Excuse Us Whilst We Fling Our Phones Into A River

, , , , , , | Romantic | March 6, 2020

I used to work in a car stereo shop. We had a reputation for electrical work; mechanics in the area would often refer tricky stuff to us because we were the only ones who had the equipment and knowledge to figure it out.

One day we received a call saying that they were referring a customer to us with questions about a GPS tracker.

After a short discussion, it became clear that the customer was trying to find out if a tracker had been somehow installed in her car. Apparently, her crazy ex had been stalking her all over town… just happening to appear wherever she was, even at places where he should have had no idea that she was even there.

I had never seen someone look so scared; she was pale as a ghost and her voice shook when she spoke. She was so terrified that she was literally looking over her shoulder every few seconds and speaking in whispers. 

I gave a cursory inspection at the easy spots in the parking lot. There was nothing under the wheel, nothing on the roof or under the chassis, nothing in the engine compartment, and nothing under or in the seats. There was no factory GPS, no On-Star, nothing that would track her. 

I told her that I didn’t see anything in the typical spots, but if he had somehow managed to have access to her vehicle for a good block of time, then God knows where it could be. 

I told her that I would have to do a shop charge to go deeper. For $75 an hour, we’d look anywhere and for as long as she wanted.

She paid for two hours of inspection without blinking. We took the whole dash apart, dropped the headliner, pulled a bunch of interior panels, flashlight and mirrored the chassis, and generally tore the thing apart. We couldn’t find a single wire out of place anywhere. The whole thing looked totally stock and untouched. (After a while in the industry, you can tell if you’re the first to remove a panel.)

I handed her the keys and reviewed what we did and where we looked as I walked her back to her car. She looked so relieved to finally know there was nothing on her vehicle.

Then, her ex drove by our lot, staring her down. He wasn’t even subtle; he was practically hanging out the window, staring at her like a hawk stares at a fat mouse.

That was my holy-s*** moment: watching this guy blatantly cruise past our business. I’m a big guy, and he didn’t even spare me a glance.

She just burst into tears, practically diving behind me to hide. One of my coworkers came sprinting over to us and said that that vehicle had cruised past three times already, and this was his fourth pass in the two hours we had been stripping her car practically down to the paint.

I walked her back into the store. I told her that we knew it wasn’t in her car, but that I wanted to check something that might help her.

I asked to look at her phone. 

Sure enough, location services were on and had geotagged at our store on Facebook. In fact, it had geotagged everywhere she’d seen him. 

She had him blocked from all her social media in moments and turned the location services off for good measure.

We moved her vehicle out of sight from the road and called the police. We didn’t want her leaving without some proper actions taken, or without a police vehicle on-site to make sure she got away without him coming by again.

From there, we helped her get a restraining order filed against him, and she was able to leave safely.

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Try To Act Restrained

, , , | Legal | February 11, 2020

(I own a small hardware store, which has been in my family for three generations. When this story takes place, I have been the sole owner of the store for about five years, having inherited it when my father retired. I also have a crazy ex-girlfriend who took out a restraining order against me, claiming that our breakup caused her emotional trauma and she didn’t want to see me again in case it caused her to suffer an emotional breakdown. Even the judge was reluctant to approve the restraining order, but she manipulated him into eventually signing off on it. Anyway… I’m working at my store one day, along with my one employee, when my ex-girlfriend walks in. All the stuff about the restraining order rushes back to my memory, and not knowing what to do, I decide to leave my employee in charge while I wait in the back office until she finishes her shopping. A few minutes later, my employee calls me to the cash register, so I go up and find a police officer at the register.)

Officer: *after verifying my identity* “Do you know an [Ex-Girlfriend]?”

Me: “Yes, I do. We dated for a while, but we broke up about a year ago.”

Officer: “Do you know that she has a restraining order against you?”

Me: “Yes.”

Officer: “We got a call from her a few minutes ago. She says she was shopping in this store, and you came in behind her. I’m going to have to ask you to leave the store; if you refuse, I’ll have to arrest you for knowingly violating a restraining order.”

Me: “Officer… I own this store. How is it a violation of her restraining order when she entered my store?”

Officer: “Oh. Um… can you prove that you own this store?”

Me: “Yes, I can. Let me go get the paperwork.” 

(I get the paperwork proving that I own the store and show it to the officer.)

Officer: “Okay. Um… Did [Ex-Girlfriend] know that you own this store?”

Me: “She did. That was one of the reasons we broke up. She wanted me to spend more time with her, but I had to keep the store running after my dad retired and passed it on to me. I tried to go to the back office to let her shop in peace, but I guess she saw me.”

