February 23, 2018

I Got Robbed in Brazil


As much as I travel, I would consider myself pretty wise when it comes to having street smarts and preventing theft.  Perhaps that is why I had never been robbed. Well, at least not until last month.  That all changed while I was on a layover in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


I had gone out with a buddy of mine at night and we were all ready to head back our hotel.  I decided that we would catch an Uber ride back, so I had my cell phone in my hand accessing the Uber app.  When I saw our Uber car pull up on the other side of the street, I pointed to the car with my phone in hand stating, “I think that’s our car over there.”  It was at that split second that a man on a bicycle came whipping by and snatched my iPhone right out of my hand!  I hesitated for a second, realizing what had just happened and then started chasing after him.  Unfortunately, he was going too fast and I could not catch him.  They say that timing is everything and it most certainly is.  For good things and bad, a second can make all the difference.  Had I held up my phone a second sooner or a second later, he would have not been in place to grab it.  The timing could not have been more perfect for him.  Or if I had just reacted a second sooner, I may have been able to catch him.  However, I started thinking later that maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t catch him.  I would have pulled him right off of his bike and who knows what he might have had in his pocket.  He may have had a gun or a knife and the outcome could have been much worse.


I have certainly learned from that experience and I’m way more cautious now. Almost to the point of being paranoid.  Since then, I’ve realized how easy it would be for someone on a bike to snatch my sunglasses right off of my face, so I don’t even let bikers get close.  And if I’m walking in a crowd, I try to make sure there is an invisible barrier between myself and any others.


Tips For Walking Around

If I were you, I would not carry a wallet or a purse period.  In, my opinion, the less, the better.  If you can get away with just your ID, some cash, and a credit card, only carry that.  But if you must carry a wallet, make sure it is always in your front pocket.  A good way to plan on what to carry or what to wear is to ask yourself, “do I mind if someone takes this from me?”  If the answer is yes, then don’t do it.  Remove any watches or jewelry that have value to you.  It’s just not worth it!  When it comes to your cell phone, obviously the best option would be to leave it in your hotel room, locked in your safe.  But I do realize how important our phones are and how we want them with us at all times, so if you must carry it, be extra cautious.  Always keep it in your front pocket and try not to take it out much.  When you do take it out, keep it close and hold it tight with both hands.  And most importantly, be extra careful when taking pictures, especially selfies.


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