I would just like to share with you an unforgettable experience I had that started on Raine's first birthday last November 4th.
My whole bag was stolen during my daughter’s first birthday party! In the bag was about 45,000. I was going to pay the party venue, the party needs supplier & later that week I was planning to get hubby’s laptop w/c was under repair at Acer. So as you can see, the money was already allotted for very important stuff. As I looked at the pics of the party afterwards, and after talking to my best friend Hazel, the last person I was with before it got stolen, this is what most probably happened:
Hazel & I were talking while the programme was winding down. I noticed that I was about to get called for my birthday wish for Raine so I reached into my bag (which was on my lap) to check my face in the mirror. Suddenly, my brother was calling me to go up on stage already so I hurried to the front & placed my bag at the first chair on the front table, beside my niece's diaper bag. An officemate & my siblings were seated on the table across the bag. I carried Raine & everyone stood up & sang her a happy birthday. After the candle-blowing & everyone had seated again I looked in the direction of the bag. My heart skipped a beat, it wasn’t there! Only about 5 minutes had passed since I had put it down. I called to my yaya Sarah if maybe she got it but she hadn't. I was in a panic, I was hoping maybe it fallen under the table. While I was giving the lootbags, I felt a cold sweat creeping down my back. My bag & everything in it: cash, credit cards, cellphone, and other valuable personal items were all gone in just 5 minutes.
The assistant of the party-needs supplier said she had noticed a 40-ish woman dressed in a yaya's uniform earlier while they were setting up. She asked what time Raine's party was. Of course she must've read the welcome banner by the entrance & the happy birthday sign on the stage. Later, my cousin also noticed that this "yaya" seemed to be going back & forth from the other party beside ours. At the time my cousin thought nothing of it cos she could've been 1 of the yayas of the kids, she just thought maybe she was bored & was checking out the other parties in Dad's. Later, my cousin said she had bumped into her again & saw her with a black bag! Waaaaaaaaah!!!! That was mine!
My Dad paid for the party & had to withdraw some cash to pay the party-needs supplier. (Apple, the party supplier, was very business-like throughout our negotiations but she was genuinely sympathetic when it happened. Her hubby who was the photographer immediately downloaded the pics to check if maybe a pic of the thief could've been taken. When they left she even hugged me.)
Needless to say my Dad, brother & friends helped me call up the credit card companies and my mobile company to block them all so that evil woman wouldn't be able to use any of them. I felt so bad. I felt violated, helpless, defenseless, exposed. This was a whole bag w/ a lot of money! Hubby who was working abroad had just sent that money the other day. Plus it was Raine's 1st bday, one that almost didn't happen because of the Glorietta Mall blast. I kept thinking, I should have just stayed put w/ my Glorietta reservation or I should have just moved the party back a week or I shouldn’t have had the party at all.
It was my first time to be a victim, and I felt sooooooo bad. I couldn't sleep Sunday night.
Monday, I filed for an affidavit of loss. Thankfully, we have lawyers at the office so I didn't have to go to a Notary Public. I spent most of the day securing permits for replacement of my IDs, ATM, SIM card. Everyone was so sympathetic.
Tuesday, was Raine's interview at the U.S. Embassy. I had to set aside my bad feelings & focus on the interview at hand. If Raine got denied I'd go crazy! Even if we had an appointment we still had to stand in line to get a number for the fingerprint scanning for 2 hours. Yayas were not allowed inside so I was carrying Raine the whole time, her in 1 arm & my bag w/ all my supporting documents in the other. Add to that, there was no airconditioning in the Embassy Pavilion, only fans, so it was pretty hot. Thankfully, she wasn't cranky, just super malikot. At about 3pm we finally got into the aircon room for the interview, my sked was supposed to be at 1pm. The family before me was grilled. The American consul barked such questions as, “What is your job? How much do you earn? Your salary cannot cover a plane ticket to the U.S.!”. I was really nervous, I looked at the consul & started praying the "Anima Christi".
When it was our turn, it was as if something came over the consul, he smiled at me & Raine. I told the consul that I was getting a visa for my daughter & that I had one already. She asked how old Raine was & I said she turned one just last Sunday. She greeted Raine a "happy birthday". I asked him if he wanted to see my own passport & he said no. He asked me also where I worked, how many kids I have, when was the last time I was in the U.S. He asked where my husband was. I explained about his job & asked if he wanted to see Rynor's papers. He said there would be no need. He stamped Raine's passport & told me to proceed to Delbros to pay for the delivery of Raine's visa! Raine was given a 10-yr visa. I was so happy! He didn't even look at my own passport or any of the supporting documents I brought! Hallelujah!
Tuesday night, Nov. 6 I got a text that my IDs & cards were found in a paperbag in Magallanes MRT station! I was at first suspicious, what if it was a trap? I called the number, he said he was a janitor at the station & found a wet paperbag beside the escalator containing all my cards. He said he suspected that I had been robbed & the thief must've dumped all my identification in that paperbag. I wondered how he got my cellphone number because it's not in any of my IDs or my calling card. I realized that the janitor saw my cellphone number in Raine's invitation! I went to the MRT station the next day. Puro IDs, credit cards & my baby pictures. No wallet, no bag, just the small leather case where I put my IDs.
I learned 2 very important things during those past 3 days: 1) that even if there are heartless people in the world who would steal during a children's bday party, they are outnumbered by kind & good people and 2) never underestimate the power of prayer, I prayed hard that my IDs would be returned somehow & I prayed hard that the consul wouldn't bombard w/ me questions & both my prayers were answered!