Posted by: loungekitten | November 15, 2008

Unsolicited PSA

Before I get to the PSA part of the post, I’ll give a brief update on my knitting progress.

Pink is finally, finally dry, as of yesterday morning. I thought that with the air being so dry around here lately, the sweater would have dried faster, but it just wasn’t the case. So I need to have a photo shoot, and now I really don’t have too much time this weekend because I will be working and the light is crappy. We’ve had gloomy weather for days and I hope by, say, Tuesday or Wednesday it will be sunny again. I need to catch up with my knitting progress pictures!

I’ve also started knitting Fair Enough for my mother as a Christmas gift. Shhhh!

Now on to the possibly boring PSA. . .

In my post this past Monday, I alluded to an incident which happened to me personally a few years ago. I was in a parking garage when I believe (and others, the incident did not go unreported) that I narrowly avoided becoming the victim of a crime. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, mostly prompted by posts I’ve read here and here.

It was a late August evening, and I stopped by the local mall to pick up a few things. I left the store at about 8:30 PM, and it was still light out, though the sun was beginning to set. I entered the parking garage where I had parked my car earlier. As always, I had my keys in hand. [Always have your keys in hand when you leave a public place to go to your vehicle. It is usually when you are fumbling/looking for your keys at your car that you are most vulnerable to being attacked.] Suddenly, a man approached me and explained that he was visiting from Brazil and he needed directions to get somewhere and could I please help him. I was annoyed at first, mostly because I was tired and just wanted to get home. “I really don’t have time to help you right now, sorry.” is what I said to him. Then he became more insistent that I help him. I took maybe one more step and I froze – my instincts told me that it probably was not a good idea to let this guy know which car was mine, and thankfully as I glanced up the aisle I saw there were a few cars parked near my car so the stranger would not be able to guess which one was mine. [I analyze this moment over and over in my head whenever I think about this incident and wonder what exactly gave me this instinct – approaching me in a relatively empty parking garage? The fact he was wearing sunglasses in a parking garage? The setting sun was bright, but the parking garage was relatively dark and I should think that most people would have popped their sunglasses off to talk to someone for a few minutes. The fact that he was a few feet away from one of the biggest shopping malls in the country and could have gone inside to ask for directions from anyone else and yet was now insisting that I give him directions? Or a combination of all of the above?]

I asked him to follow me back into the store and I would give him his directions, and if I did not know how to get where he was going someone else could probably help him. Without waiting for his reply, I turned and headed back to the store. He began to protest, shouting at me and asking me why I couldn’t just be a nice person and help him. That’s when my steps really quickened, and I screamed as I walked away, “LET ME BE THE FIRST TO TELL YOU THAT IT IS NOT THE CUSTOM IN THIS COUNTRY TO APPROACH A WOMAN ALONE IN A PARKING GARAGE AND ACT IN THE WAY YOU ARE ACTING, I TOLD YOU I’LL GIVE YOU THE DIRECTIONS INSIDE!!” (Or something to that effect.) As I looked around I saw a man walking towards a bus stop who had turned to look at what I was yelling about. I tried to catch his eye and communicate that I was in distress and the person who was causing the distress was right behind me, and as I turned I saw that “the visitor” saw the other man too and he immediately turned, ran, and hopped in his car in the next aisle over and sped off in his car. I waited to make sure he wasn’t circling back, got in my car, and left the scene myself. [Why did he leave? My uncooperativity? The potential witness who had happened upon the scene? If he was up to no good, did he just think all of it was getting to be more trouble than it was worth?]

So I ended up reporting this to the security people at the mall and the store I had come out of, because at the time I was actually working at the store and I thought that they should alert my co-workers about this guy. They believed that the guy probably meant to commit some sort of crime and I was lucky that he left.

So, always trust your instincts. . .if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Don’t let someone “guilt” you into something you don’t feel is right. Forget about being nice if you feel that your personal safety is at stake.

Always be vigilant about your surroundings, so if you need to get yourself out of a potentially dangerous situation you actually have a fighting chance of succeeding.

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