National Stalking Awareness
How do you know you are being stalked?
Intuitively, you just feel like someone is watching or following you. Sometimes you see them looking right at you and quickly turning away when you catch them. Other times, you do not know at all until it is too late and you are confronted with the stalker. Yes, some people will say that perhaps paranoia or over sensitivity of the situation is at hand. Some may even go as far as to insinuate that maybe you think too much of yourself that someone would be following you around. Whatever, I say....go with your gut. I was a victim of a stalking situation and luckily it ended well. Sometimes, you just have to follow your instincts no matter how paranoid you think you are being at the time and no matter what other people might think. Your life may depend on it or the life of the person who is telling you they think they are being stalked.
TELL Someone: This is Important
Please tell someone if you think you have been or are being stalked as soon as you realize it. it is very important that you do not keep this to yourself. No matter how paranoid or fooolish you think it might be.....TELL SOMEONE close to you. If you are very scared... go tell the police.
I saw him In the Parking Lot Staring at Me...Could it be a stalker?
It was a beautiful warm spring evening as I left work in the direction of the local Walmart to order foot long subs for the sales meeting scheduled the following day. As Manager of the Sales Agency, it was a detail that I handled myself since Walmart had awesome subs for quite a bargain. The parking lot was packed at 6:30pm so I parked a distance away from the store. After walking about half the distance towards the store, I noticed a man walking from the store. He continuously stared at me as he appraoched closer and closer from the opposite side of the parking area. He had on jeans with a hole in the knee, a jean jacket, reddish plaid shirt and a cap. I think he also had facial hair. He walked with his hands tucked into his pants pockets.. I thought it odd since he had no bags. Though I immediately felt a chill from this man, I just kept walking and continued about my business of going to deli in the back of the store.
I saw the same man again watching me again at the Deli Counter
Waiting for my receipt at the deli counter after making my order, I glanced into the large mirror on the wall in front of me.....there behind me he was again....this same man rounding the corner of the endcap of orange juice. He didn't see me at first and appeared to be looking for someone unlike the rest of the shoppers carefully studying merchandise. He spotted me and stopped cold...I slowly turned around to see what he would do. As I turned he turned his head and pretended to look the other way... did an about face...looked the other direction, looked back at me and continued to walk to the end of the aisle and around the corner so I couldn't see him.
Yes, it startled me. I thought immediately...that is the same man that was in the parking lot LEAVING the store 5 minutes ago. I proceeded to get my receipt and walk to the front of the store. As I looked into the darkened parking lot, I remember feeling fear. That was my intuition warning me something bad could happen in that darkened parking lot. I stood there for about a minute (seemed like an eternity) and decided to make a fast paced effort to get to my car.
Almost at a jog in heels I headed for the car. I felt as though someone was trying to catch up with me as I walked faster. I was happy to have electronic locks and quickly opened my car door, looked around before I got into the car, jumped in and hit the locks. If he was there I didn't look back to see him. Though, I do believe a red truck followed my car out of the parking lot. I was not about to go home so I drove to my church in the area and the truck passed.
LISTEN to your fear, it is intuition speaking through your emotions
As an insurance professional, I met strangers in their homes and offices all the time. I never felt fear in this way. It was not a familiar feeling and caught me by surprise. I can say for certain that there was definitely a bad vibe from that man. His appearance left a permanent imprint in my mind that spring of 2002. You are not being silly, Listen to your fear. Your intuition is speaking to you through your emotions. Trust the instincts you were born with as with the animal kingdom. When alerted; take heed.
But wait there is more...and this time HE Actually SPOKE TO ME!
Months later..."the Stalker" Spoke to me at the local grocery store
Grocery shopping after church to pick up a few things was a normal routine as I wondered down the pasta aisle a man approached from behind and quickly passed by. People pass by all the time in the grocery aisle and most of us just keep doing whatever we are doing and pay no mind. Because this man's pace was a little faster than most...I guess it caught my attention and I glanced in the direction of the man wearing jeans, jean jacket and cap. Turning back to my shopping I shrugged and paid no mind to my overactive imagination.
