Monday, January 30 2023 - 8:33 PM
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Camera Thief

During my study abroad year in Spain, six of my friends and I planned a weekend trip to Paris. Before the sun rose on a Friday morning, we flew two hours from Valencia to Paris. We arrived a little sleepy but thrilled to explore the “City of Light.” An airport taxi took us to our Airbnb, located on the outskirts of Paris so that we could drop off our luggage.

Before leaving the Airbnb for the day, I remembered hearing that Paris has many pickpockets. So I put my phone, wallet, and Canon 80D camera inside my camera bag.

The Parisian Dream

My friends and I spent the day strolling down cobblestone streets and taking taxis to tourist sights like the Arc de Triomphe. As the designated photographer of the group, I took hundreds of pictures capturing irreplaceable memories with my camera.

In the afternoon, we snacked on crepes covered in strawberries and chocolate at a cute café. We were living the Parisian dream. Afterward, our wanderings took us into small bookstores filled with French literature, past bakeries whose aromas of fresh pastries drifted out to the sidewalks, and through decorative art shops. I took pictures of old buildings with detailed architecture, roses outside a florist shop, and other French things that caught my eye.

Once the sun set, we decided to take the metro back to our Airbnb. The Paris metro was by far the most chaotic transportation system I’ve ever used. After about 10 minutes of deciphering French signs to figure out which route would take us back to our Airbnb, we proceeded down into the maze of tunnels that made up the metro. The rush-hour crowds who hurried past us left and right only created more disorder for us.

Cramped Ride

When we reached our platform and the train pulled in, we discovered that it would be an uncomfortable, cramped ride. Dozens of passengers already stood packed together, so we squeezed our way into the middle of the train.  At each stop, my friends and I huddled closer and closer together as more people got on.

About halfway through our ride, I couldn’t move at all because strangers surrounded me tightly. I remembered my camera bag on my back and quickly thought I should wear it as a front pack. I tried to wiggle to make some space around me, but no one moved, so I had to keep it on my back until the next stop.

That’s when I thought I heard a zip come from behind me. In my uneasy state, I immediately feared someone had unzipped my bag. I tried to turn around, but I couldn’t. Paranoid, I looked behind me as much as possible, but I didn’t see anything suspicious and finally decided that someone probably just zipped their jacket—no big deal.

As soon as the train stopped and the doors opened, people got off, and I finally had room to move. I immediately removed the bag from my shoulders only to discover an open zipper and space where my DSLR camera had been. My camera was gone.

Missing Camera

Panicked, I turned to my friends and exclaimed, “Someone stole my camera!” But before we could do anything, the train doors closed and the mysterious thief carried my camera far away from me.

Stunned, we stood in the moving train staring at each other in disbelief for a few moments before trying to figure out what to do. We thought about reporting the incident or backtracking to the stop where the thief got off, but neither of those ideas would bring my camera back.

For the rest of the train ride, I replayed the event in my head, trying to figure out what I should’ve done differently. As I thought about the lost pictures, I suddenly felt a strange sense of peace wash over me, and I knew God was in control.

Praying for the Thief

At first, I thought God would miraculously bring my camera back to me so He could be glorified through my story. But then my mind drifted to the thief. I thought about how desperate that person must have been to need to steal things. I pitied them. That’s when the thought entered my head that maybe they needed my camera more than I did.

To my surprise, I started praying for the thief. “God, I know you can do anything. You can bring my camera back to me if it is your will. But if that isn’t your plan, I ask you to bless whoever has my camera. Let the camera bless them more than it could’ve blessed me,” I prayed. I didn’t know how God would answer my prayer, but I felt peace throughout our trip, knowing He had control of the situation.

I never got my camera back, but whenever I think of my story, I pray for my pickpocket. And I am reminded that God has a bigger story for all of us.

If you liked this,  you might also like The Lost Penny | How To Avoid Theft While Traveling Sienna Hubin writes from the Pacific Northwest.

Sienna Hubin writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Sienna Hubin

Sienna Hubin

Sienna Hubin

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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