My Recollection of an ALMOST Kidnapping…
Well, perhaps that is a mild overreaction, but hear me out…
I arrived at the Taipei airport around 11pm without a cent to my name. I tried to find help at the numerous information stands, but no one knew enough English to be of much assistance. Finally I fell to the conclusion that transportation without cash was not an option. In desperation, I called to the hotel and asked if they could arrange a driver to pick me up & bill it to my room. After being transferred a few times a man told me that a driver would be there within 30 minutes to pick me up. Awesome, right?
Well before I had a chance to feel relieved, things started to seem a little strange. First, an international number kept calling my phone & then hanging up. I brushed it off as bad service and called back – the driver who was supposed to meet me in the lobby wasn’t there but claimed to be out in the front of the airport & gave me his license plate number, saying he was out there waiting for me. But he wasn’t there, so I called again, but this time he was still on his way…. Odd.
After a few more minutes this gorgeous black Mercedes pulls up and a younger man wearing a very nice black suit and sunglasses (mind you, it’s almost midnight) gets out, asks my name and takes my bags. He opens the door for me without saying a word, hands me a bottle of water ad started driving. After about 15 minutes I asked how far away the hotel was, as I was under the impression it was only 5 minutes away. He didn’t answer, so I asked again. This time he grabbed his cell phone and started talking to someone on the other end for a few minutes before handing me his phone. The man on the other end did not introduce himself but only said “you will arrive in 45 minutes” in what seemed like a very creepy tone. Right about now did my very over active imagination start to run wild and instantly I was convinced that I was being abducted and would inevitably be sold on the black market as some opium drugged sex slave. My heart was racing and the driver was going so fast I thought there was a chance I would die in a car crash before I’d ever have to punch some drug lord in the neck. The driver kept taking many very short phone calls, saying only a word or two before hanging up, and kept changing the settings on his GPS.
My backpack and suitcase were in the trunk, and thanks to TSA I had nothing that even closely resembled a weapon, but dug through my purse nonetheless. I settled on a pen, thinking I could probably stab someone in the throat and possibly run. I zipped my cell phone in my pocket so it wouldn’t fall out after first writing down the license plate number and the drivers name (or what the possibly-fake placard claimed his name was).
I kept trying to calm myself down, thinking back if I may have over exaggerated the situation, but really, despite my crazy tendencies, I think they were just. I was alone in a strange city and some crazy man was speeding down the road while NOT talking to me. To make matters worse, he took a back way to the hotel, driving through some ally that only confirmed my fears that something really bad was about to happen.
Thank god we pulled up to the hotel right at that very second, as I was contemplating some super stunt move that included a very heroic dive out of the speeding car.
We were at the hotel (the RIGHT hotel), and two very nice gentlemen helped me out of the car as the driver grabbed my bags and took them into the hotel. He smiled and handed me his business card (a legitimate business card…) and told me to call if I needed a ride back to the airport.
I guess the combination of too many crime drama books, my addiction to CSI and the terrible documentaries I’ve watched on tv have destroyed my trust in humanity. Instead of viewing this as something so wonderful (that these complete strangers all went out of their way to get me safely to the hotel), I instead jumped to the worst possible scenario. In hindsight though, the whole thing was a little odd, and while my instincts were wayyyyyy off this time, I guess that’s better than being so naive and thinking all are trustworthy. That being said, I feel very bad for thinking such terrible thoughts about my nice driver and his gorgeous car 🙂
Everyone I’ve encountered here in Taipei has been so incredibly kind and accommodating and I hope in the future I will be more open to the kindness of strangers rather than assuming they are something far worse.