So, after work, there was a party at Zocalo (a Mexican restaurant in West Philly). I had a few drinks, then it was time to go. I walked to the El to get to 69th st, and home. So, I'm sitting on the El, studying my book. There's a "shifty" looking kid (shifty, as in pacing around a bit, seemed anxious, probably high). I didn't pay too much attention to him, and just kept reading.
At the 2nd to last train stop, Millborne, a woman's screaming "He's got my phone". So, I quickly see what's going on, and I attempt to block him from leaving the train. He and the girl were in a struggle, but she kept the phone. I was pushed over, figured she had her phone, and was ready to get back on the train. But, apparently, in the struggle, my phone was stolen instead. And there were two boys involved. The second one I had seen staring at the first (but, I assumed he was just thinking the first looked shifty, as I thought). Alas, they were in it together, and both ran out of the station. They were near the stairs when a guy standing nearby said they had my phone. So, I started to give chase (but they were basically on the other end of the train station, not likely that I'd catch up, especially somewhere unfamiliar).
I got to the front of the train, and the conductor came out to see what was going on (the people from my car were keeping the door open). She instructed me to go to the cashier. I knocked on the window a bit (after a while she noticed I was there). At some point, she said "I don't know why people go flashing their stuff around". I really find it somewhat offensive. I told her it was improper to blame the victim. I don't care if I am walking outside naked, doesn't give someone a right to rape me. I don't care if I had a phone in my belt clip (that would have been covered during general walking, I lost it because there was an actual struggle). A thief is the one in the wrong.
The police came. I gave my statement. The cop tried to ask if I could positively identify them. I don't think I can. I have a tendency not to stare on the train. They think they know who the kids are. I have the number of the police report. I'm not exactly sure what to do next. Alas, I'm phoneless. I'll have to figure out what to do tomorrow.
In the end, I still feel like I did the right thing. Someone screams, I quickly reacted and intervened. It is what I expect of myself, and what i did. Because of it, I lost my phone (but the other woman didn't). It sucks, but I think I would have felt worse if I had done nothing. But, I wonder how the rest of the people feel. The people that just watch stuff happen, and do nothing (everyone else on the train). I wonder what makes me different. I wonder if that difference is a good thing. Maybe life is simpler when you're absorbed in the crowd. I don't know.
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