Emily’s Story: “Something More Serious May Have Happened”

It was only a few months after getting my license and my first car back in 2011, and as any high school does on a hot day, I went to the grocery store to get some Starbucks. I parked on a side of the grocery store that I normally didn’t, but it was closer to the doors than the front parking lot, which was packed.

I was walking back to my car with my drink, and as I walked across the parking lot, I noticed a guy lingering near a car a few feet away. I’m not normally paranoid, especially at this grocery store, but he gave me a bad vibe, so I made sure to put my key in between my fingers. Before I could reach my car he stepped in front of me, blocking my way and asked, “Hey, you’re looking really pretty. Do you have any money?” He looked homeless, and while I don’t have issues giving homeless people extra change (especially if they have animals), I didn’t want to give this guy anything.

Politely, I told him no while backing away. He came closer and again said, “Yeah, but you’re looking really good today.” I don’t understand how me looking “pretty” or “good” is supposed to make me want to give him money, but he wouldn’t give up. After telling him no a few more times (and while a handful of people walked by and did NOTHING, despite how nervous and upset I likely looked), he glared at me and called me a bitch before walking away. Shaking, I waited until he was across the parking lot before getting in my car. I told my parents about him as soon as I got home and my mom, who works at the store, said he wasn’t allowed on the property anymore but still popped up every now and then.

Ever since, I avoid that area of the parking lot because it’s less crowded and is in a more enclosed area with less street lamps. I’m just glad it was day time and there were at least SOME people around, even if they weren’t doing anything to help, or else something more serious may have happened.