Breaking Through: A Vietnamese yuppie Shines, hold up gangs prawl on Pinoy stores

  VALLEJO – Flying back to California after an extended vacation in our native land, I consider myself lucky for having as my seatmate in the plane a Vietnamese young man who was so accommodating he was always ready to rise from his seat without any qualm or sign of it everytime I needed to disturb him. And I disturbed him for a number of times. 

     He was also kind enough to lift our not so light hand carry luggages. 

      He was on the aisle seat while I sat beside him on his left. Phuong Thanh Nguyen who is on a one-month vacation and tour in the United States is based in Thailand where he is working as an IT professional. 

      I must say that it’s not often to encounter fellow travelers who is as obliging like him especially during long haul flights when passengers are either watching movies, busy with their laptops/Ipads, or fast asleep. 

      In Phuong’s case, I had to to wake him up sometimes. And he had to wait for my return before going back to sleep! I take my hat off for Phuong’s much appreciated, if not heroic. act. 

      Earlier, before the flight when he learned that my wife was with me , he volunteered to exchange seats with her so she can be with me. But he didn’t know she was assigned to another middle seat in front of mine so I begged off, not wanting to inconvenience him. 

     He was also kind enough to lift our not so light hand carry luggages to the cabin, and retrieved them when we reached SFO. 

      Phuong’s example disproves the mounting belief that the age-old tradition of giving respect and courtesy to the elderlies no longer rubs on on young people.  

     Mabuhay ka Phuong, may your tribe increase! 

      A daring hold up incident shocked this writer and two others including my wife and a Filam executive when we went to Vallejo for foodstuff and groceries at a Pinoy store there, at Seafood City recently. 

     It happened when we had just entered the executive’s car after shopping. Our friend Irene Tabor had just seated and was about to start her car. 

    But her door was open yet and would have closed it in a few seconds when the holdupper barreled the upper part of his body in and went for her handbag. 

     Unfortunately for him, Irene’s handbag was safely hatched at the side of the passenger seat where my wife was seated  the con man couldn’t take it. 

     So he tried grabbing my wife’s own handbag but didn’t succeed too as the bag hung across her body. 

      Failing in his brazen attempt and in broad daylight, the black man withdrew quickly. 

      Then he got inside his waiting car parked close by and sped away. The whole operation took only about 10 seconds. 

      I immediately looked for the store’s security guard. No one on sight, so I went inside Seafood City but I learned that there’s only one securing the store. 

       They contacted him by radio and he said he was roving around the complex as part of his duties. When he returned to the store entrance, I complained that he can’t be located.

       I learned that there’s only one security officer manning the huge store.

      Unfortunately for him and for the shoppers, the guard can’t be at several places at the same time! 

      I also leaned that there’s another guard assigned at the main parking area by the side of the store which is far from the place where Irene parked her car. 

      After the incident, several kababayans I came into disclosed that the store has been the scene of repetitive robberies and hold ups lately but left unsolved nor efforts to prevent them made. 

      The police reportedly never came. The guard believes the only way to prevent a recurrence is the deployment of more security men to secure the place. 

      I further learned that aside from Seafood City, also victimized and having security issues include Island Pacific store also in Vallejo. 

      I want to commend a Pinoy employee of Seafood city who told me he honked his car’s horn repeatedly when he saw our incident happening. I’m sure this brought the holdupper back to his car hastily. 

      Thank you so much kababayan. I forgot to get his name. He had just arrived then to start his job at the store.