Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trinoma Incident (a reposted blog from a friend)

Another malling experience that almost resulted in tragedy, let's be informed and keep our children safe:

Dear All,

Most often our urgent prayers regarding our children are for their protection. It is hard to think about other aspects of their lives if we are worried sick over their personal safety. Having to raise my children on my own I had every reason to fear for their safety. So I pray for the Lord's protection on a daily basis. I pray for their protection from violence, molestation, kidnapping and accidents. "Hide them under the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who oppress them and from the deadly enemies who surround them."

Though my children have had their share of minor injuries including a couple that required an emergency room and stitches. Nothing ever happened to them that came close to being kidnapped, held against their will or even victims of a hold-up until my son Renzo was involved in one.

Monday afternoon, August 18 Renzo and 3 of his classmates were going to practice at our home. Their meeting place was Trinoma Mall at 1pm . Renzo was accompanied by his elder brother till the time that Renzo was with his classmates.

Renzo already with 2 classmates, Ram and Aaron waited for Richard 3rd classmate at Olympic Village 4th floor. While waiting they went thru soccer balls and boxing gloves. Soon after they received a text message from 3rd classmate Richard who was now waiting for them at Seattle's Best, 1st floor. They proceeding to meet Richard and as soon as they were complete they headed for our home but then a man approached them and identified himself as an employee of Olympic Village and even flashed an ID to the boys. The man informed them that they damaged an item and that they should follow him back to the store. The man narrated every move the boys made and true enough one of them accidentally dropped a soccer ball. Before leaving Seattle 's Best, Richard the last classmate to arrive was told to stay behind and wait for their return.

The man then brought the 3 boys to the 4th floor Cinema Area. Ram and Aaron were told to give Renzo all their belongings (3 cell phones including Renzo's, an IPOD, a PSP and 2 wallets) and were ordered by the man to go to the restroom to wash their hands before the investigation. The boys followed as ordered. When they returned Renzo and the man was no longer there. Fearing for Renzo's safety and their other friend they headed back to Seattle 's Best. Richard was still there but Renzo was no where to be found. All three went back to Olympic Village and informed them of the man who introduced himself as an employee and that Renzo was missing. They were brought to the Trinoma Security Office also at the 4th floor and reported the incident.

2:45pm at home, I received a phone call that every parent feared, "M'am, this is Ram, Renzo's classmate, M'am si Renzo po is missing. . . ." I couldn't believe what I was hearing I asked them where they were, what happened and who was this man they were talking about. I quickly headed to Trinoma to meet with them. I was scared, thoughts ran through my mind, all the what ifs and all I could think of was Renzo's safety. I called on the Lord, my dad and my mother-in-law to please keep my son safe. When I arrived at the Security office, my prayers were answered, there was Renzo, scared, pale, shaken-up and in-tears but most importantly safe and unharmed.

Having been convinced that they indeed damaged an item at Olympic Village, Renzo was told by this man that he is bringing him to the main office of Olympic Village. So they both walked all the way to West Avenue until they reached the building beside Caltex. The man told Renzo to stay outside the building and wait for his return. An hour had passed no sign of this man, Renzo approached the building security guard and asked if he had seen the man he was with enter their building and the guard said that no one entered their building at that time. Upon realizing what had just happened, Renzo hurriedly returned to Trinoma scared of thinking that the man might have returned for his friends and that something might have happened to them.

Little did Renzo know that from the time the Trinoma Security office was informed of the incident Renzo was already being paged constantly. The in-house detective of Trinoma decided to wait for Renzo at Seattle 's Best thinking that he would return there. True enough Renzo did return and upon seeing this scared boy the detective approached Renzo introduced himself and brought him safely to the Security Office.

Renzo and his classmate Ram was able to identify the man who was with them through the Security Camera of Olympic Village.. This man was following them from the time they entered Olympic Village up to the time they went to Seattle's Best. He watched every move they made and made sure that the boys had no accompanying adults with them.

As soon as Olympic Village releases the picture of this man to us I will post it and make known to everyone the identity of this man who momentarily created fear in our lives.

Angry? Yes I am angry; I want to knock-off this man should I see him. I am angry at myself for trusting my son will be safe on his own. I am disappointed that after all the serious talks I've had with my son on not talking to strangers still he did not obey. As a parent no matter how much you want to protect your children, no matter how tight we pull the strings on them, our children will still continue to experience pain and still be careless at times.

The good news though was that my son, our sons, were spared and for that I am grateful to the Lord. I know I will have this constant fear over their personal safety; we can't be everywhere, we can't see everything, we can't know everything but the Lord can and sure enough my prayers were answered.

Please pass this on to everyone you know who has teenage children daring to explore on their own. Never mind if they get angry for not being allowed to be on their own but at least you are sparing them from this trauma. Also please do not allow your children to bring gadgets outside of their home as these serve as baits for hold-up.


No comments: