|From:||that frolicsome kid|
|To:||Whom this may concern|
|Date:||9 January 2008, 18:33|
|Subject:||Taken Advantage of|
Let me tell you of my bitter experience while traveling in a foreign land.
It happened in Murray Street, during the first week of my holiday. I had just hopped off the free city bus heading to Borders, my favourite place in Perth. So we walked past Woolworths and I decided to stop for a drink before we continue to Borders. As I was struggling to free my bottle from my bag, a guy approached me. This guy was big (not in an intimidating way) and had shaggy blond hair. He was freckled and wearing shirt and shorts. He's in his teen, probably not older, or even younger, than me. I thought he looked shoddy.
So this guy stopped me and asked for my help. I was confused by his sudden appearance. First of all, city people do not call out to random strangers. He proceeded to explain that he needed someone to help him carry a sign around which advertised Subway burgers. I eyed him suspiciously, and told him I was busy and heading off to a bookstore (yes, stupid response! =O). I don't know how, or why, but he managed to persuade me to help him out for a little while. He told me to walk around Murray and Hay Streets and hold the sign. That was all I had to do. I asked why, and he told me he needed a little break.
Guess what? I said:
Err... okay, sure! Just for a short while, right?
Oh my goodness, can you believe how dumb I was? I was what my former English teacher says, "A blinking donkey". My little brother instantly avoided me and pretended he didn't know me. I REALLY did walk around holding up the sign! People were eyeing me. They STARED at me!!! =( At first, I felt fuzzy doing something nice for someone, until I began to flush with embarrassment. Then it hit me.
I WAS USED! USED!!!
I cannot believe my stupidity. I may be that smart alec in class, but my street smartness equates 0! I didn't walk too far a distance, thankfully, saving me many minutes of shame. My little brother pestered me to go back and give it back to the guy. I even scolded him lightly, before I heeded to his sensible advice and headed back to our promised meeting place near Woolworths.
So I walked back there and tried looking for the guy.
AND THERE HE STOOD IN FULL GLORY, CLEARLY FLIRTING WITH A SALESGIRL! =O (She was promoting some product at a small stall.)
I was boiling mad. I approached him quickly, and he pretended to not even notice me! He went to a group of giggling girls and pretended to join in a conversation.My temperature soared an all-time high. I ranted to the salesgirl. While she was sorry to see me being taken advantage off, she told me bluntly she couldn't help me.
I questioned the legality of making tourists help someone with work. The guy finally acknowledged me after some time. I repeated it again to him.
"It is illegal to make tourists do the work for you. I'm a tourist, you're not supposed to do that."
"I'm just asking you to help out. Can't you help me out for a few more minutes? You will even be paid for it!"
An interlude here: Forgive me for saying this, but...
FUCK YOU! TO HELL WITH YOU, YOU ARSEHOLE!
I then realised I was being taken advantage of by some unknown dude! And he had probably told the girls how he has managed to influence a nerdy chink to do something stupid. I was embarrassed, I felt foolish, stupid and dumb! I am worse than a retard, I tell you! =(
To avoid more trouble, I passed back the sign to him rudely and strode away. He called after me and tried stuffing the sign into my bag. "What are you doing?" I hissed. I strode faster. He was getting closer. HE WAS ACTUALLY CHASING ME!
HE WAS BEGGING ME TO HELP HIM! *shriek* That IS not helping at all! If you want help, you don't go desperate over it, especially not something like this. It is his job to walk around the city and advertise for Subway. I have absolutely nothing to do with it. Too bad I didn't realise that many minutes ago! Argh! =(
The situation took a turn for the worse. Feeling embarrassed was bad enough. It wasn't until later that night I realised what had just happened.
I. Was. Harassed.
This guy was insane! He actually chased me across the block. I fled for my life. Adrenaline kicked in. Fight or flee. I chose the latter. I can't fight. I'm too pathetic to fight. I ran with all my might. I ran one block and ended up at Hay Street. I didn't stop until I was near Borders, and certain that he was gone. There was no way that chav could have run so far. I thanked God for blessing me with naturally long legs.
