cute little child? not quite...
So yesterday. Yesterday I had nothing much to do after ulpan except to study and it seemed a perfect day to take my books and a little snack and go sit in the shade at the picnic table outside my apartment in Jaffo to study and try to catch up on all the class things I've been ignoring. So I get myself all settled. I've only been sitting there for about 3 minutes when this adorable little boy, about 11 or 12 years old comes up to me. He has big brown eyes and an angelic little face and he asks very politely if I know where gan something or other is.
"No motek (sweetheart), I'm new here and I don't....HEY!!!!!!"
Motek has just grabbed my purse and taken off like a hare. It takes a second for my startled brain to compute that this angelic child has just stolen my purse. Then schoolbooks go flying and I take off in hot pursuit, hindered by a dress and sandals on already very blistered little feet. I'm shrieking at the little ben zona to come back, to stop, for someone to help and grab that child but no one seems to be taking any note. He shoots down a side alleyway and I follow. He has very much the advantage of me with a head start and, of course, being an 11 year old boy. He is not wearing a dress. He is quickly out-running me. I'm thinking of how badly I am going to harm this little angel when I get my hands on him. We turn onto another street and then down another alley, me still screaming at him like a crazy girl, then another street and down some steps in a "between blocks" cut-through. The steps in those sandals get me and by the time I reach the entry to the next street he is nowhere in sight.
I burst into tears. In the purse is my phone, my teudat zehut, my bus pass, my bank cards etc (no money though). In short, all my identification. My keys to the current apartment and the new apartment. I'm toast. A muslim woman comes up to ask if I'm ok and I'm too distraught to be able to explain well what has happened. Then a guy comes running around the corner with his dog on a leash and starts waving at me and yelling "boee" (come).
So, panting and still crying tears of rage and helplessness, I follow him and, as I round the corner, before me is quite a scene. There is a beat-up old car haphazardly parked with the car door hanging open. The owner of the car, a big man who obviously likes his dinner, has his hands on Motek and is in the process of delivering quite a thrashing to the little darling's behind. His wife, an equally big woman, sees me and begins to wave my purse in the air triumphantly.
I rush up still panting but now imploring the man to stop beating on the child. Although I had quite wanted to beat on the kid myself while I was chasing him, I don't believe in hitting children --it teaches them to not get caught rather than to change the behavior or to internalize any values. The man is quite reluctant to stop whacking on the child but finally gives in to my pleas and as soon as he lets go of the boy's arm the kid takes flight and disappears around the corner. Good riddance is all I can think.
The man and his wife had been driving down the street and saw me running in hot pursuit of the child down Sderot Yerushalayim and they decided to see if they could head him off at the pass. Luckily, they were successful! I have my purse back and my lifelines! I thanked them profusely and bestowed hugs and kisses all around. They ask if I want a ride back to my apartment and when I tell them I'm fine to walk back they insist on taking me. Wonderful people! Lovely people! They live on the street just behind mine and I am going to get them something nice as a thank you!