The little train robbery

So as my doctors have prohibited me from driving due to my poor eyesight, I have become more confident and adept at getting around on Seattle’s public transportation. As I mentioned in my last post, my Orca card and light rail are a revelation, I ride the train several times a day and love its speed, efficiency and proximity to home. My ability to use public transport gives me independence that is really important to me. And the bus? Well, the bus is a great service and resource but I almost always would rather walk than wait. (That said, I could hug and kiss the geniuses who created “One Bus Away” for the iPhone to know in real time when the next bus is coming, I use it multiple times a day and it is the most useful and brilliant application ever.)

Yet as I am sure many thousands of longtime bus riders in South Seattle have noted long before me, there have been a number of experiences where I have felt less than safe walking by myself in the dark, in the rain, on deserted, poorly lit streets, often with my laptop in my backpack. (The worst so far was the walk from Rainier Health and Fitness to Othello street – dark, deserted, busted sidewalks, pools of water.) I feel like I am a fairly street smart person having lived in the South End for more than a decade and having worked as a journalist in many tough environments. I am often chastised for going all kinds of places by myself, without fear, but the past month has reminded me how poor a lot of our infrastructure and public safety (street lighting, sidewalks that are covered in water forcing people to walk on Rainier) continues to be.

Despite this, I feel like I have been getting around pretty well considering my poor vision makes me jumpy and am getting more confident about new bus routes and coming home by myself a little later. This confidence was shattered though last night. While coming home from an event for work at the UW, I was on the last leg of my bus and train journey and had gotten off at my usual Link stop in Columbia City around 10:30 p.m. and was walking on Alaska toward Rainier just a few blocks from the train to meet friends on my way home (a stretch I have always felt no qualms about) when a young man ran up behind me, grabbed me from behind, pushed me to the side and yanked my purse off from across my chest and body and then ran away across into a side street. Thankfully, because my purse was open on the top my wallet fell out in the street while he was running so I retrieved it.

I ran to Rainier and within minutes my friends were there to get me (thank you all) as I was super scared and shocked. While he did not get my wallet, he got my address, bank account number and house keys.

When I got home I called the police who came relatively quickly (I was surprised they came at all) and took a report. The officer asked if I was injured and whether my eye problem was a result of the robbery, and when we told them it was from brain surgery, then he said, “Well after brain surgery, getting robbed is nothing.” Which was really funny. Although I have to say that brain surgery did not shake my confidence or my overall trust in the safety of my environment like this experience did. The police officer said he would put in a request for monitoring of my house (we are changing the locks today).

He then told us that I was the latest in a string of robberies of people getting off the train, the others having been at the Othello station. He said the steady stream of riders on a schedule creates a great opportunity for people to rob train riders. This is a public safety issue that I hope will get more attention. So just a reminder to folks to be careful, conscious of your surroundings and take sensible precautions, especially at night. Despite my friends’ admonitions, I will still be taking the train and the bus but will be even more careful in the future and will probably have to “phone a friend” if I need a ride at night. Thanks again to everyone for all your support.

P.S. – For those following along on the medical bill count, this week brought an additional $37,000 bill (surgeons) and when I called to make financial arrangements on my portion was told not to bother just yet because there was another $30,000 in surgeon bills pending. This brings our running tally so far (for those keeping score at home 🙂 to: $217,000! How’s that Health Care Reform bill coming along again? While I am extremely lucky to have health insurance, please call your Senators today to tell them to vote for the bill WITH A ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION INCLUDED – so that no one has to go bankrupt (or worse) because they get sick.


18 Responses to The little train robbery

  1. Parker Wolf says:

    Damn girl.

  2. Girl, stay strong. What a bummer!!! Glad to hear that you’re okay though.

  3. Zola Mumford says:

    Glad that you weren’t injured, though it sounds very frightening. Give a call if you need a hand with rides or other help in the South End.

  4. Maria Manza says:

    I’m so glad to hear you were not insured, but I’m sorry that happened to you. There is constant security in the Id and Beacon terminals, I hope that they will find a way to make people safer at the Columbia City and Othello stops.I’m on Beacon if you ever need anything!

  5. Paola says:

    If you don’t mind the mess or the Glee soundtrack, I’m happy to offer you a ride when you need it!

  6. Carson Glickman-Flora says:

    How scary! I’m so sorry. I thought muggings were very uncommon in Seattle – that is some bad luck. Please give a call when you need a ride – it is no problem for us and we are right around the corner.

  7. Tracy Harachi says:

    Dang we should have asked how you got there last nt and given you a lift cause it was late. I’m sorry about this newest drama and unsafe feeling.

  8. Candace says:

    Gee, Naomi, I am so glad you are okay!!

  9. John Ellis says:

    Hey Naomi
    I live in Kent and work at PacMed on Beacon Hill. Put my cell in your phone. 425 761-0368. If you ever need a ride and I am nearby, give me a call. You are someone I would go out of my way to help. God Bless

  10. Deborah Buck says:

    I hope the shock is wearing off fast. I am so sorry! Take care.

  11. Zee says:

    Naomi, that’s awful! You should have Anne tell you the story she told me to make me feel better the second time I got mugged. It’s a good one.

  12. Angela D. says:

    Naomi, I am sending you love and light. It does pour sometimes. Your strength, grace, and attitude is a huge inspiration. Best wishes

    Youth Speaks

  13. dawnseattle says:

    A visit to Naomi on Friday found her looking great, full of smiles, eye perky and looking straight at me, even though she told me she sees two of me. She is a darling, a rare treasure to all of us. And just 24 hours hence, this occurs for her, I am pissed.

    Prior to the Link Rail opening at public meetings, a major issue was safety getting off of the train and having to navigate isolated stations and dark sidewalks. If there has been a string of these, why has the public not been informed?

    I am so very sick of how we run this city we are a city of smoke and mirrors; deceit abounds. Truth telling is tantamount to being rude; a pitiful culture of being nice, if you get upset, show emotion you are a threat. So we have young women believing that those in charge have heard the concerns and done something about it. My daughter who is the same age and confidence and independence as Naomi, had her home broken into two weeks ago, television and laptop stolen. No response from the police.

    I am so angry that this happened you, I will send you my phone number and contact info, assuming it was in the lost address book. Address books are the worst to have stolen.

  14. Peter V says:

    Naomi- your welcome to call and try me for a ride home also. If I am home its not a problem…glad to help.

  15. Mary Ann Midori Goto says:

    Thank you, Naomi, for sharing your journey. I’m glad you came out of that robbery incident all right. Sending you good thoughts. — Mary Ann

  16. Tom G says:

    After all you’ve been through, you didn’t deserve this. Stay strong and know that you have many, many people pulling for you.

  17. […] to the mugging incident at the Columbia City Link light rail station I wrote about in my last post. While I don’t feel comfortable getting into too much detail here, I did want people to know […]

  18. Kory Ishisaka says:

    I’m so proud of you and how well you have done!! Gotta love your attitude and good humor.. did you HAVE to title this ” Little Train Robbery”? When I read this almost spit coffee all over my screen , I know robbery is never funny but your humor is!!! Love from Cali!!

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