When we were in Washington DC last month (how does that HAPPEN? Time just flies...), there was one night that two of my kids, Dylan and Brianna, took William to China Town to meet up with their uncle.
That left Tim and I and Cara and Colin with a couple hours to ourselves. We took ourselves to a great eatery and there was wine. Walking back towards DC, on quiet dusky streets, I caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye of a man with a woman pushed up against the door of a closed store (it was recessed, set back a bit from the side walk). She was saying "Let me go, let me GO!" in a quiet voice, and he had her backed up, with her shirt bunched up in his hand. I could not hear what he was saying, but it was obvious that whatever was happening was not what should be happening at all.
We were a group of four.
My surprised mind formulated the plan to stop right there, to not take one step. I thought that I was witnessing a sexual assault, and to my thinking, by standing there, we would stop it from going any further.
Before my mind could get any further with my plan, there was a blur that was Cara. She darted in there and pushed the man back. In a very loud voice, she began to upbraid him. He did not let go of the woman, and he was not embarrassed. He began to argue with her. Cara did not back down. She said, "You're not a man if you put your hands on a woman."
At that point, I knew neither one of them were going to back down. I asked a passerby to call 911. In my shock, all I knew was that neither Colin or Cara's phones worked in country. In my shock, I forgot completely that WE had a cell phone. The passerby hesitated and then kept on walking.
I saw a police car a block a way and I ran. (When an old fat lady runs, you KNOW she's scared.) I got the police officer and explained what was going on as we jogged back. Cara and the man were still going at it. The man had the woman's purse and was explaining that he owned everything in it, and had spent a great deal of money on the lady. Cara was pointing out that 'he had NO right', etc. etc.
The officer asked for the purse, the young man did not release his hold on it, although he did let go of the woman. The request for the purse was repeated. The man ignored it and found himself in cuffs. At that point, Cara was deep in conversation with the woman. "You don't put up with this. Do you have a place to go?"
Before we knew it, there were four police cars pulling up from all directions. We filled out reports, and the officer thanked me for stopping. "Most people wouldn't have," he said.
I said, honestly, "I wasn't quite sure what to do, but once Cara went nose to nose with him, I knew we all were kind of committed to stay."
Later, Cara was telling Dylan in her riotous way. "Mom was standing there gawping like she does when she's in a big city..." and they laughed.
I explained my thinking. I didn't know it was a robbery, immediately. I thought it was a sexual assault. I stopped to prevent it from going any further. Once a 911 call was made, we could leave when the police showed up to take over. People carry knives and guns. I had no desire to confront him physically, but every desire to assist the woman.
They laughed like fools and it was plain that they didn't believe me.
I've been thinking about it. I used to be every bit as bold as Cara. When I was very pregnant, with her, actually, I confronted a man who had just bashed a man over the head with a chair. at the place that I worked. (Sounds like a rough place, doesn't it...it was a bowling alley.) I backed him up and refused to let him go, and (probably because I was pregnant) he didn't fight. The police arrived. Turned out the man had a gun.
So, yeah, I had my moments.
Now I'm 60. I guess I still have my moments. The kids would call them 'senior moments'. We live in a rough world, and I'm more cautious.
Sometimes I wonder where that 'young me' went though.