i got robbed thursday night (no joke) – some business lessons ensued

This Thursday night at some point between between 1am and 8am, while I slept, someone entered my home and stole my laptop and iphone.

My entire business is run from those things.

Without them I can’t run my business. I can’t blog. I can’t tour. They hold my products, my blog post ideas (all 600 of them). All of it.

And those were both stolen from me Thursday night.

I woke up around 8am to go check my email and stumbled into the living room, still groggy, and saw my value village scored, wood framed couch empty and my painted white front door to my porch left slightly open letting in the cool morning air. “No no no no no . . .” the words tumbled out of my mouth as I registered what happened.

I’d been robbed.

My stomach sank and twisted. I felt dizzy. There was nothing I could do. They were long gone. I felt the shock hit my body hard as I struggled to take it all in.

I’d left my front door unlocked when I went to bed and my laptop on the couch and someone had just walked in and taken them.

My relief was visceral and immediate when I realized they had left my back up drive. And when I realized I’d backed up my computer immediately before going to bed. They’d left it. I felt an odd gratitude to my thief. ‘Thank you for not taking that.’ It has been plugged into my computer at the time. They’d intentionally left it. It meant that I’d not lost a single iota of data. They also left the leather satchel I loved so much and my wallet. Amazingly.

I called the police. Filled out some papers and went to buy myself a new computer and iPhone from the Apple Store at West Edmonton Mall (silently thanking the clients from my last tour who were allowing me to be able to pay for this all).

All is well now: the police are able to track my iPhone (if you have an iPhone get mobile me if you don’t have it already and enable ‘Find My iPhone). They have the serial numbers and there’s a decent chance they’ll find them at a pawnshop in the months to come.

And . . . this may seem odd – but I find myself wishing the thief well. He might be an asshole. I don’t know. He might just be desperate. He caught me on a good day? He might be a she. I don’t know. But I know people do the best they can with what they have in the moment. I’m aware of how useless judging people is. On my good days.

But today for some reason (and this is genuinely not my default response) tonight my prayer for him is that he becomes so overwhelmed with the unexpected generosity and random support of strangers in his life that his heart is filled right to his cockles, his bank account filled up nicely so that he no longer feels any need to take from others without asking. My prayer is that whatever larger issues of social justice that have him feel oppressed and downtrodden come to the public attention so we can all work on resolving those right down to the roots. My prayer is that he finds himself met with such a profound thunderstorm of respect from those he meets that he finds his deepest self respect and becomes an overflowing well of respect for others. And maybe in the midst of that he feels an irresistible urge to return my laptop.

Other upsides: my new laptop has more memory so i can fit so much more music and all the Doctor Who episodes I want. My old one kept telling me it was full. yay!

Another reason to be grateful to the thief who stole my laptop: my new laptop is finally able to rip those amazing CD’s I bought that my last laptop wouldn’t recognize. So excited to finally be able to listen to these CD’s!!

Other things the thief didn’t steal last night: my wallet and credit card, my bicycle, my leather bag i love so much, my trust in people’s goodness, my belief in the possibility of healing and redemption around every corner, my sense of humour, my sense of safety in this world and most importantly any of my Doctor Who things.


Here are the lessons I want to share from it:

  • Back up your computer often. Just do it. You know you need to do this. Do it today. Don’t put it off. This could save your business. You can do this with a hard drive on an online drive. Or both. I feel like the universe gave me a relatively inexpensive lesson in responsibility Friday morning. Note taken. Thank you.
  • Lock your doors. Be responsible for the things in your life. Until now, in true Canadian Hippie fashion I haven’t been a big door locker. I will now. There’s something about self respect here. Self care. Lock things up. This includes putting a passcode on your laptop and phone so people can’t just hack them.
  • Install anti-theft software on your computer – I commend www.hiddenapp.com (check it out – so cool).
  • When you have reserves built up – loss hurts less. How are your reserves? Do you have bit extra in money, love, community, support, food etc. So many people sort of scrape by and never take time to build up that little bit of extra padding. But it feels really good to have. When our basic needs are met a certain generosity in our heart opens up.


My question for you:

How do you responsibly take care of and protect your business?

All useful ideas, resources and tips are welcome.


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About Tad

  • Mobile Alternative Health

    I am on the go so much I often don’t have my laptop handy… So I store documents and such within my gmail docs and usually access my virtual office via crackberry or other random computers with friends, family or even the Mac store at west ed! ;-) contemplating an ipad or similar tablet though to have better access…

  • such a great option. i do this too with some things!

  • Freetodanceljp

    Thank God about Dr. Who – Whew!

  • Gabriella

    First of all, your compassion for the thief is commendable.  Secondly, his/her thoughtfulness toward some of your other non-taken items (and those purposely left behind) proves that there may be some hope for him/her yet!  And finally, this post is so timely, only in a different way!  My computer system crashed last week and all of my files are in there.  I didn’t back-up often – almost never.  YIKES!  Have I ever learned my lesson!  Chances are that everything can be restored, but in the meantime, I’m waiting around for those ever-loved files!   Thanks for the tips here. Waiting to see what other recommend!

    Sorry this happened to you! 

  • Kim

    Wow Tad! I can’t possibly imagine, but I had that sinking feeling when I read this… life does live on our computers. Painful to imagine how business can go on without them… however it does (with back up help – mine has been suffering from a virus and I’ve relinquished it to software developer-husband who kindly backed up all my data a month ago! whew. I hope to get it back today fully intact. I’d settle for partially, as long as I have my work files!). I hope your thief reads this blog… can I add that to your list of wishes for them? Thank you for your reminders on safety and security in balance with kindness and goodness. Tough to pull off both at the same time when violated!

  • hey gabriella. i send prayers that all your data is saved in the perfect way. and yes! can’t wait to see what others have to add.

  • i know right?

  • hey kim. i’d love it if my thief read this.

  • Ann

    So sorry, Tad.  I commend your gratitude for what was left.  The thief was very specific – lucky you for that. I back up my files every few weeks.  I am considering doing more files on Google docs, once I learn more about it.

  • just posted a query on facebook about online back up and it sounds like sugarsync.com is pretty amazing

  • Ashley

    I’ve used SugarSync and pretty good – there were a few Mac hiccups but they have probably been resolved now. (E.g. Older versions of iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) used to store documents as compressed folders of component files, which SS sometimes had issues with – but this probably isn’t the case any more.)  The iPhone app is handy too, as is the ability to send links for large files.)

    Your story reminds me of the (paraphrased) saying: “Trust in God, but tie up your camel!”

  • Tad, I think that’s the sweetest post about being robbed I’ve ever seen :-).

  • Jenntasnim

    Just want to say how much I like you.  Thanks for your perspective.  It is so nice to know I am part of a collective consciousness that really does wish others well, no matter what, and who truly want to make deep and lasting chance in the world.  Bless you!

  • Hi Tad,
    I agree with Gabriella that your compassion is commendable.  My feelings are that the thief would have gotten away with far more had he hung around and shared coffee with you come breakfast.

    After all, you could have given him all the tips on how to start a decent business! 

    Perhaps, just perhaps, he looked through the files and did start his own business, but that is unlikely.  Here in Holland there is a secure system of social security, which means everybody has the right to a modest standard of living.  Criminality is not unknown here, but you don’t need to do it just to survive.  Criminals here are usually in for the big time, or not at all.