Next aisle over, here he came again, another driveby from the front. Walking quickly again, he had no cart, no shopping basket and looking at a side glance as he passed. Hmmmm...strange I thought and kept to myself without trying to look at him much but my intuition was screaming as this feeling of fear started to penetrate every cell in my body. I went on my business and proceeded to the next aisle. As I stand contemplating which cereal to put in my basket...the man rounds the corner of the aisle and approaches me. Without hesistation and in hindsight with total premeditation he says...."Don't I know you? Don't you work for XYZ insurance company at the branch in....um..eh?" Yes he was waiting for me to tell him where I worked...but how did he know I worked for an insurance company.....Ohhhhh, I realized at that point that he must have seen my personalized car tags when I got out of my car in the parking lot that told him I worked for XYZ insurance company. Those RED FLAGS and FEAR were at 100% now. Not only did I believe this was the same man from months before that likely saw my car tags then too, but now he making contact with me and trying to find out where I work. It gets even more weird...keep reading.
What do you say when approached by a stalker?
In response to his question, I tried to sound as calm as possible though I was likely started to shake in my shoes and I said, "oh my office is not close to here and I don't think we have met, you must have me confused with someone else, it happens all the time." He acted as though he was not going to let that rest....though I dismissed the question and stepped away to continue shopping with the hair standing up on the back of my neck. He decided not to press the issue and continued on. Oh it gets even better, keep reading.
- NOTE to SELF:
- Never give a stalker any personal information about you no matter how small, just keep on going and make sure you are in a crowd of people.
- Never put yourself in a situation where you are alone with a person who seems to be stalking you.
- Stay calm and in control.
- Do not appear to be victim material or an easy target.
At that moment, I believed this encounter was a test to see if I would be an easy target for a later more convenient time and I was on the mark. The policeman later told me that I did the right thing by not mentioning where I actually worked.
Leaving the Grocery Store
I was in a small town no name country grocery store and there was hardly anyone in the store and few cars in the parking lot. I was not going to chance going into the parking lot by myself after being confronted in the store. NOTE: This was the era before cell phones, (Thank God for cell phones). So I went to the front counter and asked the clerk if I could use the phone to call my husband at home as I believe there was someone in the store following me. She looked at me a little weird, but I did not care. I called my husband explained the situation and asked him to come to the store and meet me at the door. He agreed and 15 minutes later he arrived.
I waited in the store for help to arrive
When my husband approached the store, I pushed the cart out to the car and explained what had happened...oddly we watched the man come out of the store and quickly walk around the side of the grocery store buildinuig. Who does that? My husband walked to end of the building and looked around the corner and he was gone...or so we thought. At that moment, I realized he had been waiting in the store for me to leave. We loaded the car and as we were about to get in our cars, there he came again around the other side of the building. The stalker had walked all the way around the back of the grocery store and was heading back into the store. My husband felt the need to get a better look at him, I justed wanted to leave. As my husband walked past him in the entrance he said to my husband, "Who are you staring at"? My husband asked him why he was following me around the store. They had a few choice words to say to one another. My husband went to the pay phone and started to call the police. The stalker tried to grab the phone out of his hand and they had more choice words to each other. My husband called the police as I sat in my car and waited to file a complaint...then drsms gets even better. Apparently the stalkers (wife?) came out of the store with a cart full of food and headed for a red pickup truck in the parking lot. She met the stalker at the car as he must have spouted some nonsense story to her for what was happening at the moment. They both came to my car and wanted me to roll down the window...I did a crack... as I looked into his blood shot fierce eyes, he looked drunk. As the women asked me what was going on and why was I calling the police on her husband 'there must be a big mistake'? I told him to back away from my car as he looked at me angrily...I told her that she needed to ask 'her husband' why he was following me around the store and why he asked me where I worked? I wrote down the tag number on the truck and told her I was going to file a police report. They left very quickly. I realized then that he did not want the police alerted to him and it was obviously not a good time for him with 'his women' at the moment, so he must have decided to do some reconnaissance work for stalking my office at a later time. I was fortunate how the situation turned out and that I was alerted to him before it could go further.
