It could only happen to me

Another spell in hospital. Time for reflection, and I had almost forgotten an incident that happened around thirty years ago.

I don’t know what triggered the memory, save that it is said son’s birthday today.

He had just finished boarding school and exams and had an interview for that first job. Our shopping list, as we walked through the pedestrianised shopping area in Chatham, consisted of a suit and shirt and tie.

We were strolling along in the bright sunshine when suddenly I heard the slap, slap, slap of feet running on the concrete walkway behind us. Just as the runner drew closer he slipped and, with a mighty crash, fell heavily on to the pavement directly to our rear.

I turned and exclaimed, ‘You went down with an awful thud. Are you all right?’ The young man looked up at me and I asked him if he was hurt. I began to gather all the bags he had dropped, neat little  boxes  and leaflets which were blowing about in the breeze.

I helped him to his feet. He was a little unsteady but I thrust everything I could find into the plastic shopping bags which had fallen on the ground and handed them to him.

‘Are you sure you are okay?’ I fussed.  He nodded and limped off heading towards M & S.

My son and I were looking for a men’s outfitters still in search of a suit and shirt to impress the interviewers.

The men’s outfitters had what we would have liked to buy but the suits were way beyond our budget so we made our way back to the shopping precinct to try the department stores.

It was only as we encountered a couple of policemen, then saw police cars lined up along the edge of the walkway that we realised something was amiss.

I stopped by one of the cars and asked the policeman what had happened.  ‘A young man has robbed Ratner’s the jewellers.  He’s got away with a good bit and was seen carrying plastic carrier bags and heading in this direction.’ explained the sergeant.

‘I think you will find he went into M & S.’ I said.

I didn’t hang around to elaborate or to explain my part in helping the robber escape with his ill-gotten gains or why my fingerprints would be on all the jewellery boxes I had so carefully picked up and crammed into the plastic shopping bags.


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