10:30 pm, Lisbon centre Metro station, 4 adults and 4 children (the youngest at 4 years of age) boarding the train;
Train was quite empty but after I was already standing inside I felt someone standing too close to me on the left. I quickly reach for my pocket and realise the wallet is NOT THERE!
A quick look and there are two guys there in their 20’s, both about my height, leaving the train. I turned and grabbed one of the guys’ t-shirt with my right hand and with my left hand I hit his neck from the front and pushed him out, keeping my left knee behind him so he fell backwards and dropped the wallet on the floor as I was still strangling him.
His mate reached for the wallet, so I kicked his shin as hard as i could with my right foot…he dropped his mobile phone…I tried to kick it away but at that point I turned back to the train to see where everybody was. The driver stopped the train as my friend was holding the door open and my wife had stepped out and picked up the wallet. The two guys where already running away.
I could probably catch them as they had to jump the barriers and they were moving rather slowly but I think that was the point where the instinct stopped working and the brain has kicked in:
My family was safe (though a bit shocked) and I have my wallet, so I just got back on the train and we went back to the hotel, 3 of the children were crying and started asking questions about the thieves
When we put them in bed, my son (will be 4 next week) asked me “what if I dream about what you did to the thieves?” I told him that he has to focus on the dolphins that he is going to see today when we go to the oceanarium.
Later at night my daughter (she’s 6) woke up crying so I took here to our bed and she woke up a few more times and she’s now, in here imaginary world, decided that the police has already caught the “baddies” and threw them in jail, we’re just hoping that today’s outings and activities will make them forget everything (we also hope that there ARE dolphins at the oceanarium…)
The whole scene took not more than 10 seconds maybe and had a happy ending. In retrospect it could have had many different endings and I suppose that the transport police will be able to pull out the CCTV footage from the train/ station and to see the theives’ faces. I only remember a white t-shirt, dark hair and an unshaved face (the red marks I have on my arm support that). The other guy (I think) was wearing a denim jacket and his phone was white
Amazingly, they still managed to check inside the wallet and to pick the few notes that were in there, leaving everything else untouched. I once had a wallet stolen from our house and I remember what a nightmare it was to cancel all the credit cards, get new driving licences and figuring out what other stuff was missing (cash, business cards, receipts etc…). Maybe this memory was the thing that drove me to act the way I did????
Luckily the thieves were just opportunistic kids and they did not carry any weapons, they’re probably also not used to such a reaction…
The moral? Hmmm….to begin with, I should not have left the wallet in my pocket…saying that, I was also carrying a rucksack loaded with cameras and some other stuff as well…
When you travel with children, especially in urban areas, your mind and eyes are constantly busy looking after them and you can easily get mugged, again I guess that we were just lucky last night and since we only have one day left here, we are going to enjoy it and not worry about the incident…
I’ve been Portugal many times but only for business, it’s a beautiful country and we had a wonderful holiday. I have a new camera with me and I took many pictures of mountain and coastal landscapes, little villages, churches, cityscapes and people. I’ll post time in the next days/ weeks
Safe travels everyone!!!!