It was the strangest, most bizarre situation I have ever experienced. The police did come. I did file a report. The Officer did collect the security tape from the grocery store manager that showed the stalker coming into the store looking for someone....talking to me....following me around the store....waiting behind an aisle for me to leave....going outside...coming back in...going out again. The police did contact the stalker and warned him not to have any contact with me again.
I never saw him again after that. Later that year there were online messages being circulated about safety in parking lots and mentioning a red pickup stalking victims. I always wondered if that was the same stalker.
LEARN FROM THIS STORY
- Never put yourself in the situation where you are alone with a stalker on purpose. Do not go places they want you to go.
- Never park in a place where you can be trapped...watch parking beside vans. That is a huge read flag and how most abductions occur. Watch for men sitting in cars when you are loading.
- Never..NEVER attempt to help someone crying for help in a parking lot by yourself. Men do this pretending to be in need as a disabled person or having a heart attack to lure women to their cars or into small areas.
- Always appear to be aware of your surroundings. Looking alert is a deterrent. Stalkers look for people who they can easily victimize. Do Not Look like an easy target.
- Have your cell phone available and call someone if you feel threathened, better yet push the button on your car lock to sound off your car.
- Always get someone to help you out to your car if you feel fear or concerned for your safety.
- Safety first, no matter what others may think..
Look Around Be Aware
Golfgal (author) from McKinney, Texas on April 25, 2012:
I have not had that feeling since that time and I hope I never do again. I agree that we can let our emotions driven from an active imagaination run away with us. It was the fear that I felt that was the key. That got my attention since I rarely feel fear. Yes I agree I think I could write more aboutin this niche. Thanks for the idea. Thanks for visiting.
Don Simkovich from Pasadena, CA on April 24, 2012:
That's quite sobering and unsettling. Listening to intuition is an art because we also are told not to let our emotions get the best of us. It can be hard to balance. But being aware is critical and it's certainly best to err on the side of safety.
Golfgal (author) from McKinney, Texas on April 13, 2012:
Thanks RT and LD for commenting. Yes, getting the tag number of the truck and the video were key to the validation I needed from being deemed a paranoid. LD it was very smart to do what you all did as well and that the police were there immediately so you were not confronted by yourself by the stalker when he was trapped. Being stalked by a stranger is such an eerie thing, but stalking can happen from people we know as well. So even though you know the person, if the situation seems weird or you feel fear...LISTEN to your gut readers. Be safe!
RTalloni on April 13, 2012:
Thanks much for this post to remind us to stay alert. So thankful you are safe and that the stalker was identified in your case. It's so important to file a report!
Lawrence Da-vid on April 11, 2012:
"House Boss" aka "Other Half" wasn't exactly stalked, but had someone show up at a couple of places where she shopped. She did call me immediately and I told her to head to "house." Within a few, she called on the mobile phone and reported that "he" was following. Describing his car as she drove. I told her to stay in traffic and exactly where to go that I'd be along with her shortly. As she pulled into the driveway at the 2nd precinct, he followed. I came in the front lot and he was trapped. A quick yell to a couple of officers and he was stopped short. Unable to explain why he was there and why he was following "boss" he stammered and couldn't justify his behavior which caused his arrest.
Next morning after court where he pleaded guilty, I escorted "boss" and my "mom" to a local gun store where I purchased a couple if 9mm baretta's, and signed them up for shooting classes which they readily accepted. I wouldn't trust either one of them going after me with a gun. I've seen them shoot, and the way they wave that thing around, who knows what would get shot. and I did hide the "bosses gun."