If you like big cities, São Paulo is a great place to live. Loads of things to do, awesome nightlife, expositions, parties, crazy people everywhere and art is all over the city. But as one of the biggest cities in the world, Sao Paulo has its problems too. One of them, that is probably among the most serious ones, is the crime. Although crime could happen anywhere, in a huge city with millions of people living together, it tends to happen more often. Robbery is no exception. Last time I read news about it, they announced that something around 80.000 cases of robbery, of all kinds, happen per semester in the city. Statistically thinking, if you are part of the 18 million “paulistanos” who spent most part of their lives in the city, you`re more likely to be killed by lightning than die without ever being robbed. So if you are not part of that statistic yet, you should be worried!
That`s how I used to feel every time someone got robbed, worried. If you ever get robbed in Sao Paulo and tell anyone about it, you will notice how the group of people around you will raise, as they each tell their own exciting robbery stories. It felt strange every time they looked at me expecting a story and I simply had nothing to tell. I was the lucky one. But everyone knew, and I knew it well myself, that sooner or later I`d either get robbed or struck by lightning. All I had left was the expectation: when is it going to happen?
When the time came I was well prepared. It was 3 in the afternoon, the sun was shining. I was on my way to work, pretty distracted, and didn`t realize how deserted that street was. I felt someone walking past me, so I looked only in time to hear him say: “I just want your wallet and your cell-phone”. At this point you feel like someone just punched your stomach, but I remained calm. I noticed the second man behind me and evaluated my chances. The street was completely empty. For some reason not even cars were passing by. So I decided there was no point on running or screaming. I always planned what I would do if I saw myself in that situation, but I never actually thought I would put it in practice. I realized then, that plan B was on. I would have a lot of trouble substituting all the documents and cards I had in my wallet, so I announced to have medicine in my wallet, and asked if I could give them just the money. The guy in front of me seemed to hesitate as I calmly negotiated with my robbers. The other one behind me simply said: “Yeah, let her keep the medicine, we`ll take the money”. The other one agreed, as I took 12 bucks out of my wallet. “That`s all I have”, I said, while one of them tried to reach for my phone in my purse. “Ok”, one of them said, “here, keep two”, and he handed me 2 Reais back. I didn`t know what to say, so I said “thank you”, realizing the other one had not only found my phone, but also my Ipod. They disappeared behind some trees, telling me to keep walking.
After stopping at a cafeteria to call the mobile company to block my stolen phone, I got to work with that “I can`t believe it finally happened” expression on my face and told my story to my co-workers. Someone bought me a pastry and a soda, and we were soon telling each other our stories. It almost felt like a celebration, I had finally become statistically normal.