Was happy I could leave work while it is still daylight. Besides my colleagues have all abandoned me so time to get changed (into my cycling gear), went to my bicycle, unlocked it but it wouldn’t move. Someone locked my bicycle to the fixed bicycle stand!
All sorts of questions went through my mind. Who would do such a thing?! Did someone make a mistake? Who could it be?!
There is a shop/cafe right in front of this so I went in to ask. They were quite busy so they kinda ignored me, saying it wasn’t them. Because I was looking frust, they gave me “permission” to go and ask their customers in the garden cafe.
It is not me to ask strangers. I had to go from table to table asking if they came by bicycle – it’s in a posh-ish neighbourhood. Many drove expensive cars, some live nearby; or if they locked my bicycle by mistake. Everyone said no and they were as bewildered as me. Who, in their right mind, would have done such a thing?! This is a society of lawfulness. Really, who would do such a thing?! A customer even came out of the cafe to take a look because she can’t believe anyone would.
I can’t believe it myself. It is after all a cheap bike, not an expensive branded mountain bike. It is also not a special “Hollander” bike that many people like to have for a city bike.
A colleague happened to walk by and I asked him what to do, if I should call the police and he said it happened to him before. The police won’t help. I have to cut the lock myself. Hm. I don’t have any tool and have no idea who to call.
There is a designer clothing store, a book store, an optical shop, a cinema and a hairdresser nearby so I went in to every one of them and asked. Same reaction.
One kind customer at the book store came out to see it for himself. Such a ridiculous thing.
Another bicycle that has a flat tire is also locked to the bicycle stand with the same kind of lock. An ABUS bicycle “chain” lock. A quick search on the internet showed that it cost 45 EUR. That is even more expensive than my bicycle. Puzzling!
The customer and the book store staff starting playing “detectives”. They came to a conclusion that there is a bicycle-thieve syndicate. The idea was, the person(s) locked my bicycle to the stand so that they can come by late tonight and hull i.e. steal my bicycle away. Again, it is a CHEAP bike. Why would anyone go through all that trouble?!
My “detectives” were locals so I asked them what I should do, should I call the police and they say yes. They were interested to know i.e. ask the police if it is a “common practice”/trend here. They gave me a number to call but it turned out to be the fire station. I was a bit amused because the locals didn’t even know the number for police. When I dialled the police, there was a recorded message to ask me to hold. It was also recorded in English – good job!
Half an hour later, 2 policemen showed up in a police car. They took a look at the situation and said they do not have the tool. By now, my “detectives” have left but one of them – the customer – came back. He wanted to help me explain his theory to the police. The police was entertaining him and they had a long chat but the conversation also went into asking How is it like being police these days, what kind of (subsidised) housing he lives in etc. Kinda funny. There I was, wondering who would have done such a thing to my bicycle and how to remove it, and the man and the police standing there talking about the weather.
The police told me I should get someone to come and cut the lock because they don’t have the tool to do it. I could only think about our janitor. We are after all an engineering company. Surely we must have some heavy duty tool but our janitor is not the most reliable person. He had often said he will come by but a week later, he is still missing. He does like me so I called him. Thankfully he answered my call even though it was after-office hour. He said he will come by in half an hour.
I told the police I’m not sure if our janitor has the right tool since the janitor hasn’t seen what kind of lock it is. So the police called another station nearby who happened to have a “cutter” so they will go and pick it up and come back.
As they were gone, our janitor showed up with a power cutter. 2 minutes later, FREE!
A day ago, I read up on office fengshui. I re-arranged my desk where it said where I should place certain things like the phone so that I will be good network-ed. That fengshui really worked! I owe the janitor a bier!
I waited for the police to return so that it’s not like I “ran off” while they were so nice and so helpful. They would’t let me take photos of them so you only have my words to believe 🙂 They said cheekily, the next time it will cost me. I thanked them and one of them said a cake would be nice. HAHA!
What a wonderful way to get “absorbed” into the local culture, the kindness of humans and the belief I had. To think that when we were growing up, our parents will threaten us with the police if we do not behave ourselves, that we distant and avoid them but the few times I needed them, they always turn out to be nothing to be afraid of.