"Bad things happen sometimes and how we deal with the situation can alter the impact that it has on us"- EducatingKavita
Whilst in Frankfurt I had my backpack slashed sighs (I had left my backpack locked on my bed as there was nothing of value inside it). I had been charging my external battery during the night and considered leaving it under my pillow to complete its charge, but something inside me (let’s call it intuition/gut feeling) didn’t feel comfortable with the idea and so I locked it away in the locker and headed down to breakfast.
I sat down with my food whilst chatting to other people from my room and discovered that someone’s’ camera had been stolen from the same room the night before. The thought made me feel uneasy and I considered heading back to the room.
Some time passed and eventually we all headed back to the room together. As soon as we entered the room I noticed that something was missing from my bed and so the frenzy began. Things had been taken out of my bag and placed around the room, my bag had been slashed and things had been haphazardly put back in and then placed back where I had left it. My heart was in my throat from fear even though nothing had been taken from my bag. All I could think about were my valuables in my locker, but the locker hadn’t been touched. There was one person still in the room who hadn’t left all morning. We all knew that it was them but nobody wanted to publicly point a finger due to them having a knife.
A member of staff soon arrived and tried to settle the situation but there was no way of accusing the person. The energy in the room had gotten darker and we all felt sick. I tried to keep busy by sewing up my bag but the ill feeling kept coming back in waves.
It took a while to get ready and leave the room. I decided to take all of my things with me and check my luggage into the main storage hold in the hostel. After that I sat with my book on the balcony; attempting to melt away the morning stress by bathing in the sunlight and getting lost in a Paulo Coelho novel.
After some time, the member of staff from earlier came over and told me that he had finished his shift and offered to take me for a walk to get away from the hostel for a bit. In all honesty, I really did need some time away and so we went for a stroll. We walked to the old town and talked about the city of Frankfurt, he showed me places that I hadn’t seen yet and then he walked me back to the hostel again. It was a very kind gesture that helped restore some balance of the day.
Back at the hostel I was with the English girls from my room and we sat discussing our travels and where we would be heading next. A man came and sat down at the table, he was quiet but polite. The girls explained that he was from France, was of middle eastern decent and didn’t speak much English.
One of the girls had been friendly and polite to him and they had become friends. He was so grateful that someone had made the effort to speak to him that he just kept thanking her and then he disappeared and came back with a large bar of chocolate for everyone. The man wasn’t creepy or weird, he was just grateful and with that he made everyone promise to look after his new friend and then left.
It was such a beautiful end to a day that started out so terribly. But the reason that I highlight this is due to the negative image that the media has been presenting about Muslims in France and other countries around the world. And I guess that this man’s gratitude broke my heart as the girl had simply been friendly and accepting. But for him it was an extraordinary gesture that was sadly unique.
Now, when I look back on this day, I no longer remember the negative emotions about my bag, but instead the kindness of the staff member and the gratitude of the French man. In all honesty it was a great day... it just didn't start that way.