I was flustered and lost my younger brother. I panicked. What if he harassed my brother? Thankfully, he came a minute later, complaining that he couldn't keep up with me. I was too shocked to laugh at the pun. He explained that he saw me took off and the guy stopped running at the junction. The guy later went back without touching my brother. I was so glad that my brother was unharmed. That was my primary concern.
Rage took over me. I was determined to lodge a complain at Subway. People like that should not exist on this planet. The very least I can do is to get him fired, so that other people will not be victimised. I forgot where Subway was, since it has been a year since I set foot on the city. I took my courage and asked a random passer-by for help. I did say previously that city people do not call out to random strangers. So the couple ignored me before I asserted that I want to know where Subway was. I went to the nearest one which was at the Carillon City food court at the same street. I thanked them and headed down to Subway.
I searched wildly for Subway, like a hungry lion looking for a prey. I spotted it and went to lodge a complain. Sadly, my complain wasn't taken seriously by the branch manager. He could not understand what I say, and handed me a serviette with the Subway hotline written on it. He told I could voice my complain there. I was told by one of the staff that they do not hire anyone to advertise burgers for them.
I was shocked beyond belief. He had been faking it all along! It was all a set-up. I never felt so humiliated in my life. The expression on my face was despair and panic, and I think I scared everyone there. I think I looked like a psycho. =|
I thanked them and walked away sadly. I kept the serviette with me, determined to phone Subway later. At that time, I simply had to shop for books. They provide solace, especially after the stupid traumatic event.
No, I didn't call Subway in the end. There was simply too little information I can provide. I can describe his appearance and the place it happened but that was about it. I doubt there was anything the Subway people can do anyway, since I didn't have his name. I tore the serviette into pieces and threw it away. Damn it, the fucking dickhead got away! He is going to harass more people now. Or maybe tell the entire world how he has managed to get a stranger do his bidding and exert his supremacy.
No justice was served. It was so unfair! =(
My younger brother had me relate the experience to my older brother and his girlfriend. They had wanted to laugh at my story, but they didn't. And I was really surprised. They gave me different advices on how to handle such situations. My elder brother told me to either ignore him or tell him to fuck off if he keeps persisting. It is the city after all, and it can be a treacherous place. His girlfriend taught me to break the advertisement in front of him, and walk away. It sounded pretty cool, and I was envisioning the likely outcome of the situation. Alas, I couldn't do anything since it had already happened.
This experience has really shattered my liking for the city. I love cities, I love to be a city dweller one day. I feel really sad to know the city isn't as safe as I think. I mean, they do portray those in movies, but I never thought it can actually happen to me.
It did, and I will never forget it. It scarred me for life, I guess (or maybe that is another exaggeration). And the very thought that evil is more evil than that is not comforting at all. It changed my future visits to Hay Street and Murray Street malls. I now avoid passing Woolworths, and I am now more careful of myself. My brother warned me that place is a hang-out spot for delinquent teenagers.
I guess the old adage of "never talk to strangers" still applies no matter how old you are.
I was so afraid of going back the next day, but I'm not going to let paranoia get the best of me. After all, I need to make repeated visits to Borders since it is such a wonderful haven for book-lovers. I'm glad Borders is some distance away from Woolworths.
When I once visited Garden City shopping mall and Carillon City, I spotted him AGAIN! I immediately went into OMG mode and immediately retraced my steps. I can't believe I can bump into him twice! Especially in places like Perth where the population is about a million. What are the odds of that happening? And the worst thing was that he wore the same outfit! =| That was freaky. I don't know whether my eyes are playing tricks on me or not. I'm just glad I wasn't seen by him, or whoever he was.
Or maybe I have developed a fear for large freckled Caucasian with blonde shaggy hair who wears black outfit. Is there even such a fear?! =O
My mind is so twisted...
I regretted not even trying to call Subway and lodge a complain. I mean, I think it's worth a try. *sigh* I have failed to stop a monster...
And I do wonder, why of all people was I picked? Is it racism? My vulnerable appearance? My brother suggested that I looked too nice and an easy target. =(
I did get something out of this experience though. I think I now understand harassment and humiliation, and I now know how to handle similar situations...