It never pays to mess with a woman's handbag

By Nadine Hudson  (China Daily)
2009-12-17 10:05
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Excitedly, we get on our two rented, pink and blue tandems. Parents in the front, our boys at the back and behind them a little basket in which we stow a water bottle, a picnic and my handbag. Well strapped in and thief proof, of course.

It never pays to mess with a woman's handbag

Soon the path gets narrower and finally it ends in a mandarin orchard. From then on we have to push the bikes. On this terrain our tandems behave like stubborn donkeys. With a lot of effort we wheel and pull our vehicles over rough and smooth grounds, while our boys run ahead trying to find a path. Pale yellow butterflies dance to the first signs of spring.

Suddenly, two young, trendy villagers appear behind us. They help me lift my donkey over a pile of dirt. At the Yulong river, they turn left and we turn right.

The distance between Michael, our boys and me is growing steadily. I am all of a sudden aware that one of the young men has caught up with us again. He is only a few meters behind us. In a reflex I look behind

And that is the moment. The moment I later rewind. The moment when a human being exposes his dark side. The man has removed my handbag from the basket and is running away with it.

Of course you know that the world is not just made of sugar, but to have it in your face like that, so unflinching and bold What circumstances give someone the right to such an action? What reasons will lead man to the lawless?

A friend of ours recently had her handbag stolen. Later, she called the number of the stolen phone and to everybody's surprise the thief answered. He apologized several times and said he would return the bank cards and SIM card. A nice, bad person? Who knows why he committed the crime?

Everything happens fast, and conflicting thoughts race through my head.

"Shall I run after him?"

It never pays to mess with a woman's handbag

"It's not worth it, I will never catch up."

"Anyway, what was in the handbag?

Then I hear Michael shout: "RUN!"

The tandem lands in the bushes, my flip-flops fly through the air and I run. It's not courage that leads me to this - possibly more likely stupidity - it's purely a human reflex. Somebody takes something from you, you try and get it back. So you run. As fast as your legs can take you. And the impossible happens. I gain distance and catch up with the thief.

My arm waves through the void, touches the thief for a split second - he has already opened the zip on the bag but was unprepared for my speed and throws the bag on the floor. I fall, cannot find anything to hold onto and land in a field of thorn bushes.

I pick myself up, I don't feel any pain, only fear. Blood sticks to my toes, my trousers are soiled and my shirt torn. By now, my family has caught up with me. Worried.

Taking the tandems off the ground we immediately notice the long, pointy thorn that has gone through the tyre. Still very shaken, we walk a few meters to a place where a few villagers are just about to play a card game and they call over to us joyfully. We point to the flat wheel and ask if they can repair it. Of course, take a seat. With hands and feet we tell the story of what has just happened and someone immediately brings me plasters for the wounds and freshly picked mandarins for the soul.

Would I react the same way again? Probably not, but I have to admit that I am proud of the fact that I didn't just let somebody steal from me without at least trying to get it back.