It was after business hours, about 7:00 pm. I was on my way to my computer users group meeting, and I wanted to stop by the Post Office and mail the stack of our wedding invitations. It was January 1988. There weren’t many folks there at the Main Post Office. I had to finish addressing the envelopes so I went in and stood at the table working. Everyone else left except a couple of guys. I was aware of them but not paying attention.
Then time to put the invitations in the Outgoing slot … this was a BIG decision in my life and mailing these invitations made it real. I was aware that the two guys were still at the PO too, but I didn’t think anything of it, my mind on committing to my big decision.
I paused before pushing the wedding invitations through the Outgoing slot and took a deep breath — this was it! As I looked up, one of the guys and I had a moment of eye contact. In retrospect I must have looked vulnerable in that instant as it was an emotional moment for me, a big commitment. But at the time, even though I was aware of the eye contact, I still thought nothing of it. I took another deep breath and finished poking all the envelopes in the slot, gathered my things and prepared to leave the PO.
Suddenly my brain kicked into gear, and told me one guy had just gone out the PO door, and the other one was right behind me following me closely as I was walking out. And no one else was around.
My brain was in hyper speed now, and I realized these guys were after me or my purse or something. As I walked I made sure I had my keys in my hand ready to unlock the car. I knew my older car was a little messed up on the driver’s door handle so that I had to fiddle with the key to open the door. I knew the guy was right behind me by his footsteps. I knew he could have plenty of time to grab me if I stopped to fiddle with the key. Now I was VERY aware of these guys.
I knew it would be a mistake to stand fiddling with the driver’s door while getting my keys to work. So looking straight ahead and ignoring my car I walked right beside my car’s driver door, striding confidently. The guy then passed me to go to the other side of the parking lot to wait for me there. When I was even with the back bumper of my car I quickly turned and walked around my car to the front passenger door. I had my keys out and ready and I quickly inserted them, hopped in, and locked the doors. I could hear the guy running back to me. I hopped over the middle hump in the car, to the driver’s seat. All of this took place in seconds. I immediately started the car.
By this time the guy was pounding on my window, saying something. I had started up the car, and my brain told me not to make the guy mad, so I rolled my window down an inch. “Hey, where are you going? Can I get a ride?” he said. “No, I’m sorry” I said in a gentle voice, as I started to back up. “Wait, I have something to show you” he said as he put his hand inside his jacket (yikes, could he have a gun?). I said nicely “I’m sorry” and didn’t look at him and continued to back up. “I have papers to show you.” he said with his hand still in his jacket, as I zoomed away, heading out of the parking lot.
At the parking lot exit the other guy was waiting for me. As I passed him going fast, he shouted “Hey, did that guy bother you?” I zoomed away, without slowing down for him.
I knew I just had a narrow escape from something bad from those two guys, and I was shaking for quite awhile.
LESSON LEARNED: When in danger, sometimes doing something unexpected can help me escape.
ANOTHER LESSON LEARNED: Always be aware of my surroundings when I’m in public.
So, there you have it — a couple of my valuable lessons learned the scary way!
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