As I headed out the door, I noticed that both handles on my handbag were cracked in the same place. I realized I was going to need a new handbag soon. Right now I had errands to run before delivering three back to back TEDx style 18 minutes presentations for RUMC Job Seekers, an awesome event for professionals in transition and business owners looking for strategic ways to grow business.
I pulled out of the garage at my condo and realized I’d forgotten a flyer for the LinkedIn Workshop I am doing on April 25. I made a quick u-turn, back into the garage, parked and locked my car. I’m not an elevator gal with just five floors, so I ran the stairs, got into my place, grabbed the flyer off my desk and headed back down.
I came flying out the door at the foot of the stairs. Everything was quiet, a couple were walking their dog in the sun just outside the garage. Construction was going on, as it had been for months, across the street. I walked to my car just 20 feet away and was horrified to see my driver’s side window smashed in.
No alarm, no siren, just silence. I was stunned. Immediately I realized my purse was gone and I turned and ran to the leasing office.
It was 5:45PM and they were about closed up for the day, I got lucky, one agent was still in the office. My phone was in my purse, along with my wallet, my passport, my iPad, my favorite reading glasses, my notes from several client meetings, and a handful of business cards from an event the week before that I’d planned to follow up on.
All gone in just 7 minutes and no way to notify the police or call for help save for Shannon in the office. I was too relieved to be scared and still in shock from seeing my driver side window smashed to pieces and glass littering the inside of my car.
As we waited for the police, I asked if she’d meet them so I could go upstairs and use my land line (I keep it for webinars and teleseminars) to call the credit card companies and start cancelling everything, including Verizon to cancel my phone (it had a GPS tracker but the thieves were smart enough to turn it off.)
The police came and went, I was making one last call to my Visa when they asked me if I’d shopped at Footlocker that evening. I said “no” what time? They said 6:48PM CST, it was 7:53PM EST so just 5 minutes previously the robbers had been shopping at one of Atlanta’s upscale malls with my credit card.
I called 911 and got a recording asking me to hold. Seriously. That was my most terrifying moment because I realized that had this been a life threatening emergency, I’d have been dead and dismembered by the time they got to me. YIKES!!
Not one to wait for the authorities, I called Footlocker and spoke with the Manager, then mall security (entirely useless), then the Dunwoody police. There I got a voicemail recording telling me to call 911. This time I got through but they said they couldn’t do anything since the theft had occured in Brookhaven, just 2 miles away so it was out of their jurisdiction (the mall is in their district). Perhaps I’ve watched too many TV crime shows, but this seemed totally whack to me.
I later discovered that the thieves had stayed at the mall and continued to enjoy shopping privileges afforded by my debit card. The only card that I forgot to cancel because I only use it for ATM purposes once or twice a month and don’t consider it a credit card. Duh!
At the end of the night, I’d cancelled the phone and activated a new one, my credit card replacements were on their way via uber secure courier, I had purchased LifeLock, and gotten a copy of my valid driver’s license to keep with me. Little did I know the ordeal was just beginning . . . I’ll share the more in the next post, but want to give you the BIG TAKE AWAYs.
Expensive & Painful Lessons (Glad they are mine and not yours this time!)
- Someone is Always Watching. (I’ve never left my purse in plain site before, ever. Now, I know why. Have you?)
- Have a Contingency Plan. (Color copy of my driver’s license, though not enough to replace it with, story to come. What’s your back up plan?)
- Bad Things Happen to Good People All the Time, It’s What We Do With Those Things That Matters. (I take action, what would you do?)
This story is still unfolding and more lessons to come, in fact a colleague has suggested an ebook to help protect others from the challenges I am now faced with. Currently, beyond the color photo of my license, I have no acceptable ID and that isn’t accepted by the government. What will I do differently and recommend going forward? Stay tuned!
AS ALWAYS, your comments are welcomed, just please leave the advice, admonishments, and questions about why I carried my passport, you’ll find that out in the next post!