One of our many stops was the bustling historical metropolitan city of Rome. Before we headed off to eat, shop and tour ruins, our tour guide gave us some extra hints and tips about exploring Rome. As foreign tourists, we were easy marks for pickpockets -- so keep a close eye on our stuff.
With that extra note of caution, we headed out on our latest adventure. Rome was amazing. the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum...
As we strolled down one of the crowded shopping corridors, a young girl (maybe 11 or 12) popped out in front of us, and started asking me questions. I wasn't sure if she was trying to sell me something or...
... then I hit me. She was the distraction.
There were two more girls, slightly older, behind us. I quickly stiff-armed the young girl with a quick sweeping motion, pushing her out of the way. After we got a few steps away, my husband realized what happened as well. The "handlers" of these young girls were probably in an alley close by.
While this whole episode was disconcerting, I was glad that I acted on gut and was not pick-pocketed. The event was also a small window into another world where people are so desperate for money that they'll send their young girls out to steal.
I still don't know how I feel about that.
On the one hand, I can't imagine making my children do something so clearly wrong. On the other hand, I've never been a true outcast of society (these girls were likely Roma -- also known as Gypsies), with few options for employment. I've never been hungry for long periods of time.
This story was prompted by Working Mom Wednesday post "when I trusted my gut..."