Fascinating Rhythm! Getting started and getting robbed in LA
It might seem like I’m after an adventure because I just moved from Canada to LA, but that was really because I wanted to be able to go for pleasant walks every day of the year. I find major life events like moving (even across town) entirely overwhelming.
There was some relief when I arrived to LA because I had successfully escaped the cold and got to soak up some sun, and that affects my mood profoundly. But I still had an uneasiness as I thought ahead to the next couple of years in a new place.
By the grace of God shortly after I got here I was contacted about the most perfect job. A feature filming in LA with the script, cast, and production team that seemed like it was meant for me. It was a huge relief to feel like I was getting myself off on the right foot, but it honestly almost felt like it was too good to be true!
After signing my deal memo and attending the first production meeting, I drove home and passed Walt Disney Studios (with its pillars being held up by the 7 dwarves), Warner Brothers, and Universal. I thought to myself, wow, I’m really doing it, I’m really living - and working - in Hollywood.
My dreams had come true and I was over the moon. I called my little sister and told her all about it. The next day I requested petty cash from production to start prepping and buying supplies for the makeup department. Before heading to the office I met with a friend of mine, an actress from a show that I worked on in Canada who had also just moved to LA.
We sat on a sunny patio enjoying coffees and shared our feelings of contentment and happiness for being here and about how well things were going. Both of us felt like it was too good to be true, as if it could somehow be ripped out from under us and everything could come crashing down. If you let a thought like that enter into your mind, I strongly suggest doing whatever you can to dispel it.
When we left each other I went by the office to pick up a check for the makeup department spend, and the lovely production team went over keeping track of the balance and gave me advice for keeping it safe.
I intended on cashing it closer to home because I was a little bit out of my territory. But I passed by a bank and I deliberated almost in slow motion whether to stop there. I wanted to go home, but at least if I tried to cash it there, should any issues arise I could easily go back to the office. I pulled in, went into the bank, withdrew the check and put the cash inside my purse, and went back to my car.
I walked slowly. I was still in this prolonged blissful state. I looked at the mountains in the background. I was wearing a t-shirt on a January day and I was thinking about how I was running errands on my first show in LA. I actually stopped to take some photos and I posted them on my private instagram story to share with my friends what a wonderful time I was having.
While I was taking in my surroundings and taking photos, I looked ahead of me and saw large letters that said “SOCIAL SECURITY.” Really they were huge, like S O C I A L S E C U R I T Y, as if they were talking to me. I paused for a moment. It was a comically large sign for the front of a Social Security Office.
I had been calling the Social Security Administration every day to see if my card had come in yet, and when I saw the sign I thought about calling them again to see if it was ready. Then maybe I would head there to pick it up.
No. I couldn’t call them twice in one day because I saw a “sign.” I also spotted a grocery store right across the street, and I needed to pick up some red lentils. For whatever reason the Trader Joe’s by my house didn’t stock them.
I finally got into the car, took a selfie with my big happy face, and then again debated whether I should just go back home and shop near my house or go in for the red lentils. Very slowly I drove across the street to the grocery store parking lot, parked my car, and hid my purse in the trunk.
Someone had been sitting and watching me from the bank parking lot. They saw me go in to withdraw money and watched as I walked out, stood for some time beside my car, got into my car and then drove right across the street to the grocery store. They followed me into the parking lot. One person got out and kept watch at the store entrance while communicating to the other through his earphones.
While I was inside the store I was trying to make it quick. I had a bad feeling about being there. I knew that it was a foolish decision to put my valuables in the trunk like that, and plus I didn’t like this place. I looked around for the lentils and I couldn’t find any, but I did find a good deal on some chickpea snacks.
Something told me it wasn’t worth it and I put the basket down and left the store. I walked straight back to my car and saw the broken glass. I was wishing it was just a bad dream but nope. It wasn’t. They had gone straight for the bag with speed and precision. Along with the cash I lost my laptop, wallet, and important travel documents.
So I was in a frenzied state. I looked around to see if I could make out which cars were around. For some reason when I walked into the grocery store I thought a little white car behind me seemed suspicious, but it was still there and it was empty. There was a car parked directly beside me. I walked around it and found someone sitting in his car.
He had no idea that that had just transpired. He came out to help me and he gave me a hug. I called 911. Then the owner of the car beside me came back. And then a couple came out of the store who said they saw the entire thing happen. It had been done by two teenagers in a white Chevy Malibu with no front plate, and a tinted rear license plate.
Everyone stayed with me while I waited for the police to show up, and when they did, I continued to cancel my credit cards while the police checked the cameras.
They had all been so incredibly helpful. If I am being honest, I don’t think that I would have approached a scene like that or stuck around to offer support. They helped me put the pieces together when I couldn’t think straight. The police officer stayed behind to investigate the area while I drove my car to get the window replaced.
The officer called me the next day to say that they found images of the car and saw what transpired on video. When he called me I was at the Social Security Office, my SSN was ready. The two men that stayed with me after it happened have since checked in to make sure that I was taking the proper steps.
I think that events such as this one are opportunities for God’s love to show itself to us through other people. If everything went perfectly all the time, there would be no need for anyone to step in, show up, offer help, or to be heroic.
I’m sad that I lost a few things that I’ll have to replace, and my preparation for the show is delayed as I try to put the pieces back together, order new identification from Canada and visit the consulate.
But, I still get to wake up every morning and climb that mountain. I’m thankful that I get to go to work to provide for myself at a job that inspires me, and that I feel a sense of purpose. I am praying for those kids that found themselves in such a dire situation in life that they are going out and committing acts like that.
I learned a hard lesson… I’m not in Kansas (Canada) anymore! If you give an opportunity like that, someone will take it. So I will act differently. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, well, I won’t be fooled again!
Just don’t steal my sunshine.
The events that I described are part of a very common scheme that has been going on in the Burbank area called “bank jugging.” Learn from my mistakes and take extra care at banks, and never leave valuables in your car. If you have any information please call the Burbank Police Department 818-238-3210.