Dear Low Life Scum!

Dear Low Life Scum,

Today, on my Christmas day out with my children you ruined a lovely day and made me cry from the minute I met you and I’m still crying now.

We started the day with a trip to the theatre, a long-awaited and planned treat which wasn’t for me to review for my blog or to tell the world about but something for us to just enjoy and treasure. We met our good friends and had a ball at Stratford Circus as planned. We went on for lunch and despite a few toddler tantrums the day was all set for Christmas crafts in the ‘Discover pop-up shop’ and meeting Father Christmas in Stratford Westfield…

I went to get money out to pay my friend’s back for lunch, met them in the craft place, left the children with them for five minutes while I made a quick trip to ‘The Disney Store’ for a secret present for Florence and on my way back you struck.

So I saw the three of you, arguing and smoking in the doorway but you had a little girl with you dancing round the door, I didn’t suspect anything. When I said ‘excuse me’ as I tried to get through the door next to the ‘Hugo Boss’ shop I didn’t expect the swearing and abuse you shouted at me as you jostled and pushed. I tried to work out why you were swearing, what your little girl must think and then realised you were still shouting and swearing at me so I ran back into Westfield, scared and straight into the nearest shop, ‘Hugo Boss’ Where I said these words to the store security guard: ‘I’m frightened, please help me’. I didn’t expect him to say no.

The security guard and the management team said repeatedly that they couldn’t do anything about the men shouting and bustling me, it was out of their control and I had to really push to get them to call Westfield security but eventually they did. Because I was crying. While we waited for Westfield security we, the ‘Hugo Boss’ security guard, staff and I, watched as you, the little girl and your friends, walked casually away…

Westfield security came, took a brief statement and said they had you on CCTV, they would catch up with you and have a ‘strong word’. What more could I do but return to my friends and children, angry but pleased I was out of it. As soon as I saw my friends I told them what had just happened and went to get my money to pay them for lunch. It was only then I realised the zip on my bag was undone and my wallet, my Grandpa’s wallet as it happens and the one I have used since I wad 18 and he passed away, was missing.

I burst into tears, cried, got the lovely ‘Discover’ staff to call security again and ran to the bank to cancel my cards. While in the bank the lady from ‘Discover’ brought the security guard, who eventually showed up, to me and I was told ‘everything was on CCTV’, you were being followed and then oh, oh no, you’d left and there was nothing they could do. The security guard then told me the police would contact me if my wallet was found but that was all I could do, I wasn’t to call the police myself as they would contact me if they needed to.

I was crying so hard then. I had just topped up my travel card with £20 and taken £30 out in cash which I’d put in my wallet and although I definitely can’t afford to lose that, I had lost my beloved Grandpa’s wallet. I think of him every single time I use it, every day and it means so much to me.

Florence had been taken to our planned ‘Father Christmas’ visit with my friends and I was missing it but as I walked past ‘Hugo Boss’ I couldn’t help but go in there to shout at the man, through my tears, who had refused to help me. I said to him ‘I asked you for help, told you I was frightened and pleaded for you to do something and you refused’. People were looking but I didn’t care, they had to know their cowardice had caused more upset that they could have helped prevent. The actual manager came out then and escorted me to the Father Christmas area, all the while apologising but saying she couldn’t do anything, her hands were tied and the security guard couldn’t have left the shop…

I managed to get into Father Christmas to watch my little girl sitting on her own waiting for me but I didn’t get to enjoy it with her. She was with friends of course but on her own all the same. I made it just in time to see but it was all ruined as she didn’t realise and I had tears streaming down my face the whole way through. The special treat gone.

When I came out I rang the police myself who came in 5 minutes. They couldn’t believe Westfield had done nothing and they couldn’t believe they hadn’t been called by the ‘Hugo Boss’ security guard in the first place let alone the Westfield team. They were impeccable but obviously by that time my wallet was gone, with my money and everything else.

My friend gave me money for a taxi home, the taxi driver stopped the clock when he heard my story and took me home anyway and my neighbour came round to see if I was ok as her son-in-law had been in the bank when I was in there stopping my cards and had seen how upset I was. I rang the security team head honcho at Westfield to say how upset I was and he was sympathetic and said he’d get back to me. Then the policeman rang me because he was worried about me, he cared. It seems there are decent people, despite you, you utter scum bag!

Today you used an innocent child to steal money, that’s abuse! You intimidated me and that’s not just pick pocketing but violent intimidation. You went away with £30, a £20 travel card and a wallet you will have binned but that meant so much to me. If you’d said to me ‘I’m going to steal your wallet’ I’d have given you all the money in my bank account not to have done so.