Officer: “Hm. Well… okay. I guess I can’t arrest you if she entered your business. I’ll talk to her and let her know, in case she forgot this was your place, and we’ll just let it go at that.”

Me: “Thanks. And before you go… I don’t want this to happen again, so what should I do if she walks in again?”

Officer: “Honestly, I don’t know what to tell you about that one. I probably shouldn’t suggest this, but my best advice would really be to file a restraining order against her. That way, you can call us as soon as she walks through the door, and we’ll settle it.” *says goodbye and leaves*

(I fully believe my ex-girlfriend entered my store purely to try and get me in trouble. That police officer could have caused some major problems for me if he had believed her story, so I owe him a huge thank-you for handling the situation the way he did. I did take his advice and file a restraining order against my ex-girlfriend, but as far as I know, she now lives on the other side of the country. Good riddance, and here’s hoping she never returns.)

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Suddenly, It Clicked

, , , , | Romantic | January 27, 2020

(I’m staying at my ex-partner’s house for the weekend early in the new year. Despite the breakup earlier this year, we’re still friends, and I enjoy spending time with them, their family, and especially their dogs: two miniature dachshunds, Rosie — aged two and a half years — and Henry — aged 13 months. One evening, as most are winding down for bed, I find a random plastic toy on the sofa’s armrest next to me. I tend to fidget with random objects, keeping my hands occupied while I watch stuff online. So, naturally, I start clicking the button on the random plastic toy. A few minutes later, my ex-partner comes down and grabs my attention.)

Ex-Partner: “Are you playing with the clicker?”

Me: “The what now?”

Ex-Partner: “The plastic clicker. It’s used to train the dogs.”

Me: “You can hear that?!”

Ex-Partner: “A: yes. B: it’s driving Rosie mad. She doesn’t know what she did wrong!”

(I quickly apologized, though my partner wasn’t angry with me, since I had no way of knowing what the random toy was. We’re still close friends, and I personally found the whole incident funny. I could practically hear the “womp-womp” music in the back of my head!)

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Sounds Like Evidence In A Future Legal Case, But Okay…

, , , , , | Right | November 30, 2019

(I see this unfold while helping at the donation door of my thrift store. A woman is donating what looks like a full camping set for one person: a tent, a sleeping bag, various camping accessories, etc.)

Customer: “I went camping with my boyfriend and came back single.”

Me: “Um…”

(After the customer leaves…)

Coworker: “Yeah, that doesn’t sound suspicious at all!

(A day later…)

Coworker: “Remember the lady who ‘came back single’?”

Me: “Yes?”

Coworker: “She says she accidentally donated a shovel and pickaxe…. and wants them back.”

Me: *pause* “We’re going to be talking to a police officer who has many, many questions, aren’t we?”

(My coworker did return the shovel and pickaxe to her, after taking care to be the only one to handle them. I’m not even sure whether the lady just phrased it wrong, or whether there’s a shallow grave somewhere nearby. It’s been a few weeks, and no one has come up missing in the local news yet, so I’m hoping it was just bad phrasing.)

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Putting Out The Fires Of Bigotry

, , , , , , | Related | July 29, 2019

My ex-husband is anti-trans. Apart from generally being a nasty person, his intolerance of anyone “other” is one of the reasons we are no longer together.

We don’t speak much, but we do have a little boy together.

Whilst our child is very active and likes toys that people generally associate with boys, he has a love of all things My Little Pony. He also does ballet, gymnastics, and karate. This is all by his choice. 

My ex isn’t really involved in any of the after-school clubs, though he does like to rant and rave about our son doing “girly” activities. I ignore him. It makes our child happy, so I don’t care.

One day, our child has a ballet recital after school, outside of his normal timetable and on one of my ex’s visit days. I ask my ex to take our son and he agrees very begrudgingly.

The next day, my ex drops off our child and hands me a Barbie in a firefighter outfit. He says nothing, and just walks away.

I ask our child what happened and why we now have a firefighter Barbie. My child explains that his father took him to the toy shop after the recital. My ex proceeded to offer him Legos, cars, and a vast array of toys that he deemed acceptable. My son wanted a firefighter to go with his fire engine, as he had lost the figure that came included.

The only firefighter doll in the shop was a Barbie.

My ex apparently went nuts, ranting and raving about our son becoming one of “those.” My son wasn’t scared, just confused. I asked if that was why Daddy was in a bad mood when he came to the door.

My son replied, “No, Mummy, it’s because the nice lady at the shop called daddy a bigot.”

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