You know that moment you watch the news and hear about something horrible that happened? And you think, well if I was there, I would have done things differently. I would have just given him the money or I would have just ran away. I was like that. I was like that until I was put into a threatening situation. All the things I ever said I would do did not happen.
While I was at work, near closing time, a man who stole money from the top floor and was on the run, stabbed a co-worker who tried to stop him. I walked around the corner the moment all panic broke out. People started running away, screaming. I could hear someone cry hysterically. I tried to find out what happened and little by little a story came together. The victim was sat down near my workplace, holding his side. The police came shortly after. It was one big mess.
There was one thing that surprised me. I'm a person who panicks easily. I have had some panic attacks in the past. I didn't panic now. I was in a truly dangerous situation and my mind just went blank. There were no thoughts of running away, no thoughts of panicking. I knew I couldn't. I just had to fight. I had to help. There was a rush of adrenalin running through my veins. I helped a few customers with a fake smile on my face. I tried to act normal. People kept trying to see what was going on, as if it was some sort of circus act. We did what we could. Tried to block the view, keep things normal and assist the police where we could. The ambulance came, the victim was taken away and it wasn't until I saw him on the stretcher, with a heart monitor and all that shit, that I realised how serious it really was. He had been so brave sitting there, waiting until the ambulance came.
The police marked the chocolate department as the crime scene. The doors were closed, the lights dimmed and I suddenly started shaking. It all seemed to be a bad film. Unreal.
Police offered us victim support but I refused. I didn't see it happen so I didn't feel like I needed it. The next day when I arrived at work I was taken upstairs along with the other people present the night before. They insisted on victim support and I'm glad it happened. We all got to tell our side of the story and how we experienced it. It bonded us. At first we were all people working on different floors with barely any interaction at all. Now, we were all in the same boat. It helped to talk and it helped to know that the fear will go away. It's a natural response of the body. I'm now still wary in the dark, suspicious of strangers. I hope that that will become less overtime.
You don't really realise how fragile life is until you see someone you know fight for his. It can all be over in a split second. It made me value life more. It really made me realise to enjoy the little things. We live in a fucked up world. Nobody is safe. We shouldn't let fear take over. Because even though it's fragile, life is too precious to just let go without a fight.