Monday, November 17, 2008

Pay Attention!!


If you don't listen to anything I ever say, listen to this. 

I received a phone call from my oldest daughter this evening.

Jessie:   Where are You!

Me:        At TJ Maxx why?

Jessie:   Well that would have been good to know seeing, as I just almost got kidnapped!

Me:        What!!!!!

So now I am thoroughly freaking out in my head, trying to stay calm on the phone in the middle of TJ Maxx.

Apparently she was shopping at our local Books-A-Million between classes, and she noticed this strange guy following her around the store.  She said that when she would go down an aisle, she would look up and he would be staring at her from the other aisle.  She would move to another aisle and he would follow.  She had tried to call me, but my phone went straight to voice mail (stupid phone), so she called her boyfriend.  He told her to check out and when she does ask them to watch her go to her car.  At this point she said she did not see him anymore.  When she checked out, she asked them to watch her go to her car, they said they would.  She walked out the door and he was standing right outside the door.  She ran to her car and locked the door and left.

This has really freaked me out tonight.  I immediately left TJ Maxx and went to Books-A-Million.  I told the people at the front again what happened.  They were a bit shocked and called the manager.  As I was explaining this to them, someone behind me said there was a strange man walking around in the parking lot.  When I left the store, there was a homeless man sitting outside the door and another man walking in the parking lot.

Now this is not an extremely bad part of town.  There is a Toys R Us, HomeDepot, Costco, Starbucks, and Zaxby's all within spitting distance. 

What to do???  I  went directly from there to a local sporting goods store and bought mace!!!  Logan said to get her  a Taser, but I don't think that is legal. (Is it?)

Have I said that this freaked me out a bit?   I have been followed in a store before, but that was me, not my child.  My insides just feel like Jell-O.

I am telling you this to remind you that there are weirdos and freaks out there.  Take care of yourself and those with you.  Pay attention to your surroundings getting in and out of your car.  Pay attention to strange people following you in a store.   Do not be afraid to ask for help to your car.


I found this article when I was searching for safety tips.

Protect yourself from would-be assailants by being
equipped with the greatest weapon of all: knowledge

by Jessica Howell

"It doesn’t just happen in the movies,” warns Richard Hart’s book 139 Ways to Prevent Sexual Assault of the dangers of parking lot abductions. In fact, the common preoccupations of women (chatting on a cell phone, searching for the car in a crowded mall parking lot) are habits that assailants seek out in a victim, making it easier to startle or catch them off guard.
While constantly being aware of your surroundings seems an obvious rule of thumb when in a parking lot, it’s often ignored in the hustle of daily errands.
To help refresh your safety skills and shed light on predator tactics, Hart offers the following tips to women:

  • Don’t approach your vehicle if a van or other large vehicle with tinted windows is parked next to it. Find a security guard to walk you to your car; they are paid to do so. If a security guard isn’t available, look for a nearby couple walking to their car and say something like, “That vehicle wasn’t there when I parked. Would you mind making sure I get into my car safely?” Most people would be happy to lend a moment and ensure your safety.
  • Walk with purpose. Multiple studies have shown that a quick, purposeful walk sends subconscious signals to predators that you are not an easy mark. They typically decide to wait for another victim.
  • Keep one hand free at all times. This at least gives you the opportunity to attempt to fend-off a would-be attacker.
  • Have your key ready to open the car door. Never stand next to your car searching through your purse. Robbers, car-jackers and sexual predators all watch for this type of distraction.
  • Once in your car, lock the doors immediately. This is the time that a bystander could quickly and simply open a car door and let himself in, a frequent tactic since it doesn’t attract a lot of attention from passersby.
  • Get moving. Don’t sit inside of your vehicle adjusting the stereo, rummaging through shopping bags or your purse, or talking on your phone, especially if the lot is not well populated. Instead, drive to a well-lit area and stop the car (but leave it running) and then search for the item, make a phone call, etc.
  • If you have an unlocking button or keyless entry system, make sure you unlock only the driver door. Most keyless systems let you unlock either the driver door or use two punches to unlock all doors. Unlocking all doors allows a predator to simply slide into your car from the passenger side and do whatever he wants.
  • Make sure that your dome light is always functioning properly. As you unlock your vehicle at night, glance into the back seat and make sure that an attacker has not gained access to your car.
  • Lastly, never approach your vehicle if a single male is loitering anywhere near it. Period.

