I didn't share this story when it happened to me (roughly 6 months ago) as I was mortified and pretty embarrassed. I was nervous too, sometimes reality deals you a corker of a wake up call. But time heals all, along with battered egos.
I had been out for a drink, and I knew the owner of the bar, so he joined our table and swiftly the free shots arrived. I'm not one for shots; they make drunkenness unpredictable, which I don't enjoy, but I had a couple for good measure. It was time to go home, and I turned down the idea of a cab; I felt no need to spend the money, it was a journey I know very well.
The journey required two night buses, but as I often did, I got the first one, and then went to a cab office to get a taxi for the final stretch. This is where it starts to go tits up. I no longer have my bag. My entire bag. I believe I fell asleep on the bus and someone took advantage of the opportunity to take it. I believe I have a memory of him taking it, and me trying to hold on, but being unable to. The memory is distressing so I haven't fought too hard to make it clear in my mind.
My survival instinct kicks in, and I get a cab to my mothers' house, knowing she'll have money to pay for it. However, the alcohol and stress have somehow allowed me to forget that my mother moved out of London that very morning. I realise I have no where to go, and no way to pay for my cab. When the driver catches up with my realisation, he gets very aggressive and ends up demanding my ring. Not as collateral to pay my bill later, but in effect to just mug me of it, to pay for the ride. In my upset I give it to him, apologising profusely.
I walked to my flat, in a panic, and I try the bells of my neighbours. Unfortunately our bells usually didn't work, and no one woke up. This resulted in me sleeping on my doorstep. It was so cold; I didn't even have a coat.
So I spent the night outside. It was miserable, embarrassing and I hadn't eaten for nearly 20 hours. With the gift of hindsight I should have walked across to the police station, which is 24 hour station, but perhaps embarrassment and it not being an emergency held me back.
In the following days, I actually managed to get my ring back, which made me cry tears of joy. It took about 12 calls to the cab office, and a very helpful lady at the other end, as the driver wasn't keen on giving it back to me.
The night was hideous, embarrassing and scary. My local network was no longer there to support me (my mother and a friend used to hold spare keys for me), and it was a wake up call to develop some new back-up plans.