- March 6, 2010
Look Ma, no cape!
American citizens (AmCits in the embassy lingo) most frequently ran into trouble overseas when they were robbed or otherwise lost their passports, cash, and other important documents. On weekends we would field these types of calls and route them to duty officer who was a Department of State type with trained expertise in diplomacy and possessed other intergalactic powers. AmCits in these situations would inevitably come to the embassy to get everything straightened out.
In one particular incident an American woman lost everything to a purse snatcher. She was understandably shaken by the incident and was meeting the duty officer at the embassy. I received a call from the Guardia Civil manning the gate saying they had some kind of crazy woman on their hands asking to get in. Most of the Guardia spoke about as much English as I did Spanish so the impression was understandable. I spoke to the woman on the phone and decided I would walk out to escort her into the building.
Now I could have just let the Guardia usher her to the embassy door but, contrary to popular belief, chivalry is still alive and gentlemen should go the extra mile for ladies in distress. Now days I explain to my Marines that American citizens expect and deserve a certain kind of conduct out of us. To be any less would be a disservice to our nation and cheapen our legacy.
Striding across the parking lot I gave the Guardia the thumbs up to open the walk in gate. The distressed woman turned in my direction, saw me swaggering toward her with PR-24 baton, a .357 revolver, and most importantly, camouflage utilities with name tapes that read “U.S. MARINES“.
She visibly relaxed: “Oh, thank God!”
“Need some help ma’am?” I couldn’t resist, if I’d had a white horse I would have been riding it. I suppose in her version of the story I was ten feet tall and over 330lbs of war machine. She’d be about half right.
I escorted her to the lobby and kept her company until the Duty Officer arrived to handle business. No big deal, just another ho hum day holding back the tide of darkness.