Column by Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman

Mean people and money. The two often go hand in hand. They definitely did when I was pick-pocketed in Madrid a few weeks ago.

All was well after a nice bit of shopping and a delicious McDonalds McFlurry (I know, I’m very cultured), until we got off at our metro stop and I realized my wallet was nowhere to be found. It was not hidden among the contents of my purse and I had not stuck it in the inner pocket. For a moment, I thought I might have dropped it on the metro platform. I didn’t. It was gone. And along with it, a good portion of my life. My money, credit cards, state ID, New Paltz ID, Universidad de Sevilla ID and worst of all…my blood donor card (just kidding, but really, that was in there too).

Obviously, I cried and called my parents, who remained surprisingly and wonderfully calm about the situation. Later, after crying one last time, I medicated myself with a pint of beer lovingly purchased by my friends who helped me greatly during my dinero-less days. It worked quite well.

The few weeks following this debacle were less than enjoyable, although people’s generosity with lending me money almost restored my faith in humanity. But basically, being dependent on others is terrible, even when they’re offering and you know you’ll pay them back. It still feels awful. Also, and this may sound ridiculous, but it seriously irks me that all this asshole got was like 40 euros.

I had my credit cards canceled immediately (plus they’re incredibly vigilant about asking for identification here) and I have a sneaking suspicion they have no use for devastatingly attractive college or New York ID’s. They probably wouldn’t want to risk being given the wrong blood type either. So this person temporarily ruined my life for a lousy 40 euros. C’mon now. Oh, I forgot to mention the hilarity of how I bought a new wallet on a whim a few hours before this unfortunate occurrence. Sweet irony.

I’m back on my feet now, many bank calls and euros spent on said calls later, but I have  to say, I’m still bitter. I hope karma keeps up with the low lives that put people through this. I’m not trying to make this into some sob story or grand tragedy, I know this happens to too many people, but that doesn’t make it any less of an inconvenience.

I just hope these sorts of actions weigh down on people’s consciences. I hope they feel really great about themselves for stealing from innocent people. I was lucky enough to have people to help me out and get me through, but what if I hadn’t? The act of stealing someone’s wallet could very well ruin someone’s life much more than it ruined mine. Every day I’m thankful my passport wasn’t in there.

This all sounds mildly dramatic, but you seriously feel helpless without money or a wallet as a whole, which in itself is kind of depressing and telling of our society. Things just got real in this column so I’ll end things here. Look out for yourself because there are bad people out there who really want to know your blood type.