It’s just so sad when your desire to help those in need becomes the very avenue criminal elements use to do their dirty work.
The story I’m about to tell you comes from a friend of mine who experienced firsthand (JUST LAST NIGHT) the new modus operandi of criminals and robbers going around busy roads filled with vehicles stopped in traffic.
My friend was along Kalayaan Avenue in Makati around 8PM, stuck in traffic. Alone in his car, a small kid taps on his window asking for money and food.
Then you suddenly remember it’s Christmas… naturally, the spirit of giving (and being of good cheer) is stronger this time of year.
He opens his window halfway and turns to his bag placed on the passenger seat, looking for something to give to the child.
When he turns back around to face the child again, in front of him instead is an older man with a sharp knife that he immediately sticks hard to my friend’s throat threatening to kill him if he doesn’t surrender his cellphone. Seems pretty clear that the beggar child that came before him was all part of the plan.
My friend complies and hands over his iPhone in a hurry. Soon after, the thief walks away casually like nothing ever happened. What’s worse is that according to my friend, a lot of other people (passers-by, drivers, commuters, etc.) witnessed the crime as it unfolded and just turned a blind eye. It was as if nothing ever happened. They were all probably afraid that they’d end up on the business end of the robber’s knife if they intervened or played hero.
I asked my friend why the thief didn’t ask for his wallet as well. He said the guy seemed to be in a hurry and only took interest in his mobile device. Likewise, my friend didn’t even think of fighting back since the thief, already with half of his arm inside the vehicle, could’ve easily reached for the lock of his door and hurt him much more. It might have even cost him his life.
I’m glad that my friend is safe… but I feel terrible as well. Terrible because situations like this turn us into cynical, paranoid individuals. We end up choosing not to care for our underprivileged brothers and sisters when they come knocking for fear of being victimized by syndicates and criminal elements ourselves.
The safest way to help out beggars and street children, perhaps, is to course our alms and assistance through the proper agencies such as the DSWD instead.
Anyways, for what it’s worth… I hope this story serves as a cautionary tale for everyone.
May you all have a very merry and SAFE Christmas.
Feel free to comment or leave your thoughts below.