Today has been an interesting day to say the least. I walked my usual five miles and reached the road where I had parked my car. The street that I parked on had no cars on it except for mine and a 1990s Red Ford F-350 truck parked directly behind me. I found it bizarre that people would park right behind me, when I parked so far away from the trail entrance. Nevertheless, I started to walk toward my car and I noticed there were two guys sitting in the red car. I went ahead and I took a picture of the car behind mine and I decided to walk back to the trail entrance and wait for them to leave. A few minutes passed and they were still sitting there. A friendly old man walked by me and started a conversation. I told him what was going on and he offered to walk me to my car and I accepted. He said, "I'm going to hug you. Don't act freaked out." I pretended he was my dad and said, "Bye, Dad. Love you." I unlocked my car and started it. The second I turned my car on, I heard the truck behind me turn on. It had a really loud engine. I quickly made a u-turn and thanked the old man through the window. The red truck also made a u-turn and the old man yelled for me to go fast. I sped off as quick as I could and made sure to pull into a place where they wouldn't suspect where I was. Apparently that's something you're not supposed to do, but it saved me. I called the cops and they sent someone to me. I gave them the description of the car and of the driver. I got a really good glimpse of the driver and was able to describe him perfectly. It wasn't anyone I knew. I got a quick glimpse of the passenger, but not enough to really describe him well. The police officer thanked me for paying close attention and asked me to e-mail the picture of the truck to her.
I always pay attention on the trail to each person and I am constantly looking over my shoulder (something else you're not supposed to do). Now that I remember properly, I think I saw the truck drive by me when I was entering the trail. I am a bit shaken up. This isn't my first time at this rodeo. If you look back through my old posts, you'll see two other ones talking about other encounters that I've experienced. Luckily, I have come out okay of each situation unharmed, but that doesn't take away from how unsettling it feels to experience this.
The moral of the story, again, is to be aware of your surroundings and do not walk alone. I need to practice what I preach. I always nag at my little sister and tell her to be careful at her college and to be extremely careful about walking alone at certain places. Also, it is extremely important to not be looking down at your phone, but to always look people in the eye and pay attention as you walk. I'll be bringing my special friend, pepper spray, on my next walk and I won't be going to the same place for a while. I'd also like to give a shout out to my best friend, Melissa, who came over and calmed me down after this happened.
Update: Five days since the incident and I still haven't returned to the same place. I am still rather shaken by the whole thing. Having pepper spray doesn't make me feel any safer. If a bad guy was double my size and grabbed me what good would the pepper spray do? I am not going to live in fear because of my gender, but I am going to take extra precautions.
Here are some tips on what to do if you suspect you're being stalked...