An Encounter With Today’s “Yoofs”

The youth of today (or “yoofs” as they’re sometimes called) overwhelmingly seem to be very lacking in the manners department. Not only that, when travelling in packs, as they are wont to do, they are often emboldened by each other, and often egg one another to perform audacious acts or even crimes. The more audacious, the better, it seems. It’s like some rite of passage, whereby the person in question collects street cred points.

Now, while the above statement may sound like the concerns of an old-fashioned person, it is very much the case in truth. Teenagers travelling in packs, with their herd mentality and penchant for mischief, are not people you’d want to meet while out on your own. Avoidance is better than a trip to the hospital or police station, or worse…

I feel compelled to write about this, because I had one such encounter with a group of “yoofs” just today. It’s not an experience I want to go through again in a hurry.

I was driving home and had stopped at the traffic lights at a busy intersection. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw 5 teenagers crossing the road and coming my way. There were 3 boys and 2 girls. 

Something, instinct or precognition, perhaps, made me reach over to my door and flick the auto-lock for all the doors of my car. 

4 of the 5 “yoofs” passed by behind my car without incident. But the 5th, dressed in a grey hoodie, came over to my passenger’s door, and very cheekily tried the handle of the door. 

It happened so swiftly that all I could do was raise an eyebrow at him, as he realised the door was locked. I believe he had the intention to take advantage of the traffic lights I was stuck behind, and perhaps grab my handbag, which was on the seat next to me. What other motive could he have had? 

When he realised my door was locked, he wasn’t fazed at all, but simply shrugged and walked off nonchalantly. I was tempted to yell at him then, but it would have entailed me winding down my window and providing him with another opportunity to rob me. That, or perhaps he might’ve returned with a sharp object with which to scratch my car’s paintwork. It wasn’t worth the risk.

As my bold would-be thief walked off to join his friends, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and caught the eye of the guy in the car behind me, who’d witnessed the whole thing. He was shaking his head incredulously.

Now I consider that incident a lucky escape from something that could’ve turned ugly. If that had been some frail elderly person in my place, and the car doors had not been locked, who knows what damage that “yoof” might have done to both driver and vehicle?

And so I’ve decided that I will start driving with the car doors on auto-lock from now on. Forgive me for my jaded view of today’s humanity. Manners starts at home, and sadly many kids these days come from families that were never taught manners or morality themselves. 

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