The "Suspicious Package"

by - 5:42 PM

Deep breaths Envy, deep breaths.
I was standing five meters below ground level at Rotterdam Central Station's subway station, trying to figure out what was going on. Fifteen minutes ago I was still singing Christmas carols on the train with my friends and classmates. Now people were telling me to get out of the station immediately. Why I was supposed to do that, I had no idea. Nobody was telling me why either, so I just stood there, hoping an E-line train would arrive to take me to Beurs station. That didn't happen. Instead people started yelling instructions.
'We found a suspicious package,' someone working at the subway station suddenly yelled. 'The E and D line trains won't come anymore. Now everyone get out of this station!'
I was in shock, but at least someone had finally come to the point. Not that it made me feel any better. How was I going to get home? Where was I supposed to go? What was this suspicious package? A thousand questions popped up in my head, but I somehow managed to answer most of them right away. If the A line was still in service, I could walk to the nearest A line station adn take a train home. If that one was out of service too, I'd call my dad and ask him to pick me up at college, a few blocks away from Central Station.
I finally took those deep breaths and decided to start walking (even though I didn't like the prospect of walking through Rotterdam on my own at night) when a man approached me. 'Do you speak English?' he asked.
'Yes, I do,' I squeaked. For some reason I sound like a squirrle when I'm scared and in this case I sounded like a squirrle on cafeine.
'I don't speak Dutch... What did they say? What's going on? Could you please help me?'
'Oh, of course!'
And that's how I ended up guiding an Irish police officer to the next A line subway station in the middle of an evacuation.

It was all so surreal. Police officers were locking down the station. I had to cross police lines while all eyes in the crowd that had quickly gathered around the entrance where on me. I was still in a state of shock, but no that I had to help an Irishman to get home too, I surpressed my fear and started making sensible decisions. I asked the officials what was going on, if the A line was still in service and then chose the safest route from Central Station to Beurs. Five minutes (that felt like five full hours) after I was told to leave the station as soon as possible I was safely outside. Never before had I been so scared in this city. 
In the distance I could see the Erasmus Medical Center, lit up in the colors of the French flag. The blue, white and red sent a shiver down my spine: what if Rotterdam was going to be the next Paris? What if this suspicious package was something extremely dangerous?
Adrenalin kicked in. My eyes were wide open, my breathing went faster and faster.
'Are you scared?' the Irishman asked as we walked down the Coolsingel.
'I am,' I said. 'I'm not used to situations like these. We always say that our country is so safe, but now this is happening and it freaks me out.'
'You go to school here in Rotterdam?'
'Good. Keep going. Don't be scared. That's what they want: they want you to be scared. If you stop going to school, if you stop going to places because you're afraid, they win.'
That moment was the moment I realized I hadn't let terrorists win. Yes, I was scared and yes, the subway station had been evacuated. But in the middle of all that, I had chosen to help someone who needed my help. I could've panicked, I could've thought about myself and no one else when things went crazy, but I hadn't. This one suspicious package that could've led to so much chaos and fear had actually brought out the best in me. It resulted in a helping hand and friendliness. That moment right there was the moment I stopped being scared. If a coward like me could be this helpful in this situation, everyone can. And if everyone does, if we do help each other and stand together, terrorists won't win. Love beats hate, no matter how small the love or how big the hate.

Stay Awesome!

PS. That suspicious package? It turned out to be a piece of luggage some tourist had forgotten. An hour after it was found I arrived home safely.

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6 Fellow Ramblers

  1. ... That sounds horribly frightening, I'm just as relieved to know the suspicious package wasn't dangerous. I'm glad you stayed calm (you did, didn't you) and still helped someone in need.
    And I agree wholeheartedly, love beats hate. If we all helped one another, especially in times like this, then maybe, the world would be a much better place, even if it's just a smile of encouragement.

    1. It was so frightening... I tried to stay calm and I think I did a decent job staying calm.
      Let's just keep helping each other out. Every little bit of love can make a difference :)

  2. That is really nice advice and something everyone should follow.
    G;ad it was nothing serious and you reached home safe :)

    -Kathie K
    A Sea Change

    1. Thank you Kathie :)
      Hope I didn't freak you guys out when I mentioned it in group chat

  3. Wow that must have been so scary, I don't know what I would have done, but it sounds like you handled it extremely well! Glad it turned out to be fine!

    (For the ALYB Clue No.5, I chose your blog for one of them (I've been meaning to say this for a long time anyway):

    Where do I start...? Your posts are beautiful, some make me laugh, some make me think, some make me shiver, but they all make me smile. I have to admit, I'm rather in awe of you! Your design is on point, and you seem so nice yourself! <3


    1. Thank you so, so much!
      I have to thank Bryleigh for the design though, but the rest is all me. Hope you enjoy my future posts as much as this one! :)


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