Every second Friday, I work the late shift at my job. Due to unforeseen circumstances, tonight was my third Friday night shift in a row, and the third Friday shift that I didn’t get out until well after closing time. Last time it was because of an ignorant customer. Tonight it was because of a creepy guy that refused to leave.
As always happens when I’m working on my own, the minute I started to pack up, someone comes to the counter. Tonight it was the aforementioned creepy man. I replaced his watch battery and then he proceeded to hang around, circling the kiosk and following me every step I took. After a couple of minutes it became irritating. After fifteen minutes, it became unnerving. It’s difficult to explain what it was about the situation that made me so edgy, but I trust my instincts, and every fibre of my body was screaming at me that this guy was trouble.
You know how sometimes you just get a feeling about a person? It might not be anything they expressly do, but you get a creepy vibe and you just know that something is off? That was my experience tonight. This man was too strange, too focused on me, to unwilling to leave, and he had the air of someone who is somewhat…disturbed. It’s the only way I can describe it. Either way, I felt uncomfortable and, in the back of my mind, anxious.
I got out of work late as a result of the creepy dude, and as soon as I was safely in my car, I started to cry. My hands shook as I typed out a text to my best friend and it took me the entire ten minute drive to my friend’s house to calm down and stop the tears. I’m not emotional usually, but the feeling of being unsafe really shook me. It might sound like nothing at all, or like I overreacted but when you’re in a situation when you don’t feel safe or completely comfortable, I think you get a free pass on being irritational or emotional.
I know I’ve spoken before about how working in a shopping centre is kind of lame, but tonight I couldn’t have been more thankful. The girls from the bakery noticed my discomfort, and the fact that the guy was genuinely disturbing, and one of them rang security. The guard on duty came out, made sure I was ok and handled the situation professionally. The young kid from the pie shop noticed too, and even though we don’t know each other, he was visibly concerned for me. And the girl from the butcher, who I have literally never spoken a word to, came over when she finished work, and offered to wait with me and walk out with me to my car.
Sometimes, people surprise me. It was so comforting to know that, even though I don’t really speak to any of the people I work around all that often, they were all, in their own way, making sure that I was alright. Their concern was so sweet, and I was so thankful that they were around. I’m beginning to ramble a bit here, I realise. But I guess it’s just good to know that, in the shopping centre at least, there are people who will have your back.