Earlier today, while on my way to Eastwood City (C5 Libis), I found myself being targeted by snatchers. This could practically happen to anyone anywhere, so it’ll be better if I share the exact details: around 2:30 PM I rode a jeepney at Ligaya, Marcos Hi-way enroute to Pasig Palengke, then I was supposed to get off at Manggahan. Then it happened inside the jeepney midway.
Marcos Hi-way. Photo taken from http://d0ctrine.com
I was minding my own business looking at the scenery outside, when suddenly a man in front of me, who seemed to be in a state of panic, forcefully pulled my right-leg and kept shaking the cloth of my pants. He screamed that a @#!*($ bug (I couldn’t remember the name) crawled its way inside. The scream broke my train of thought.
Being the gullible idiot that I am, I took the man’s words to heart and panicked along with him. This went on for a few seconds, but then I realized I didn’t feel anything crawl up to me at all. It got me doubting. Then here comes wingman #1 and #2, who appear to be unrelated to the panicking guy, and said that it’s a dangerous critter that has rabies. ‘Rabies’ and the added affirmation triggered more panic, even though at the back of my head ‘WTF kind of bug has rabies? That’s the first I’ve heard of!‘
I went along with the manong’s ‘kind gesture’ to protect me from some magical creature, and that’s when it hit me it could be a robbery in progress. I know it’s pretty slow of me, and I bet the other passengers were already way ahead. I rolled my eyes over to the side where my phone and wallet were and I saw a man with a bag covering his lap. I remembered what my sister said: putting things on their lap is a well-known camouflage technique to hide itchy hands, so I immediately checked my pockets. Good thing my phone and wallet were still there- and that’s when I saw him slowly creeping his hand from under his bag.
Up to this point the manong kept pulling my leg, instigating distraction. He stopped when he noticed I got a grasp of the situation. Then the 2nd wingman said that all is good and there’s nothing to be worried about anymore since they were able to kill it, while pointing to a blind spot on the floor. I tilted my head to take a look, but saw nothing. They just smiled and had their clean escape in the next block.
After they got off, the other passengers voiced their concern and told me to check my valuables. Nothing was lost, although the fact remains that I still played along with their mind games. I still was caught off-guard- if some factors of the process were altered that would have made me panic more or give them more room to operate, the result would be different. I was also lucky that the other concerned passengers who knew what was going on gave an eerie stare to those snatchers which probably made them loose their morale.
In the end, the lesson learned here is to ALWAYS be alert of the people and things around you, whenever or wherever you are. And don’t trust people too easily. It’s pretty cliche but everyone tends to forget that when they get too comfortable or confident. And thru some weird system of the universe, the bad people almost always get to see those openings. Even a friend of mine recently got his phone stolen at Cubao by prostitutes on his way home. In my case, my mind was floating somewhere in fantasy land when the guy grabbed my leg. I was like “What? What!? What’s happening!?” and just adapted to their reality where some bug crawled up to my pants.
We’re always wide open when outside in public places, so take extra care and extra caution.