The case of the metro thief who stealthily stole my phone out of my coat pocket so I somehow instinctively grabbed him by his collar and asked him nicely to give it back

I have preface this to say that over the on and off period of living in France (mostly Paris) over the past 13 years, NO ONE has ever stolen from Libby. Oh, but have they have definitely tried.

My American friend and I had just finished a lovely meal at my favourite restaurant in Paris, "Chez Pradel Bastille" and were at Bastille metro station on the platform to go home. 

I had briefly looked at my phone on the platform. The phone was not a new model being between four to five years old. 

As the train arrived on the platform and as we enter the carriage, I place my phone into my right pocket of my coat. 

There was quite a short man who brushed past us walking towards the of the middle of the train. I am not sure why but I instinctively put my right hand into my pocket. I had not felt a thing but perhaps my pocket was light. I just thought it maybe felt light (it is light in any case) and of course my phone was gone.

I admit that this guy was slick! Wow! (I have to give credit where credit is due).

But somehow; almost like it was an automattic action, I took a few steps forward and took hold of the back of this jacket collar and said (nicely of course, I don't yell).
"Non, non, non. Donnes-moi mon portable..."
"No, no, no. Give me back my phone..."
He did not turn around but my phone swiftly dropped into my hand. I was in shock.
My friend exclaimed:
"Wow... You. Have. Hands of lightening!
I began laughing because it was true and also because I could not believe what had happened.

I looked down at my hands like they were magic!
"I know, right?!"
I don't know how I did it. At this stage, we kind of had completely forgotten this little man who had quickly made his way to the closest door in the middle of the carriage.

This had been unbelievably smooth! Usually, pickpockets have a process. They ascend the train carriage at one station, steal something, and then hop off at the next stop. Leaving the unknowing victim unaware until it is much too late.

Unfortunately for this wannabe pickpocket, we were uncontrollably laughing about it. I guess it was a combination of "this guy is so stupid", how on earth did I even notice, and then have the fast skills to get it back.

Seeing as this was still a time where covid was rife, I took out some mini sanitising wipes from my bag and gave my phone a wipe, stating:

"Knowing my luck, this guy has covid too. Can't be too careful"

It did appear to me that our talking was amusing some of passengers in the train and some were holding back laughter. I continued my little rant in disbelief at this attempt...

Est-ce que tu connais pas un truc qui s'appelle une "pandemie" qui se passe en ce moment? Tu sais que les frontières sont fermées? Alors, tout le monde à Paris est PARISIEN!"


"Haven't you heard of this thing called a "pandemic" right now? You know that the borders are closed? So, all the people in Paris are PARISIANS!"

 Meanwhile, the poor fellow has both hands up on the train door windows like some kind of frightened meerkat waiting desperately to get out at the next station. Suddenly, we have audible laughter coming from inside our carriage. 

It must have been the longest two minutes of this pickpocket's life!

This man learned a lesson that day. He now knows not to mess with this Australian. 

I have learned to be naturally hypervigilent. 

I was probably more annoyed that he even dared to think of that I was someone that would fall victim to theft. Libby was not amused.