Beer City is a place. Oh, yes, it's real. I'm a pretty lucky guy. Recently I had the opportunity to visit Grand Rapids Michigan with a group of guys for a weekend of fun...
Kidnapped & Robbed at Gunpoint in Nassau, Bahamas
Kidnapped and robbed at gunpoint in Nassau, Bahamas. Thank you very much!
This is what I want to answer when people ask “How was your cruise?”
But I don't.
Because the fact is that this was an excursion off the ship and not the actual cruise. The fabulous cruise will get several posts of its own.
But kidnapped and robbed is how I spent my Friday. Let me back up a little. Here is an excerpt from a letter that I sent to family and friends:
Friday started out as a beautiful day. We docked around 9AM in Nassau, Bahamas. The sun was shining. The weather was perfect.
As part of this cruise, I was given the choice of an excursion today as were the others. I was the only one who chose the Segway Back to Nature adventure. Everyone else chose different activities so I was by myself and that was fine because my tour sounded really fun.
It was a 2 hour journey through the jungle. And I had never ridden a segway before. I love a little adventure!
Our tour group met on ship at 10:45 AM. We then left to get off ship and we were greeted immediately by a representative of the tour company. She walked us through the market and over to the taxi stand. We were directed into a taxi which was also run by the company.
We got to the place and went through some instruction. Every donned helmets, elbow pads and knee pads. We all got the chance to try the segways to make certain that we got the hang of them before setting out. It wasn't bad. Another group left about 30 minutes before we did and we watched them first.
We practiced for about 10 minutes and when everyone felt comfortable, we took off on the path with the aid of guide. There were nine in our group plus a guide and we all rode in a single file line.
We stopped about four minutes in to check out the aqueduct and get some history on the land. The guide explained that the paths were on 162-acres of land that was government owned.
Then we were off again. Only this time the governors on speed were removed. We were flying at this point and I was having a fabulous time.
As I rounded the next corner, I almost crashed into the segway in front of me because she stopped short. I apologized and hopped off the machine because she did too. Plus I felt awful about almost crashing into her.
I went to apologize to the girl again and noticed that she was getting down on the ground. It was only then that I saw two men in front of all of us. One man was dressed all in black like a ninja (only his eyes showing) and was holding a rifle (the others saw that he also had a shotgun but I did not see it). The second man screamed for everyone to get down and I immediately dropped to the ground as well (he also had two guns but I never saw them).
As we all lay face down on the ground, we were being robbed by one man after the other tied up our tour guide. There was a lot of scuffling and a flurry of activity. Some yelling and some of the details are fuzzy. One of the men took my purse which had my driver’s license, $400 (I was going Christmas shopping, stupidly with cash), a credit card (which I have since cancelled) and my ship room key. My purse and everything in it with the exception of the four items above was later returned after the police arrived. They did steal all of the cameras but no jewelry.
After we had been laying for about 9-10 minutes, we heard another segway tour come up on us. They were an earlier group just finishing their tour. They were also all quickly ordered to the ground. Apparently their tour leader was a little feisty and she tried to talk them out of it. She was hit with the rifle, kicked in the side and made to get into the aqueduct. They also fired a shot at or near one of the tourists but thankfully missed.
As soon as that shot was fired, I just started crying. I don't think that I have ever prayed so hard.
I thought of all of the things that I had yet to do with my children. I thought of those three beautiful faces. Their unconditional love and adoration. Their endless hugs and kisses.
And for a few brief moments, it occurred to me that I might not ever see, hear or feel those amazing things again.
How could that be? I wasn't through with them yet.
Approximately 22 minutes (this number varies by each account) after it started, it was over. The robbers were gone and we all stood up looking around in disbelief. I tried to stop crying but I was just so freakin' happy that they were truly tears of joy. Everyone in this amazing group of people consoled me and we all consoled each other as well. You guys will never know how grateful I was for that. I got it together in a few minutes. But I was still shaken.
The police arrived about three minutes after we stood up. Everyone pointed out which direction the guys ran off in and the car was immediately gone to chase them.
We quickly drove the segways back into the area where we started. As we arrived, so did several police cars followed by an ambulance.
We gave our statements several times and after an hour, we were taken to the Bahamian Police Station. We all gave official statements at the time and several of the group worked with sketch artists.
The US Embassy was later brought in to assist us as well. Since my only form of identification was taken, they had to get all sorts of forms from me so that I can get through customs when docking and then on the plane to get home on Sunday.
It was an incredibly scary yet somewhat surreal experience. Then it was followed by around five hours of police interviews and questioning. We finally made it back to the ship. I just wanted to get to my room, cry and maybe throw up a little.
No, that’s not true. I actually wanted to go home and hug my kids like I have never hugged them before. Pretty much to the point where they tell me to stop.
I was and still am pretty shaken up. It really doesn’t matter because at least I am still here telling this story. The story made headlines and most accounts say that we were kidnapped as well. While we were held against our will I am not sure that I would call it kidnapped.
But I made it home.
My children have never been hugged so hard. I even threw a few hugs in there for the husband.
I am pretty sure that I may have kissed the dog.
My bed never felt so good.
I would also like to add that this is, in all likelihood, my first and without a doubt my last trip to the Bahamas.
There will be more posts and further explanations of the aftermath of the event. Everyone was really wonderful afterwards. Give me a few days.
Here are some media accounts:
Street Crime in Nassau, Bahamas (includes video from one of the 18 victims)
18 Tourists in Shotgun Terror
MOT, RBPF Angered by Tourist Robbery
Tourists Terrorized in Nassau, Bahamas