We've all heard the stories, the cautionary tales of a young naive tourist wandering around a foreign country only to get attacked, pickpocketed, and left lost without a cellphone or dime to spend. When ever I used to hear those stories, I would laugh. It seems so obvious to me that this tourist was asking for it! Purse wide open, map sprawled out in front of them, unaware of his/her surroundings, how could they have not expected it? But, I learned the hard way that there is a reason people tell these cautionary tales...It's because they actually can happen.

Last Friday night my friends and I decided to venture out of our comfortable bubble of markets and South Kensington and explore different parts of the city. We wound up in Soho, the very new york-esque area of London where sex shops are a norm and urinals are conveniently located in the middle of the street. But don't get the wrong idea; Soho is incredible. Really good food. 

Anyway, as we walked out of the tube station, we went up the stairs and were immediately pushed into the packed crowds of people, pushing left and right. It was, after all, Friday night, so everyone was out looking for a good time. I followed the flow in the sea of people, inching slowly along the sidewalk, when suddenly I felt something hit my purse. Now, I should tell you, my purse is not like that naive tourist's, wide open for the world to see. My purse actually had a metal clasp to secure it shut, a feature I had always considered fairly theft proof. Right? Wrong. So where was I? Ah yes, something hit my purse. Upon feeling this, I looked down and immediately noticed that my purse was open, clasp undone. A slight tinge of panic surged through me. I quickly looked inside, taking inventory of my iPhone, wallet, keys... But where was my British phone?

The dark haired man next to me glanced over and I instantly knew what he had done. I had been pickpocketed. The good part was, this man's plan obviously was not extremely well thought out. We continued to move along, trapped in the crowds of people, but he had nowhere to run to, no means of escape. I looked him up and down with my best "I know you just took my phone" facial expression, then the crowd began to thin and he darted in front of me. I understand that this is exactly what you're not supposed to do, but my immediate thought was to tackle him. Full-on jump on his back and rip my phone from his greasy little hands. I began to follow him, contemplating the best way to pounce, when suddenly he bent over slightly, dropped my phone on the ground, and ran away, back into the crowds.

"Thanks a lot!" I screamed after him. And just like that, I had my crappy £12 pay-as-you-go phone back. It was so crappy that not even the pickpocketer wanted it.

And that is the story of how I was pickpocketed in London.

I was extremely lucky that nothing else was taken and even more lucky that he gave me back  my phone, but the experience was still eye-opening. People do get attacked, people do get robbed, and people don't even always notice. So this is my message to anyone travelling or going out at night: be safe, be aware of your surroundings, and please do not try and attack the guy who stole your phone. That's probably not the smartest idea.