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Sympathy from the Devil

Published: 29 June 2022


We were robbed.

My friends— former colleagues from Willis Towers Watson— and I went for a weekend trip to San Juan, La Union last Saturday, 25th of June. It was just supposed to be for an overnight trip, to end the following morning. But some time, Saturday afternoon, we decided to extend our stay until Monday morning so we can enjoy our stay the whole day Sunday.

The place that we booked, El Navi in Urbiztondo, had our rooms booked in advance Sunday afternoon. That meant, we weren't able to extend our stay and had to leave on our checkout time. But because we really wanted to stay, one of my companions booked another place where we can transfer. It was at Delma's Guest House in Ili Norte, a place where that companion had stayed previously.

I won't go into the details of how we were robbed because there is an ongoing investigation. I just want to lay down some afterthoughts and perhaps to debrief myself from what I experienced. I can't say that I have trauma— not in the way that I feel that my mind has been scarred for life. But I do need to say that with the experience after, I may have lost some of my trust in humanity. And that isn't because of what the perpetrators have done.

See, when we discovered that we were robbed, the first thing we did was wake up the guest house's owner. I really can't say what he could have done but I was hoping, at least, that he'd make contact with the authorities— because none of us guests knew what number to call and, at the time, none of us had cellphones. I stood with Bill for a couple of minutes, constantly repeating to him, "we have to call the police..." When I felt that Bill wasn't interested, I rushed to the next door Awesome Hotel and asked their people to help.

The security from Awesome took me to reception and it was from there that the police were contacted. They arrived maybe five minutes later.

By the time I got back to Delma's with the police, I no longer had hope that anything stolen can be recovered. Fortunately, though, while I was waiting for the police at Awesome, my companions were already looking around the premises and had found some of our stuff. They even encountered another pair of officers who had been called earlier because the place beside Delma's had also been robbed.

The investigation began. We were asked questions and we tried our best to answer as clearly as we could. The whole affair was mostly conducted professionally by the young officer. I don't know if he ever asked anything from Bill or the owner of the other place. I don't know if the other pair of investigators asked questions from the other victims. But after maybe an hour, we were already packing our bags and getting ready for the long drive home.

Before we left, Bill asked me, "were you the one who called the police?" And after answering him in the affirmative, he followed up with, "were they any help?" Then, he simply walked away. While we were on the road, our companion who made the booking received a message from Bill. He was asking if we took the room's key with us because he couldn't find it anywhere.

Really, Bill?! You couldn't even ask us if we were okay to drive; could we have used some coffee, maybe something to eat— although, I doubt if anybody still had the stomach for it? Do we even have gas money?

When I got home, I slept. And when I woke up, I started messaging friends I know who like taking long drives to go to the beach. Most of them initially replied with, "so sorry to hear that, were you hurt," which is a very human thing to say. Thank you for that. But I did get the odd, sociopathic message that said something like, "I always stay at a friend's resort when I'm there..."

Well, good for you! I hope that if ever you get to experience what we experienced, the perpetrators won't be carrying any weapons and that your friend will be conscious enough to use a weapon if he or she has access to one. And on the long way back to Manila, your companions will be as composed and cool as mine. You know, for somebody who says she reads a lot of psychology and self-improvement stuff, you can sure use a bit of sensitivity training.

And don't get me started with that recruiter that I was texting just before I decided to write all of this down. I don't care what sort of impression you're trying to leave your client. When I say that I am not in the right frame of mind for a job interview, I am not in the right frame of mind for a job interview. I've worked at your company before, and even though our time there did not overlap, I'm sad to say that you have just displayed the culture there that prompted a number of us to leave. You don't care about the people you work with— because you're not allowed to.

I'm sorry for even considering coming back.

But were the police really helpful? Because I called the police and they conducted an investigation, I now have a police report. That report will go a long way.

For one, it gives more context to that loss of the laptop that the company that my companion works for owns. It tells the company that the person who was responsible for it followed procedure. It dispels doubts that he might have sold it or whatever— it is an expensive piece of equipment. And it also forms part of the documentation that the company will need should they choose to pursue any insurance claims.

Had the perpetrators taken more than the cash we had in our wallets; i.e., took our driver's licenses and other IDs, that report would have added more weight to whatever affidavits that we'd have had to file for getting them replaced. It was a good thing, though, that the perpetrators left our wallets with all our IDs and credit cards intact.

So, yes, Bill. The police were helpful. You were not.