Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Danny's Ordeal In London

The blood must have drained off from Danny Foo's face so much that must have made him look ashen pale. That look of shock was not missed by Janet Susan Kent who was disembarking from the same tube coach with Danny at Charing Cross Station. Janet whom Danny guessed to be in her early fifties, inquired if anything was wrong with Danny. Danny while still in shock replied that somebody had picked his pocket and his wallet which was placed in his front hip pocket was missing. This was big trouble for Danny as in the wallet was his Credit card, Debit Card, student card and also his Malaysian identity card. Big trouble Danny thought as he won't be able to exit the station without his train tickets and he will be fined for not being able to produce the ticket. The fine will not only be expensive but there is no way that Danny could pay for it without any money on him.

Janet had a son who once was in a similar predicament while studying in a foreign country. Someone had helped his son and now she felt it was time to payback the good deed that the good Samaritan had done to her son.

Janet immediately asked Danny to list what items he had lost in his wallet and check his rucksack to see if his passport was intact. A loss of his Malaysian passport would only mean bigger trouble but fortunately for Danny, it was still there. So was his phone which was in the other pocket.

Together with Janet they walked to station's office and Janet being a local, her explanation was accepted by the authorities and Danny was able to exit the station without having to pay any fine. Just imagine how it would have been if Danny was alone. They may not even believe him.

Janet's help did not end there. With Danny penniless and having lost all his cards, there was no way for Danny to get going. She then took Danny to the police station to lodge a police report. The first thing that the police offered Danny was a phone to make calls to the cards company to block any transaction on the cards. How I wish our police would do the same to people who happened to experience similar situation in Malaysia. It is important that you keep a list of all the cards you have so that you can easily report them after losing them but never keep the pin numbers written and place together in the same wallet. You must also be able to answer all the security questions when they want to verify you so better don't take the security question lightly.

Having done all that with the local bank, Danny called home to his mum in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia to report the loss on the supplementary credit card given by them. Now all the cards that were lost will be useless to the thief. The thief will get nothing from Danny as there was not a penny in the wallet as Danny had just used the last 10 pounds he had in the wallet to pay the deposit for the room key at a hostel earlier. The only other thing of value could be the meal vouchers from Mac Donald which was good enough for three meals. Danny was actually going to the ATM to withdraw some cash. The only item of value was just the wallet itself as it was a good wallet.

Janet then took Danny to a cafe and ordered a pot of tea for both of them. Janet knew that a cup of tea could calm Danny's nerve and allow him to get over the traumatic experience faster.

Recapping the incident, Danny remembered being bumped by a group of people in the coach upon reaching Leicester Square Station as Danny was standing at the exit since his stop Charing Cross was the next stop. It was at the time of being bumped that the pickpocket had done the sleight of hands to pick his pocket. It was about 4 PM that evening and Danny wanted t visit the museums around Trafalgar Square when this thing happened.

In his two years of studying law at Cardiff University which was three hours drive South West of London., Danny had been very careful with his things especially the wallet. He would always carry them in the front pocket of his trousers and constantly feel for them with his hand to ensure its safety. Danny also never carry more than 15 pounds in his pocket. Any bigger purchase will be paid via the debit card or the credit card. So there was no necessity at all for him to carry any bigger amount of money.

Danny had graduated from Cardiff University in 2008 and was at the tail end of his stay in England. His mum and dad attended his Call-to the bar at Middle Temple in London recently but he opted to stay on longer to do a tour of England to see the other cities which he had never been to before he leave England for good. On this tour so far he had done Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and was currently doing London before doing Gloucester next.

It was while having tea with Janet that Danny called his friends who were residing in London for help. The first friend, a Brit, was out of London and wouldn't be able to help much. The second friend was a Malaysian who agreed to lend Danny 50 pounds and also help to buy the train ticket online for him to continue with his journey. Buying the tickets at the station would be too expensive and without any credit card, it was impossible for him to buy online.

Before parting, Janet insisted that Danny take 10 pounds from her to allow Danny to move around in London while waiting for his Malaysian friend to lend him the money and collect his train ticket from him. Such was Janet's kindness. To Danny, she was Godsend.

Danny had repaid all the loans that was extended to him and even the ten pounds that Janet gave him. As far as Janet was concerned, she had repaid the good deed of the person who helped her son while Danny still owe his debt till he finds another person to help.

To Janet Susan Kent, on behalf of Danny's family and Malaysians we would like to record a word of thanks for helping a complete stranger in distress.
Hopefully we all could learn a lesson or two from Danny's ordeal in London.

Here are a list of things Danny want to share with us:
1. Keep a list of the card numbers in another place.
2. Never keep the pin numbers in the wallet.
3. Keep some money elsewhere other than the wallet so that you can have access to some monies if your wallet get stolen.
4. When riding a tube, try to sit down and if you have to stand up, try to lean against a wall or something. Avoid standing at the exit unless you are arriving at your station.
5. Never assume that it will never happen to you. One day it might happen so better take note and be prepared.


Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Kak Teh said...