I haven’t stopped crying since 2pm, my day, my friend’s day and our children’s day is ruined but I feel sorry for your little girl. Does she ever have a non ruined day or know what one is? You don’t deserve her, do you know that!?

Ruth Davies Knowles

15/12/12: Today I have woken up and I’m angry! I’m angry at everything that happened yesterday! Firstly and obviously I am angry at the wicked people using children and violent behaviour to steal innocent people’s belongings but I’m also angry at the care I didn’t receive when I asked for help?

So, to Hugo Boss! I used the words ‘I’m frightened, please help me’! And you basically said that the computer said no! And even when you knew the whole story you stood by the decision you made to not help me! One man, the deputy manager showed compassion and it was only because he asked the security guard that the security guard eventually called Westfield security. When I went back to shout at you for not helping me and tell you what your lack of care had contributed to, he was the only one who showed a glimmer of  feeling. The first man from the management team who I spoke to in the first place when I was frightened and asking for help sneered at me, looked at me like I was a piece of dirt on the floor and laughed in my face when I told him how disappointed I was that he’d lied and said he was THE manager. When I went back and was in floods of tears, THE manager did come out and while she in moments gave sympathetic noises, she KEPT repeating her mantra that there was nothing you could have done and asking the inane question if there was anything she could do now. Well, there was something YOU could have done, YOU watched, with me, the criminal for a good five minutes then watched as he casually walked away. Why didn’t you call the police?  She, the manager, kept getting irritated and almost telling me off when I kept repeating myself. I was in shock! Hugo Boss, I am so disappointed in you, shame on you and shame on your staff! What is the point in having a security guard if they can’t leave the store and what on earth do they do if someone runs off, out of the doors, with goods they have stolen from you? Does the security guard stop on the door line and go no further? I don’t know anyone who would be asked for help, told by the person asking that they are frightened and then not do anything? Surely its human nature to want to help someone asking for it????

And Westfield security team?! You said you had them on CCTV and were following them then you allowed them to leave the mall. Did you really have them or were you lying? The police said I was violently intimidated before I even knew about the wallet and that in itself is an offence so why didn’t you care more than to say ‘you’d catch up with them and have a strong word’? The second security guard took a while to arrive as did the first and when he met me in the bank and I was in floods of tears he just didn’t know what to do and didn’t DO anything. After telling me you had him on CCTV he then said ‘Oh, they’ve gone now, nothing more we can do, if the police find your wallet they’ll call you’. HOW would the police have called me when they didn’t know? Westfield security, you didn’t call them and the security guard told me NOT to call them; I asked and he said NO! Good job I did anyway eh?! What is the point of your job? You take ages to turn up then do nothing and provide no support. I await contact from your manager who sounded appalled!

No one at any point asked if I needed anything, offered me a place to sit or did anything to help. Both teams stood around looking awkward and ‘Hugo Boss’ down right wanted me out of the shop where I wouldn’t be creating a scene amongst their finery. The Westfield teams just looked like it was an annoyance on their day and they couldn’t even be bothered to ring the police! Shame on Westfield too!

And to the police, thank you. Thank you for all your time, for telling me I was within my right to be this frightened and it was natural to be so upset. They told me they were dismayed at BOTH security teams and that they SHOULD have been called. Straight away. They looked after me for over an hour and found the CCTV and I am particularly grateful to PC Elliot Butler who listened, acted, behaved like this was important (it is you know) and escorted me back to my friends. He then phoned me to give me my crime reference number before it was valid saying he wanted to call me but would be going off shift so my number wouldn’t be active for another hour but it was important to him to have that continuity and I am grateful he did. He was young, very young but he obviously has all the right attributes we need in our police officers. I would imagine his parents already are but they should be proud of him, as should his colleagues and superiors. He made me feel looked after, not something Westfield or ‘Hugo Boss’ even had a go at.

I am, essentially with my travel card, £50 down and I don’t have my Grandpa’s wallet but I am frightened and saddened by this whole event and as for Westfield and ‘Hugo Boss’, thanks, thanks a million! You helped ruin my and my children’s special day out. My nearly three year old daughter burst into tears in the taxi home that my friend kindly insisted on because I was so upset and shaken. I still have puffy eyes and a head ache from crying and worrying but thankfully have managed to make my daughter think I was playing a silly game. How do you feel? Have you even thought about it since?