A few days ago at my local subway station, I was followed by a suspicious man. It all began when I got on an elevator with three men. I pressed the button for my floor and looked at the other men to see if they needed me to press a button for them. The suspicious man nodded when I pressed the button for my floor. I instantly got bad vibes from this man because he was not carrying a briefcase or car keys and it didn't seem like he had a car to go to. We both exited the elevator and began to walk down the same parking lot aisle. I had a feeling that he was following me because as I mentioned, he was not holding car keys and was wearing a hoodie so I looked him straight in the eyes and I pulled out my cell phone and pretended to call my boyfriend and I turned around to head toward the elevator/stairs. The man turned from walking toward the cars to follow me back toward the stairs and elevators then he stopped walking and asked me if he could buy a cigarette from me. I am not a smoker. I don't smell like cigarettes, nor was I carrying a box of cigarettes so clearly this man made up an excuse to make it seem like he was following me for that reason. I yelled "NO" and ran up the stairs to the floor where my car was. He didn't follow me up the stairs, but as I drove down the parking deck, the man was still on the fourth floor where he was following me. If he really wanted cigarettes, he would be on the first floor where all of the people exit the train and he would be asking them. I usually see the good in people, but due to this man's suspicious actions, I am convinced that had I not looked him in the eye and had I not been aware of my surroundings, he would have done me harm. I drove down to the bottom floor and reported him to the subway police. In general, I am a super paranoid person and after being a nanny for many years, I have grown eyes in the back of my head. I am always looking over my shoulders and I always look at people in the eyes and pay attention to people's actions. I took a three hour self defense course a few years ago and the stuff that I learned has stuck with me. I hope that by reading this article, you remember how important it is to pay attention to your surroundings. Here are some tips that I have for parking deck safety.
1. Be aware of your surroundings. Look people in the eyes.
2. If you are in a parking deck, keep your car keys in one hand and your cell phone in the other. Take your earphones out and pay attention to the people around you and the cars that are moving past you.
3. Don't listen to loud music with headphones in the parking deck.
4. Don't stay in your car for too long before leaving the parking deck. Lock your car as soon as you get in.
5. If you feel like you are being followed, pretend to be on the phone with somebody.
6. When in doubt, run! Who cares if you look stupid? Better to look stupid then to risk being in a bad situation.