I decided to leave work a little early the other day. It was getting depressing to come into work while it is dark and leave when it is dark and I wanted to walk to the train while it was still light. I work in a pretty rough part of town, but I have never had any problems before. As I’m walking though, I see a group of 20 young guys hanging out at the corner and have a bad feeling. I then start to chastise myself wondering if my feelings are because they are all black and I’m in a poor neighborhood. I decide that I want to act like I would normally act. I make eye contact and smile. They immediately look at me and yell, “What the $%& are you looking at?” Damn. There goes that plan. I put my head down and keep walking. A couple seconds later I hear a woman screaming from her porch, “Child, you don’t wanna do that. Please don’t do that.” I turn to see five of the youth running right at me from each direction.
I am sure that the natural reaction would have been to run, but for some reason my fight/flight instict wasn’t working. I just thought about. Is this really going to happen? Am I going to get mugged at four in the afternoon? They are just kids. I am glad I still have health insurance. Then I visualized me getting the crap beat out of me, made a mental note to protect the face, and then waited for it. I still wasn’t quite sure whether I was going to fight back. The first one slowed just as he got to me faked a left and a right and said, “bang!” My left hand was outstretched on his shoulder and my right arm was held back. I guess I was going to fight. In hindsight that was probably stupid.
The next kid laughed and shook my hand. Is that a normal reaction after pretending to jump someone? I started to walk away, but the youngest and smallest of the group followed me and told me to give him my money. When I said I had none, he told me to empty my pockets. At this point I was a little angry and pushed him aside and told him to go away. That was the end of it.
The experience really made me think: What should I have done in that situation? What caused those kids to react that way? Why is there so much fear in the world? How do I control my instincts and stay calm in these situations? I reflected on how vulnerable I really am, God’s protection on my life and what types of horrible experiences I will go inevitably go through in life.