This is a personal story. And not a good one.
I was in the outskirts of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, with an Italian friend. We were going to a friend’s house for our last party-weekend in Lithuania. It was around 9pm on Friday and even though the bus wasn’t full there were people inside. I and my friend were sitting on the last seats at the end of the bus, my friend had a big luggage and a big backpack which were laying in front of us, on the floor, just next to the exit doors. I had my day-backpack next to me on another seat. So, at one point a guy in front of us start to staring at us; he had a grumpy face, but in Lithuania, it’s quite common, unfortunately. It’s also common that people stare at us because we were speaking Italian, and I discovered how people love hearing my native language, “it’s like a song”, they say. So, I didn’t care too much about that guy. After a bit, he stands up right in front of us, next to the exit, looking at us, sometimes. I noticed him meanwhile me and my friend we were talking and I thought “what this guy wants?”. Some seconds later the bus was stopping and this guy came closer whispering something, I and my friend said “what?”, we didn’t hear a single word. The bus stopped and the doors were opening. The guy pulled out the knife with one hand and with the other one took my friend’s backpack. Grabbed the backpack, he started to go outside the bus, always with the knife pointed at us. I and my friend reacted immediately and simultaneously grabbed the backpack, blocking the guy just outside the bus. We were two against one, pulling the backpack, and we won. The backpack, torn out from his hands, flew in my friend’s hands inside the bus. I found myself outside with the guy who took my shirt collar meanwhile we were pushing each other, pointing the knife on my throat. He told me “come with me” trying to push me into the near underpass. I said “go fu***ng away from me” and I pushed him away, definitely. At that moment my friend was coming back to help me and yelling “come inside!!” grabbing me inside, meanwhile, the guy ran away.
I and my friend sit on the bus, we looked at each other and we started to laugh. My friend said “what the f**k just happened?” and I said “I think we have too much adrenaline in our body, now”. I’m not sure but I think people inside the bus were staring at us with an interrogative face because we were laughing after a fight.
I thought inside that backpack were just clothes. My friend told me that inside were his laptop and camera and all the electronics and valuables. I was happy to know that he didn’t lose anything.
All this lasted for a few seconds, and I remember there were people inside and outside the bus looking at us meanwhile we were fighting. I think nobody saw the knife because it was always between him and us before, and him and me after. And the funny thing is that the bus driver waited for us before closing the doors and start again like nothing happened, so, for sure he saw everything on the rearview mirror. Thanks, buddy!
After, with my friend, we started to ask ourselves if our reaction was a good idea or not. Because he could cut us and turn a party-weekend in an hospital-weekend. For both of us was just instinct reaction, we didn’t think anything. My brain started to work again just when everything was finished. It was my first, and hopefully, the last time someone pointed a weapon against me. And I don’t know if it was a wise idea react like that, someone says that we were fool, someone else brave. Maybe both of them. What do you think, we’ve done well or not?
The important thing is that in the end, nobody was hurt and nobody stole anything. But I would like to see that guy again one day, in prison…
I just want to point out a pair of things. This episode doesn’t mean that travel is dangerous. For me, it’s more dangerous don’t travel. Also, I don’t know if I can say that I was travelling, ’cause I lived in Lithuania and I was just visiting friends in another city. The danger is everywhere, I think there’s more probability to die inside your house for a domestic accident than going out and travel. And also it doesn’t mean that Lithuania is a dangerous place. I know that Lithuania is a safe country, we were just unlucky. When we reached my friend’s house after some minutes the attempted robbery, there was a Lithuanian girl who was born in Vilnius and she told us that it was the first time she heard something like that. Remember to not throw away the baby with the bathwater, please! It means that we shouldn’t think about a country, a race or whatever just because of a single or few episodes. Traveling also teaches this.
Always curious, keep exploring, Wo/a\nder