My 14 year-old student, here on homestay from Japan, was seated in the passenger seat of my car, we were ready to head out of town. I pulled into the Shell station parking area ready to make my way to BART, our visit to San Francisco. I just needed a couple bottles of water, for me and the student. Once I had made my purchases, I returned to the car.
This has happened to me before, so I am no stranger to the technique. A young woman approached my car and ultimately stood within inches of the driver’s side window, like some welcome-wagon agent…only she was there with an appeal. Dammit! When will I learn to get moving swiftly? I know the rule but I became a backslider. I opened my window and asked the woman what it was she (apparently) needed. “Can you drive me to McDonald’s?” came her request.
I replied, “McDonald’s is right over there,” throwing my head in the direction and trying to sound sarcastic without sounding sarcastic. I continued, “You can walk there, and I don’t know you, I do not let strangers into my car.”
A weak , “I know, but blah, blah, blah…” came her words. By that time I had dismissed her need. I drove off.
On the way to San Francisco I went over it in my mind…all the potential for harm that might have manifest had I allowed her in the car. With my overseas student right there. “Mom, dad, I am in the hospital…a bad woman got in the car…and Cyndi…”