I’m currently in Tampa, Florida back at the beautiful University of South Florida. I’m here to share a story and a lesson with you all. Something happened to me yesterday that could have ended much worse than it did. If this intro intrigues you, read on.
My parents helped me move into my apartment this weekend. We got here Friday and finished moving everything on Saturday, so they went home. I was too lazy to go out and grocery shop on Saturday so I waited until Sunday. I woke up Sunday morning and wormed myself out of bed to get my food for the week.
Before I continue with the story, you should understand that the area around my campus is not the nicest or the safest. I am aware of this so I try to do what I can to stay safe and alert at all times. In this case, there is only so much a girl can do.
I arrive at Publix around 12pm. Within the first five minutes of my perusing, a tall man a bit older than me hits on me. I ignore him and go about my day. The next ten minutes I realize that he was back in the same isle as I was, holding one green pepper. I didn’t think anything of this, until I met his friend.
Another man who looks the same age as him, also holding one random item, is now next to me in a different isle. I thought this could be a coincidence but my spidey senses began to tingle. And by spidey senses, I mean I started to freak the frick out. Trying to stay cool, calm, and collected on the outside, I walk to the feminine hygiene isle, just to confirm or deny if these men were actually following me or if this was just me being crazy.
About 45 seconds into staring at tampons, I am joined by a different man, around the same age, holding a can of soup. It has been confirmed, I have become a target. I’ve barely been here 20 minutes and I don’t know what to do about this. I decide I’m going to get everything on my list and if they’re still following me I’ll figure something out.
I went to the seafood counter to get some shrimp for lunches and after the worker behind the counter gives me my shrimp, he asks the creep next to me how he can help him. Following the question, the creep looks at me, smiles, and walks away. My heart and stomach and all other internal organs of mine felt like they dropped to the floor.
I dawdle for about another hour trying to clear my head so I can focus on what to do next. I knew I parked close but I didn’t want to walk out there by myself. I also have my pepper spray clutched at this point. Keep in mind that it is the middle of the day and this is a busy Publix. I decided to check-out. I asked the person who was bagging my groceries to walk me out because I had a bad feeling.
Ultimately, I walked out with the worker, a creep in front of me, a creep behind me, and live to tell the tale. But there is definitely something to be learned from this story.
Without getting too deep, women (and men, this can happen to you too!), STAY ALERT AT ALL TIMES!
I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened if I walked out alone. I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened if I was aloof and didn’t realize these men had been following me.
I used to hear stories like this and just listen but not absorb what could’ve happened or entertained the thought that it could’ve been me or someone close to me. This type of thing can happen to anyone.
The moral of the story is we live in a messed up world where bad things happen every day. Being suspicious of people and aware of your surroundings could literally save your life.
I’m thankful for my spidey senses and the workers at Publix for helping your girl out. Though I won’t be back to that Publix, I know that can happen anywhere at any time.
To paraphrase the Most Interesting Man in the World, “Stay alert, my friends!”