You can read  more on this article here.

I just praise God that He was with her and kept her safe.  Thank You God!



Dawn said...

Oh, my... how frightening!!! I am so glad she is safe.

Be blessed!

Unknown said...

I am so glad she is ok! That is scary there are some crazy people walking around.

Tammy said...

OH MY GOSH! I am so glad she is safe and I would too be just freakin' out. It's such a scary world we live in now. To think when we were growing up, my mom had to hunt me down in our large neighborhood to come home for dinner.

Shell in your Pocket said... I have chills up my scary...glad your daughter is safe!!!

Next times, she should have the person walk her to the car..not just watch!!!
-sandy toes

Southerner said...

When I walk to my car I always have my key out first but I put one key between my birdie finger and ring so I can use it to punch with a straight sharp object for a little more umph. Have you heard about the old old lady that had a guy come in to rape her while she was sleeping. She grabbed and twisted and did not let go. The guy was begging her to please just call the cops. She drug him by his ... to the front porch and told him he better get out of there and never come back. Let J know NOT TO LET GO!

The last time my husband went out of town we bought an extra box of pistol shells. He already has a case of shotgun shells. He showed me how to load them again. People say they would feel too bad to shoot even a robber. What is that? You come to take what is mine or harm us and I have no problem shooting you! I will try to do it before you enter, I am not waiting until you make it in. I am not aiming for a non fatal place like your toe, either.

Anonymous said...

I would have freaked out! OH MY! I had already purchased Mace and keep it in my car . . . duh . . . I guess I should carry it on my key ring or in my purse pocket.

Thanks for the warning and Praise God your daughter is safe.

tammi said...

Oh my goodness. That would certainly be upsetting enough if it happened to me, but to my daughter.... yeah, I'd be totally freaked out, too. I'm so glad she's okay.

Valarie said...

WOW! My insides are jello, right along w/ you. We had a similar situation in Mexico, at Costco. A guy kept walking past us and smiling at Abi. One time he walked by and rubbed her hair and spoke to her in broken English. We ran to the other side of the store and avoided him the rest of the time. Freaky stuff. Thanks for the reminder to stay safe and watch your surroundings. Jessie is a smart girl!

AndreaLeigh said...

Thank god she is safe, but what a smart girl you have raised. She did everything right! Kudos to her.

Kristen said...

Thank God she's okay.

Pray over her give her a big can of pepper spray for her key chain.


Muthering Heights said...

That must have been terrifying! Thank God she's okay!!!!

Tamara Jansen said...

Thank you for the tips! It's easy to forget these things during a busy time like Christmas.

Anonymous said...

so thankful that the situation ended the way it did. she was very smart in asking for help. recently i asked a fred's associate to walk me to my car bc of a similar happening. they were so nice about it - peace of mind is everything! the mace was a good idea.
blessings to your family,

Lisa said...

Did anyone think to report this to the police???? It is probably a good idea. I have a bad experience from the exact location. If you want to hear it, call me.

Anonymous said...

Oh man that is sooo scary!! I talk with my girls often about this sort of thing-but dread the day when they are as old as yours-and out on their own. I can see why you feel like jello. Thank you for the tips too.

Leigh of Tales from Bloggeritaville said...

That is so scary! I am just glad that she is safe adn ok. The lOrd was watching over her as well. I thnk you did the right thing to alert the store. It's such a scary world. You've probably heard of the young mom here in the ham who went to lunch on her break from work in broad daylight and is now missing. She has a small child. It really is a scary world, and sadly this season brings out the thugs too.
Always be safe. Be aware of your surroundings. Bad guys come out in the daytime too. And carry mace. I always carry it.
Bless your family and praise God she is ok.

Tami said...

OMGosh! I'm so glad she was aware of what was going on around her and that she is safe!!

Dawn @ simply transparent said...

this has happened even while driving to me..make sure she knows as well as you to keep driving.."lead them on a goose chase" never go to residence go to police dept or fire house station.'s sad but today's stresses cause already crazy people to do worse.

Anonymous said...

Val, That really scared me when I read about Jessie's close call. I'm glad she had sense enough to tell the employees to whatch her to her car, but she should have gotten a security guard to walk her to the car. Tell her to always keep the mace where she can get to it in a hurry. Maybe put it in her poc ket before she gets out of the car. Love y'all.

Suzie said...

I am so glad she was ok. How scary!

Georgia Girl said...

