Better Safe Than Sorry


One afternoon last week, I went shopping at a major department store at the mall.  Because I had to pick up an alteration for Hubby in the men’s department, I parked outside the door on that level, one that isn’t terribly busy, so there is usually good parking available.

I did my other shopping first, then came down to the men’s level, picked up Hubby’s things, and then, with my arms really full, and thankful that my car was just outside the door, I wound through the department toward the outside door.

There weren’t too many customers around right then, so I particularly noticed when I walked past four young men who appeared to just be “hanging out”.  It crossed my mind that it was a little odd that they weren’t in the trendy big t-shirts and baggy jeans department, but in the men’s suits, shirts and ties department, where I wouldn’t expect them to find much they liked.

After I had walked a ways past them, as the aisle turned a corner I casually looked around and could see out of the corner of my eye that one of them was walking behind me.  Not very close, but was keeping pace with me.

As I approached the door, I decided right then that I wasn’t going to walk out into the parking lot with that young man behind me, even though it was two o’clock on a sunny afternoon.  I knew that it would be very easy for someone his age and size to knock me down, grab my purse, and be gone before I could even get up.  (And I am especially fond of the new green purse I just bought for Spring, and I definitely wasn’t interested in losing it!)  

So, instead of turning left to go out the door, I made a right turn and walked into the Nautica area where Luanne, a friendly acquaintance from church, works and I could see her there. 

I walked over to Luanne and told her quietly that I thought the young man now browsing at racks just past the door had been following me.  About this time, another young man joined him, and the two of them walked out the door. Because we were standing right in line with the door, we could see them walk straight out into the parking lot.  They obviously hadn’t stopped just outside the door and that was encouraging.  So, I was ready to just forget about it and walk out to my car.

But, Luanne was now all about keeping me safe … all 70 years old, 90 pounds-soaking-wet of her!  So, she called another clerk over to watch her area, and she said she was going to walk me to my car.  And my reply was, “So Luanne, if some guy grabs me, you’re going to wrestle him to the ground and hold him in a head lock until the police come?”  With a smile, she agreed I had a point, and I suggested an alternate plan … that she stand at the door and watch me walk to my car, and if she saw anything happen, she would immediately call 911.

I then walked uneventfully to my car, waved to my new favorite “watch dog” Luanne, and never saw the young men again. 

 I hope I was wrong about the intentions of those young men.  And I hope I was casual enough about my change in plans, that if they weren’t planning what I thought, they didn’t even notice me.

But, if by some chance those young men were looking for trouble, I now pray that somehow this missed opportunity might give them time to re-think their choices, and that God will touch their hearts, open their eyes and change their ways.

So, had I misjudged them?  Was robbing me the last thing on their minds?  I will never know.  But, I do know that I took myself out of a situation where there was the potential for something bad to happen.  

I’ve come to realize that the old sayings are sayings because they’re true!  And one that applies here is, Better safe than sorry.

7 Responses to Better Safe Than Sorry

  1. Amy O says:

    I think you made the right decision. I’m glad you kept safe and Luanne was your watch dog.

  2. Beth says:

    I know there was a book written a few years back about how we SHOULD listen to our fear instincts & how accurate they often are. I’m glad you were extra-careful!

  3. Sandra says:

    Amy — We’ll never know, will we Amy? But, I did feel better playing it safe.

    Beth — You’re right. We need to be aware of any situation that makes us uneasy, and react accordingly.

  4. Hilary says:

    Sandra, I’m glad you’re as observant as you are. True, you’ll never know whether you misjudged, or if your quick-thinking protected you from a potential danger, but regardless of intention, you’re safe.. and that’s what matters the most.

    A trick I figured out when I felt certain I was about to meet trouble head-on one day, was to wave at some invisible person in a window, as if they were expecting me and anticipating my arrival. I saw what I believed to be a possible aggressor spin on his heel and head back in the opposite direction, only looking back once. Quick thinking sure helps.

  5. Sandra says:

    Hilary — That wave idea is a great one — I’ll be sure to remember it. Hubby always says that criminals are lazy, so they look to “pick the low fruit” so a person should always throw up any “roadblocks” they can. So, I’ve learned to always look around as I walk into a parking lot and to walk with authority. Because I think criminals are looking for people who are just meandering along, thinking about other things and not paying attention to what is going on around them.

  6. Barb says:

    I’m going to remember the ‘wave’…good idea. Sandra, you strike me as a person who would always be aware of their surroundings, and very conscious of people and what they are doing. Hubby is absolutely correct…criminals are always looking for the easy way…fast buck…so I tend to think that there was a situation developing and you took care of it. (Security might want to hire you!)

  7. Sandra says:

    Barb — Thanks so much, old friend, for your comfidence in me. But, obviously you haven’t heard about the time I was walking to a parking lot after dark downtown, and a man coming toward me ask me for the time and I gave it to him and walked on (they say that’s a typical ploy for them to distract you). Some friends where about a half block behind me and then ran to catch up with me and said “We can’t BELIEVE you didn’t get mugged!”

    I had been working long hours at Republican Headquarters and was so tired I hadn’t even thought about the threat when he approached. When I looked back on the event, I think the guy probably saw the friends behind me, so he didn’t do anything. God was with me!

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