Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oy, such a day I'm having

The following takes place between 4:30AM and 4:30PM (and is all 100% true)
4:30AM - My phone rings and it's my co-worker whom I'm going to start calling Empanadilla as I expect her to make recurring appearances in this blog. She has just gotten over a stretch where she had three different surgeries to deal with kidney stones and now her 2-year-old daughter is sick. She's been at the hospital since 11:00 the night before and is not going to make into work by 6:00. Can I go in for her? There are few things I despise more than being called into work. I can't even think of a metaphor to adequately express how much I hate taking those calls. However, when I like someone, I am as loyal as a German Shepard. I haven't been at this job very long but I really like Empanadilla so I say "sure".
3:00PM - Being as how I place such an extremely high value on my personal time, the only thing worse than being called in is not being able to leave when the shift I've been called in for doesn't end when it's supposed to. I should have been off at 2:00 but my relief was late and there was no management around. Beyond my aggravation, this is an important factor in what happens next. Because if I had left on time, I would have missed the following.
3:05PM - I've punched out and have unlocked my car door. I just happen to look up and I see a large group of kids walking down the street outside of our parking lot. There's a park along the river so people are always walking along the street. However, this is a large group (at least eight kids, possibly more) and they range in age from little bitty (maybe 7 or 8?) to young adult. It's kind of unusual so I stand there a minute and watch them. Suddenly, they all take off running, half of them running into the park behind a stand of bushes, the rest taking off down the street. I think, "Oh, they're racing each other or chasing something or otherwise screwing around." Then the group that ran into the park comes out and one of the bigger kids is lugging a large duffel bag. Now, my first impression is that they've stolen some homeless guy's bag, although it's a pretty nice bag. I've already got my phone out and dialed 911. I tell the operator "I think I'm witnessing a robbery" as I watch the whole group take off over a bridge to the other side of the river. I was robbed a year ago, I hate lowlife, scumbag criminals anyway and my dad was a cop so I get in my car and take off to follow them. The operator warns me not put myself at risk. However, my dad was a good cop who gave good advice so I have no intention of getting into a confrontation. I just want to keep them in sight and give info to the cops. Unfortunately, I have to drive all the way around the building and I lose sight of them. However, almost immediately there is a helicopter in the area and patrol cars all over the place. I go back to where it started to give the officer my info. A panicked man comes running up, sweaty and out of breath. It was his bag. He's a tourist from Austria and had put the bag down for less than a minute to go over and have a look at the river. He had seen the kids approach and had even waved to them. The bag has a laptop, his passport, his credit cards and some cash in it. He had chased them and lost them too. Probably a good thing, because they had him heavily outnumbered, and in their home element. While we're both there talking to the officer and watching the helicopter make tight circles overhead, the call comes over the radio that they've recovered the bag. No word on whether they caught any of the kids or what was still in the bag, but I'm no longer part of the story so I leave.
3:55PM - I'm northbound on Habana Avenue, on my way to the grocery store and behind a slow moving silver minivan (naturally). I can see that the passenger side door is slightly open. I figure the driver is moving at a crawl because he or she is leaning over to try to close the door. Suddenly, I see a body come tumbling out, hit the street and start rolling. It's a kid, probably 9 or 10 years old. I slam on the brakes, put it in park and jump out, certain that the kid is going to be all busted up. His mom jumps out of the minivan and runs over to him. Amazingly, he seems fine. They jump back in the minivan and take off.
4:30PM - My mind blown, I arrive at home, lock my doors and close my shades.

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