The Stranger In the Parking Lot
After work today, I stopped at the Safeway on Alhambra to grab a bottle of red and something quick for dinner.
As I was looking for a parking space, I noticed a young man walking through the parking lot. Not walking from a car, just walking in the middle of the lanes, checking things out. No biggie.
I waited for him to walk passed my Jeep so I could turn left and park. I noticed he stopped in his tracks and waved to me. I didn't make eye-contact. There are some strange people in Midtown/East Sac so I mind my own business.
I found a spot and I parked. For whatever reason, I had a strange feeling about the guy and something told me to watch where he was going.
When I saw that he was almost to the opposite end of the parking lot, I figured everything was fine and I was being ridiculous. I made my way into the store and walked over to the deli.
I wasn't at the counter 2 minutes when he walks up beside me and introduces himself and asks me my name. He then put out his hand to shake mine. I didn't take his hand at first but told him my name and smiled. He was waiting in line with me and I figured I should be polite. He asked if I was single. I laughed nervously and said no. He laughed loud and said, "I had to try." and walked away as if he was going to do some shopping.
The young man behind the counter had a strange look on his face. I guess I did too. I turned around to see where the guy went and saw him walking out the front door. At that moment, I realized he came into the store for the sole purpose of talking to me. This made me very uneasy.
I got what I needed from the deli and headed to the wine aisle.
Before I went to the front check-out line, I looked to see if he was still in the parking lot. Better yet, if he was by my Jeep. After all, he knew where I had parked.
As I paid for my things, I asked the clerk if someone could walk me to my car. I had one bag so I was a little self-conscience and felt foolish. The courtesy clerk took my bag and we headed to my vehicle. I explained to him what had happened.
He knew who I was talking about and sure enough, that guy was in the middle of the parking lot, scoping things out. He saw me and the courtesy clerk but I pretended not to notice him.
The courtesy clerk said he had seen the guy earlier talking to a young woman and she looked rather nervous. I asked him to report the guy before he has a chance to approach anyone else. There was something not right about that man - the clerk agreed. He handed me my bag, waited for me to get into my Jeep and drive safely away.
I don't know what would have happened if I had ignored my gut.
Perhaps I wouldn't be here tonight writing this blog post.
Always trust your gut. If a situation or a person's actions do not seem right, chances are they're not.