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Unfiltered Story #278216

, | Unfiltered | December 23, 2022

(This is before cell phones are common. My mom and I have stopped at a clothes store on the way home from middle school. Since we have limited time, we split up with plans to meet in the shoe section a half hour later. I go to the teen girls’ section. Shoppers in that section are almost always other teen girls and middle-aged women shopping for their daughters. When I reach the section, it’s mostly empty, with just one woman around my mom’s age and a man who looks like he’s in his late-20s. It strikes me as a little odd that the man is there, but I don’t think much more about it and start to shop.

I should mention that I look considerably older than I am, which means I’ve had to deal with much older men hitting on me. Usually, they leave me alone as soon as I mention something that shows just how young I am.

As I’m turning from a clothing rack I’ve finished looking through, I find the man standing right next to me and startle noticeably.)

Man: “Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to scare you!”

Me: “It’s all right.”

(I try to go past him, but he steps in my way. The woman who’s still shopping nearby starts watching the interaction very carefully. Because of our positions, I can see her, but the man can’t. She gives me a look silently asking if I need help, but I subtly shake my head. Having just turned 13, I think I’m all grown up now and fully capable of handling these situations by myself.)

Man: “So, do you come here a lot?”

Me: “Um… I’m just here with my mom.”

Man: “Cool, cool. Is she around?”

Me: “No, but I’m supposed to meet her in the shoe section. Actually, I’m late, so I should-”

Man: “What do you say you and I ditch her?”

Me: “What?”

Man: “Do you like music?”

Me: “Sure…”

Man: “Great! There’s a really cool band playing at [18+ nightclub] tonight. Wanna come?”

Me: “I’m 13.”

(I say this thinking it will get him to leave me alone, but then I immediately realize something I’d forgotten. I’m wearing my school uniform that says “[School Name] Middle School” in large font across the front. The man has known the whole time that I can’t be older than 14, and he approached me anyway.)

Man: “Old enough to have a fake ID, am I right?” *winks at me with a creepy smile*

Me: “Um… no. No, I don’t have one.”

Man: “Well, I know someone who can get you one! Come on!”

(He grabs my arm, and I try to get out of his grasp, starting to panic. The woman drops the clothes she was carrying and runs over to my aisle.)

Woman: “[Common girl’s name], there you are! You were supposed to be in the shoe section 5 minutes ago!”

Me: *playing along* “Sorry, Mom.”

(The man glances toward her and drops his hold on my arm. She gives him a smile reminiscent of a lioness toying with her prey.)

Woman: “And who might you be?”

Man: “I was just leaving…”

(The man slinks toward the store exit. Once he’s out of earshot, the woman turns back to me.)

Woman: “Are you all right, honey?”

Me: “I think so. Thanks for helping me.”

Woman: “I’d want someone to do the same for my daughters. Let’s find your mom. Is she actually in the shoe section?”

Me: “No, she should be in the women’s section still.”

Woman: “Okay, we’ll find her.”

(We find my mom pretty quickly and explain what happened. Then the three of us go to a store employee. By then, the man has left the store. My mom stays for a while to deal with the situation (I think the police were involved), but my dad is called to pick me up. I don’t think they ever found the creepy man.)

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