Friday, July 31, 2009

The Blumentritt Incident

When he reached for his knife from his side, the people in the jeepney with me cried. He got a knife! He got a knife! It was then that I realized that I was really being robbed. I got scared.
Ten minutes earlier, I arrived in Monumento. I decided to take the jeepney because I was late for the LRT's last trip which was 10pm. As usual I took the last seat next to the step. Next to me was a lady then several male passengers. Across were women, one had a toddler. After we passed Blumentritt station, a man in old t-shirt and blue long shorts suddenly showed up while the lady beside me alighted. He came in rush towards me. Unsuspecting of his original intention, i moved closer to the right side to give him the vacant seat the lady occupied earlier. He got in and took his seat with the women across. Just after a minute had passed he gave his fare and signaled for an awkward stop. The commotion followed.
As soon as he stood up, he dashed towards me grabbing my handbag and jacket. Half conscious of what's going on, my reflexes enabled to pull back my handbag and jacket bag. An incoherent shriek let out of my mouth. All the people inside the jeepney moved away from us towards the innermost part of the jeepney next to the driver, leaving us both wrestle for my belongings.
I pushed him then pulled back my handbag, but he resisted and came back again determined to claim his would be loot. But, still I was in a limbo of shock what was happening. All I knew was this person wanted to grab my handbag and i needed stop that. Everything happened so fast.
After some seconds of tag-of-war, which felt like hours, he freed his right hand and started to reach for something from his side. When I realized that it was really a knife I saw a while ago bulging his waist while he was still sitting right in front of me, a surge of thoughts came to my mind all at once.
-I'm alone fighting this guy... Will I die now..? What will happen to my family..?
Images of my children and wife flashed like a slide show in my mind. "No, I will not die now!" It was an internal protest. I pushed him, let go of my handbag and grabbed both railings above. I pulled backward to gain my momentum for a frontal kick. Realizing what I was about to do next, he let go of my handbag and used his both hands to grab the guide railings in both side of the entrance. Now, I focused on his right shoulder and poised to strike a full punting attack. I looked on his eyes. He was desperate and frustrated. That was when he jumped out of the vehicle and followed us with a frustrated stare.
I was still in fighting stance. I felt frustrated and the same time relieved: relieved because it was over; frustrated because I failed to deliver that blow. I realized again how alone I was. All male passengers were still at a shock, pinned together to the innermost part of the vehicle. It was the lady with a toddler I heard made the first comment. I forgot what it was. The driver kept on running the car;"Are you, ok?" I did not answer. One of the middle age passengers gave a loud comment: "YOU SHOULD DRAG HIM IN THAT WE COULD BLOW THE SHIT out OF HIM." I just looked at him. "Yeah, you coward fathead, you should have done that during the fight!" Well, I was glad it was only in my head and did say it aloud. Now, everybody was giving their only-if comments, brave and gay.
It was like a dream. Everything happened in a flash. I learned so many things in a blink of an eye. It's never been the same again for me. It changed the way I travel. It changed the way I looked at people in the midst of danger. It changed the way I live life. It changed the way how I care for my loved ones...

Image credit: The picture of a jeepney came from: