I don’t really know Karen, I have never met her in real life. I don’t know what her hair colour is, or whether she has kids, or a dog, or a partner. I don’t know if she’s into sport or has a footy team that she supports, or if she prefers vodka to gin or neither. Despite knowing so little about her, I feel a connection to Karen, born of our small foray into citizen crime fighting together yesterday.

To give some context, about 6 weeks ago, my work bag (which I refer to as my office) was taken from my home, along with my phone, there was a wallet, keys and all sorts of personal items in this bag. It was upsetting to lose the object that helps me to work on the road and keep me organised and prepared for all types of different situations and environments that I work from.  I did everything that they tell you to do reported all the cards stolen, got new ID of every description and let go of a lot of crap that was clogging up my wallet.

Yesterday, I’ve made progress and finally have the mental energy to lodge the claim with the insurer. The woman on the phone asks me, was there any fraud. No. There was none, all the cards were cancelled on the day. There has been nothing since.

And then a couple of hours later emails start arriving from a cancelled card! 

It’s a card that is designed to be used overseas, so it sends the cardholder an email every time a transaction goes through. It helps you track your spend in another country when you’re struggling with exchange rates and taxes that mysteriously appear at the point of payment. So, it’s super helpful. Also really alarming when you see 7 emails from that card that you’ve cancelled start arriving in your email in box after weeks of silence. I notice that the last email is from a place called Salty Liquid – what on earth is that I google, it’s a surfwear shop in Stanhope Garden.

I call the number and Karen answers the phone.

I explain that my card was just used in her store, and she is all over it. She tells me what the guy has done in the store and that she has already spoken to her bank. There should be CCTV in the centre and possibly also in her store. She will get onto the police and let me know how she goes. I share with her that the card issuer has stopped the card and I call them to let them know that the transactions are fraudulent. They, strangely seem more concerned with issuing me a new card (which they have already done) than the fraud. Karen is not, she has the receipts, has spoken to the police and is into action. There is another transaction declined at Hungry Jacks, I share this with Karen. He is still in the centre, off she heads to security and seems to have rallied the troops at the other end. She manages to get the security team onto things, and captures the license plate on the car.

There’s more of course to this story, and it’s with the police, but the point is not about the crime fighting nature of it all – it’s about Karen.

This woman on the other end of the phone, who I have never met, but who had my back and went out of her way to do the right thing and stand up for both of us.

She is the spirit of sisterhood, the essence of people helping each other out that has reminded me that when we are like this it creates hope and builds community. So, Thank you Karen 🙂 and…

Happy International Women’s day!