The strangest thing happened a couple of days go. It was nothing to do with living in China and everything to do with people being really strange creatures.
Myself and my flatmate had stopped to get some New York fries (a fairly new place that sells cheesy chips with gravy!) on the way home from work. We were sitting inside, quite near the back, happily munching away. I was sitting with my back to the window and door, my flatmate E was opposite me. Suddenly an arm reached past me and picked up E’s chips. My first thought was that it was a member of staff and there was some problem, then I noticed that the colour of the sleeve was different to the uniform.
The next thought, which we both had, was that it was someone we knew playing a joke. I turned around as the man started to walk off with E’s chips, which was when I got a good look at him and realised he was a complete stranger (E is notorious for having awful facial recognition, so she was looking to me for confirmation). E called out ‘Excuse me’ quite loudly a couple of times but the man just kept walking – right out of the shop!
She got up and ran after him, asked him what he thought he was doing and forcibly took her chips back off him. He said that he’d just been robbed on the subway – could he have some fries? She, of course, said no! But as he was quite a bit taller and bigger than her and she wasn’t sure how he would react if she said anything more, she left it at that and came back in.
It was the most bizarre thing ever.
Just to add a bit more context, the man was American and had to walk past all the Chinese men and women in the shop to get to us. There was another man at the counter (who E thought was American but turned out to be Canadian) and as she came back in he asked if she’d known him, so he obviously thought the same as us at first.
We wondered if maybe he had something to do with it, maybe it was some kind of dare? However, we found out later that he didn’t, completely by chance. That evening we went out for food and a drink with a few other friends. As we were chatting an arm reached past us all and picked up E’s wine…
As we’d just relayed the story from that afternoon, the whole table of us were ready to leap out of our seats at this guy! He must have seen the looks on our faces, as he quickly gave the wine back and explained that he was the man that had been stood at the counter and seen the whole thing. He also thought it was a really strange thing to happen and had told his friends about it too. E was slightly traumatised by the whole thing – especially it happening twice in one day! – and became very protective over all her things from then on, for which I don’t blame her at all!
My other thought to try and explain this bizarre behaviour was that if E had been alone it could have been a ruse to get her away from her bag, but she was quite clearly sitting with me and it wouldn’t have been easy to get to her bag as the table was in between her seat and anyone walking past.
Neither of us have ever heard of someone walking into a place, picking up someone else’s food and walking out again, in any country we’ve been in!
Any ideas or thoughts fellow bloggers?