WOW Valarie, that is so scary when it happens to our kids! Thank God he was looking after her! So many crazy people out there but it also great your daughter was aware of what was around her to. Some young girls never realize how crazy some people are. Anyway thanks for sharing your tips you found. said...

First I want to thank you for your sweet & encouraging words on my adoption post. Bless you! Thank you for being my friend.


We've had several abductions in Wal Mart and SAM's Club parking lots around here. Josh made a rule that I can't go to SAM's without a buddy -- either Josh or a friend. That sounds like he's controlling but he's not. After the fourth abduction happened -- I just decided not to go without him. It's not safe.

You are wise to arm your daughter with mace and a self-defense class is a good idea. A lot of karate places offer self-defense courses for reduced rates.

In friendship,

LISSALYNN2006 said...

omg!!!!!!!! im glad she is ok and that God was with her as he is with all of us that walk with him in our journey through life.

littletoesandcheerios said...

I am so thankful she was looking out for herself.
We think it won't happen to us, but we see it on tv all the time.
That's why I had to use fake names for us. When weird guys started commenting, I got nervous.
Thanks for doing a post on this.

Ashley said...

Oh, goodness! I know where you are talking about. There is a bad neighborhood to the back side of the stores so maybe someone walked from there. Either way, that is a very high traffic area and I wouldn't think there would be any problems. That is so scary indeed. We have to be careful.. it seems like some scary stuff happens during the holiday season. Eek! I'm glad your friend is okay.

mah-meeee said...

oh my goodness. thank god she is ok! good thing that she is observant and noticed the strange man.

thanks for the article... it reminds us that we should always be careful no matter what neighborhood we are at.

Shannon C said...

This kind of thing happened to me once while I was in a movie store. I had never been so scared. I told the cashier, who called the manager, who walked me out to my car. I'm so glad your daughter is ok!!!!

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Oh my gosh! Im so glad everything turned out ok. Im always so scared for my kids. I have two teenagers that think Im weird about stuff . It does happen to everyday people like us. Thanks for sharing your story. You have one smart daughter~

Dots said...

a very useful post... thanks

Anonymous said...

I'm glad she's ok! I'm glad you're ok! :)

I'm glad her boyfriend gave her good advice too - I've not had the pleasure to meet this fine young gentleman, but it seems he has a good head on his shoulders. (I do agree though - ask for an escort the next time - usually they will be glad to do it!)

j said...

It was scary hearing it in person and it was scary reading it too.

I am so proud of Jess for being aware of her surroundings.

Praise God she's OK!

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Thank God yes...and she reacted very smart. All three of my daughters get a fresh tube of pepper spray in their stocking each year and I carry it too! Great reminder to all of us. Thanks a bunch!

DD said...

Actally that IS a bad part of town. I use to work at that Books a Million and let me tell you that a LOT of vagrants are dropped off at that square by truckers. Its NOT a great place to be honestly. Perhaps she'd feel more confident taking some self-defense courses? I know we have some at UAH.

marky said...

How frightening!!! PTL she is ok!!
We just had a family send around an email in our Homeschool group, apparently they had a similar situation at our local mall this past week.
Sure isnt' the same world we grew up in!

D... said...

Praise God that she is safe and was aware of her surroundings. So so very frightening. Thanks for the reminder.

Crayl said...

Oh V, I am glad she is safe. Kudos to her for noticing, but word to the wise, when she stepped outside and he was there, the smartest thing to do would be go back in and talk to the management. Hind site is 20/20 I know. God was watching her.
Please though, homeless doesn't = preditor, straight laced , clean cut looking people can be just as dangerous.

~*Lisa*~ said...

Thank the Lord she knew what to do! I know that area all too well and visit there often. Thank you so much for posting this I hope you do not mind I want to link to this site as a lot of my family and friends live in Huntsville and sure could use an extra warning to be aware! Again Thank you so much for posting this. I am so glad your daughter is safe! Bless your poor Momma heart. Blessings!

Louise said...

Oh my goodness, thank the Lord for protection.
Wow that made me feel like jello and that isn't even my child...oh HUGS girl!!
Thanks for the great tips :)

Anonymous said...

wow. This same situation happened to me once. Now whenever I feel like someone is following me in a store I check outside the front doors when I go out. If it happens again and they're out there I'm turning around, going right back in and finding someone to go to my car with me. Gives me the creeps fo sho. I'm so glad nothing happened to your daughter!!