Would you open the door to a stranger?
I think my dog is going deaf. She’s a 12 year old black lab, so I guess it’s possible. Not a puppy anymore. I’ve always relied on her to tell me when someone was at the door, or driving by or, you know, walking down the street four roads down.
Anyway, she didn’t respond any quicker than I did the other night when the knock came at 11 pm. I was asleep, and I don’t know how long the young girl had been knocking before I crawled out of bed and answered the door. At first, I wasn’t going to answer. It was 11 o’clock for crying out loud! Then, I thought it might be someone telling me I left the lights on in my car or something of that nature.
I saw a young teenaged girl alone through the safety glass, it was raining behind her and when I opened the door she began explaining immediately, “I know you don’t know me but a man is chasing me, can I use your phone to call my dad?”
Ok. I’ll stop here and let you know that if she hadn’t added the “ use your phone to call my dad” clause, I would have pulled her into the house, slammed the door shut and moved on to the next part of the saga. But it confused me. If a man is chasing you, why do you need to use the phone to call your dad? Don’t you want me to call the police?
I looked her up and down, searching for blood and not finding any asked, “ what do you mean he’s chasing you?”
“He’s in a black jeep and he is following me with his lights off, he’s going really slow and I just turned around and ran from him.”
“But, how did you get on this side street?” (I live in a dead end circle neighborhood).
“I don’t know. “
That actually made sense to me.
When I was 14, I was riding my bike in the middle of the day when a man in a maroon sports car pulled up beside me and stared at me. He was glaring at me, and driving alongside me for blocks before I pulled into someone’s driveway and pounded on their door. No one answered for me, but my going in the driveway was enough to deter him. I made it home and my parents called the police. 25 years later, I could still ID him, his face will forever live in my memory.
I stopped questioning her, told her I would get the phone and began looking for my cell phone (which, of course, wasn’t in any of its normal haunts.)
Just then, my son began to cry and I ran to the bedroom and picked him up. As we came down the hall, the knocking began again, I opened it and she pointed at a truck turning the corner, “ that’s him! That’s the jeep.”
I didn’t have my glasses on, and I can’t see anything in the dark. I said, “ok… hide in the dark there, I’ll be right back.”
Part of me was still thinking this was some sort of scam or some way to gain entrance into the house.
I brought the baby and ran out to the guest house where my parents live. I opened the door and explained that there was a little girl at the front door who said she was being chased by a man and I needed help.
My dad beat me to the door, opened it and brought the girl into the house. He then sat with her on the couch while I called the police (I used Skype because I still couldn’t locate my phone… it was on the couch.).
While we waited, my dad asked the girl more questions, “what are you doing out at this hour?”
Her story didn’t make complete sense. She said she had been at her sister’s apartment and her dad called and said he had been drinking, so he couldn’t drive, but he wanted her to walk home. At 10 pm. In the rain. About four miles. She had gone more than halfway when a man in a black jeep started shadowing her. He had his lights off and he rolled down the window and said, “Gotcha.” He shadowed her like this for several blocks, but after she passed the intersection to our street, she turned around and began to run. While he turned the vehicle around, she got pretty far down the street and found our house because the lights were on.
When the police arrived, they stated that they saw the black jeep on the street, it was continuing to circle the block but had fled upon seeing their cruiser. Part of me wanted to know why they didn’t pursue, but I guess that’s the part of me that watches too much television.
They left with her in tow, and I will probably never know the full story, but I believe I may have rescued a young woman from rape, or worse. I’m glad I opened the door to a stranger, would you have done the same?