Pak Zawi, this is a story that I hear quite often. There are many ifferent tricks of a mugger. They can 'sandwich' you whle you are boradng train or bus; the one in front will delay you and ask silly questions, while the one at the back pick your pocket, some will try to distract you by causing unnecessary distraction, and while you are looking elsewhere, another will get away with your bag/wallet.
In restaurants never put your handbags on the floor - always keep them near you.
Having aid all these, this happens everywhere, not just london alone. Muggers/conmen use the same manual. Even for someone livinghere, I have fallen victims a number of times.

Losing a passport abroad can be a very inconvininet affair - not just because you need a travel document home, but because a Malaysian passport is one of the most expensive in the 'market'. A lot of people can pass off as Malaysians. And the authorities do not take lightly a loss passport - thus, you are looking at a couple of years before you get a new one. I would suggest that if you are travelling, leave your passport at a safe box in the hotel or at home. Only take it along with you when you are leaving, and claiming VAT in the shops.

Pak Zawi said...

Kak Teh,
The mum was so worried as neither Danny nor her could reach Suhaimi for help. they had just met Suhaimi in London. By the way Danny's mum was our ex form teacher while we were in form 5 in 1968. She was at a loss on who to ask in London to help. I would have asked you or Nick habgood if she had asked me. My guess is she didn't expect a person like me to know anybody in London hahahaha.
Anyway it was lucky that a good Samaritan happened to be there with Danny. This post was to tell Janet how much society owe people like her.
We will take note of your advice on safety when travelling.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Good samaritans exist everywhere, Abang Zawi! What a good person Janet is. Danny would have been so lost and helpless without her. Now that we've read your blogpost, we will not think twice about taking the time to help someone in trouble. Too often we think that we're in a hurry, we don't have time to help, the person in trouble could ask the authorities for help and that it's none of our business. Now we see that even simple acts of kindness could mean a lot to someone in trouble.

Gurindam Jiwa said...

Orang baik di dunia ni, semua bangsa dan agama ada. Begitu juga orang jahat, semua bangsa dan agama pun ada. Tidak eksklusif kepada sesuatu bangsa atau agama sahaja.

Cuma jalan yang lurus bab akhirat tu lain sikit lah. Kita boleh do'a.

Salaam Ramadhan & Eidul Fitri. Jaga makan & jaga ibadat ye... :-)

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
Most Malaysians are still reluctant to assist other people in distress for reasons as stated by you. They will only think different when the mishap happens to themselves or their loved ones. I will be happy if those who read this post will take care of their valuables better while travelling or better still, help others in distress.

Pak Zawi said...

Hati baik ada pada semua orang kecuali mereka yang memang jahat.
Selamat Hari Raya, maaf zahir batin.

mekyam said...

helping is the best gift we can give to anyone. often it doesn't cost any money, just plain ol' goodwill!

kudos to people like Janet!

p.s. pokwi, wishing you and yours "selamat menyambut aidilfitri!"

p.p.s. h & i are flying off on monday after raya!

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hi Pak Zawi,

Life is beautiful! I sincerely think there are still many good samaritans in this world, thank goodness to that.

Just drop by to convey my greetings to u, the missus & the family, grandchildren & all.

'Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri'.

Have a great & Peaceful one.


Pak Zawi said...

janet not only counselled Danny. She also gave him 10 pounds never expecting it to be repaid. So that makes janet all the more outstanding. In a buzy city like London, not many people could spare the time for others like she did.
Thanks for the Raya greetings. Selamat hari Raya to you too and may your travel tp Austria be safe. Hope your in laws will get better.
Please convey my regards to your H.
Pak Zawi

Pak Zawi said...

Janet proved that there are good Samaritans around.
Thanks for the greetings. Keep well my friend.

mm said...

Selamat hari raya and enjoy the family pak zawi, i am still following your blog though silent. i think i must be one of your first readers and boy, you've got such a status now. salute!
cheerio to all..

Pak Zawi said...

Thank you for the wishes.
Thank you again for being such a loyal reader. I really miss the gang in TZA's blog. It was fun then but I wonder what happened to him that he had to leave Tune Money after working hard for it.
Me having a status? What satus are u talking about? Hehehehe I am really keen to know. Yeah I am a painter now but there are millions of others who paint.
Take care.

Mrs Foo said...

Thank you for posting Danny's experience in your blog, Zawi. I would like to record my thanks and gratitude to Janet for her helping hand in the hour of need of my son. Though very worried and apprehensive, I heard a reassuring voice in the background when he first called home. Later,in our subsequent conversations he was calm and confident that he would be able to get by.This, I believe was in a lage part due to you, your advice and your caring attitude.

Zawi,That, and my confidence that my SOS to a London friend wouldbe answered caused me not to call on anyone else. i did think of asking you too especially after reading your Europe/UK trip.

BTW, a friend in the States read your blog and e-mailed Danny's ordeal to his brother(an ex-student of mine)in KL. And, he asked me,' danny was pick-pocketed eh? It was in the newspaper!' You write like a reporter. Ahem!

Pak Zawi said...

Mrs. Foo,
I did what I thought was best to reflect that we all are grateful to good samaritans like Janet. We all should emulate Janet.
Did I write like a reporter? Must be a poor version of a reporter. Anyway I am happy if you find the post useful.