindness of strangers

Three Years Ago

I was working as an Assistant Manager in a high end store in my home town. Along with a small team and my lovely Manager, we were opening a new store to the town which would offer something a bit different. The store comprised of high end home ware, dinning accessories and ornaments.

Being able to be a part of the process from beginning to it's completion was a fantastic experience, we were able to offer opinions and had a chance to be a part of something new. I even got to design to website map for the companies sister store. Something I relished and enjoyed greatly.

Things were good, I knew the job was not forever, but for things were going well.

Three years ago today, I was working alone on the shop floor. I was on my own as my colleague had left after her lunch cover shift. 15 minutes later a gentleman came into the store who had been in before enquiring about our gold plated serving ware. I noticed that he would not take of his hat or sunglasses when addressing me.

I felt the rush of panic rise up in me as he asked to see a set of three condiment jars that where in the whimsical shape of owls. They made up a little owl family. They were gold plated and silver filled, handcrafted and delicate.

Judging (yes I judged) by his attire and how dirty his hands were, I made the assumption that he could not possibly afford this expensive set. I decided to discuss with him further about the set and stall from opening the locked cabinet.

I thought about calling the sister store and ask for the shop assistant to come over with the "key". I was at the point pretending that I had misplaced the key, hoping that he would go away.

He became agitated and complained about my customer service. I was not sure if my colleague would have  even be able to come over to my store to help me. So with caution I proceeded to moved from the till counter to the display cabinet, key in hand.

I knew something was wrong, but I had to go through the motions. I turned my back to him as I unlocked the cabinet.

That's when he grabbed me, he had moved behind me and grabbed my shoulder. As he pushed me downwards he brought a large knife to my throat and said "get down on the floor or I will kill you, ill do it".  I have back problems and how he was restricting me I could not of got down to the floor easily.

I whimpered

He forced my head down further and I could feel the knife against my throat. I moved towards the floor with the blade still following me. When I finally got to floor he demanded that I not look up or he will kill me, not scream or he will kill me.

I could here the metal of whatever he was stealing ring as they crashed next to each other in his scruffy rucksack.

With one last "don't move or you die, he was gone. I found out later that he had stolen almost £19,00 worth of stuff.

I was frozen, I could not get up.

I heard a woman's voice, I would not move. I noticed that I was crying hard and that I was shaking to much to get up.

As a  passer-by she had seen the man run out of the shop and heard the same ringing come from his bag. She came in to see if everything was okay.

The kindness of strangers meant that I could get off the floor and try and collect myself (didn't happen) while the woman comforted me and called the police. She stayed with me whilst I waited and while I rang my boss, who came to the store almost immediately.

The woman stayed with me while I made a statement and even when my colleague who had finished work came back when she had heard what had happened.

I do not know this woman's name. But I think of her often. Why?, because even after this awful thing that happened. Almost instantly there was someone there for me. She didn't know me but she actively came to my need.

I thought of her that night when I couldn't sleep, I thought of her when I made the successful I.D of the robber and when he was sent to prison.

I think of her when I have reoccurring memories and she brings me peace.

The kindness of strangers can give someone so much joy and comfort. That's why I actively try and help where I can.

If I have troubled you with this story, I am so sorry. However, this is my experience and it has been almost cleansing for me to write this out. Something I have not done before.

I wash off the fear and bring in strength. I'm still scared, often it is when I'm alone. I don't think I could work on my own again and that does get me down at times. I wouldn't say I have full blown anxiety but I have moments where I could easily hide away and not come out.

Three years have gone and I rarely speak of it. I sometimes feel that my friends and family don't know how it affected me. I still flinch when someone I don't know touches me and I can't deal with violent scenes in movies that involve knives. I try to push past these fears and move on.

They didn't see me how that women did, they will never know how I was. Even though I don't know her name, I thank her often for showing me that the good in the world outweighs the bad and even in the worst or darkest situations some light can be found.

Thank You.


  1. So sorry to hear about your experience, I definitely do think that the good people in the world outweigh the bad

    1. Hi Jess, I completely agree, the good does outweigh bad. Even if sometimes that is hard to see. Thanks for stopping by! x

  2. I'm sorry to hear about this experience :( Always amazed to hear about the acts of kindness that do come out, there are several recently that have really stayed with me - I won't list them as I don't want to trigger anyone, but I'm glad that there was someone there for you too. xxxx

    1. That is why I wanted to share this story, to show that you can really help someone . Even if you don't know them, your actions can stay with them forever. Whether they be good or bad. xxx

  3. Wow. So brave for sharing. It's so nice to know that there are some good samaritans out there still. I hope that I would react like that lady did if ever such a situation arose.

    1. Hi Helen, I to hope that if I were in that situation that I would go to help. I'm glad you see the story as a positive. I was not sure how it would be received. However, this is my space and I feel it is important to share, as it is one of the reasons I'm so interested in wellness etc. As always thank you for stopping by xx