Photo provided by Sam Lee
It was a dark night on the streets in Chicago, Illinois. Suddenly, men loom over the boys, threatening them. Junior Sam Lee is skeptical of their claims and a nonbeliever of what fear they can impose, and for this, he pays the price. With the swiftness of air and power of a locomotive, the man cocks his fist back and makes contact with Lee’s face. Lee rocks back and runs away in terror.
Over the summer, juniors Samuel Lee and Jeffrey Ptak were mugged in Chicago. They were attending Lollapalooza, the four-day annual music fest for their summer vacation.
“Honestly Lollapalooza was amazing,” Lee said. “I saw all the artists I listen to on Apple Music, and it was just really cool to see them all in person so close to me.”
One night after the festival, the two were walking downtown back to their hotel. It was dark and vacant; there wasn’t anyone on the street at the time.
“We were on the other side of a subway line,” Ptak said. “We were definitely a ways away [from the festival], and I know that no one from the festival was near us.”
Suddenly, they heard a voice calling from behind them, and they stopped to understand what he was saying. As the voice got closer, three men appeared from the shadows.
“I heard behind us, ‘Hey dude give us your stuff’,” Lee said. “I thought it was some guy on the phone or something. I turned around and there was just these three guys walking towards us, and I stopped because I wanted to be a nice person.”
One of the men threatened the presence of a gun and told the boys to give them all of their stuff, but Lee refused to do so. The man then sucker-punched him for his lack of compliance.
“He told us that he had a gun,” Ptak said. “ He said that if he pulled it out that he’d shoot us. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins when he said that he had a gun.”
After Lee’s assault, Jeffrey Ptak decided to give up his possessions. The gun was a fake, but they were still being mugged.
“I was just scared,” Ptak said. “My mom had told me what to do if I ever got mugged, which was just give them everything, just be peaceful, don’t talk to them, and just get away as fast as possible.”
After Ptak complied with their commands, the situation calmed. The boys managed to escape with most of their belongings.
“This experience made me more aware that this situation can happen at any time in your life,” Lee said. “If this situation happens again, I’ll be more prepared for that next time. Just cooperate so that you or anyone else you are with [doesn’t] get hurt. Losing your life is way more traumatizing than just losing money that you have or a phone that you own.”