The Gas Man Creepeth

Hell, my darlings!

A few weeks ago, I had a thing happen. A creepy thing. And weeks later I’m still squinked out.

Usual disclaimer of a serious blog peppered with GIFs that make me laugh because this is how I deal with tension, okayyyyyyyy?

I’d gone to my very first Midwest Writer’s planning committee meeting (side note: MWW15 is going to be AWESOME.) and on my way home, I needed to stop for gas.

And to pee. Because…reasons.

I go into a gas station and of course the women’s restroom is occupied, so I sat down at a table that was hanging out in the far corner of the convenience mart bit to wait. I poked around on my phone, as one does.

A minute or so later, this fella comes and sits across from me at my table. He was older than me, and for reasons I still don’t understand, wearing a baseball cap, but also holding three other baseball caps.

Still tapping away on my phone, the guy randomly asked me, “Have you been getting any weird calls on your phone?”

I sort of blinked at him. “I’m sorry?”

“Have you been getting any dirty calls on your phone?” He asked again. “I’ve gotten a couple.”

“Uh, no?” I said. “Sounds like you might have someone’s old number, or some prank calls.”

I smiled at him and turned my attention back to my phone. See, I think back to that moment a lot and wonder if that’s what did it. Should I have not smiled? Not answered him at all? Waved a can of mace in his creepy face? Probably.

The man then launches into a tale detailing how one time he got a call from a girl he assumes is my age and how she left him a filthy voicemail, using foul and dirty language. He managed to trace the call and discovered this girl worked at Walmart and tracked her down one day at work.

And then, he proudly stated, HE FOLLOWED HER HOME.

“Yeah, I followed her right to her house. And then I knocked on the door and when she opened up I went right on in and told her she needed a talking to. And I told her what was what. Took about an hour and a half, but I talked to her all right. And it’s okay because after I took her to McDonald’s and got her a Big Mac.”

Let me assure you this is a very disconcerting thing to hear a man say when it’s just you and him in a lonely corner of a gas station.

He then explained how he got another filthy call from a different girl and tracked her down, too. But this girl lived with three other girls. And how he’d had to go talk to them for about two hours, and he was planning to go back that night to talk to them again. Figured it might take another two hours.

As this was happening, I shut down completely and focused on my phone. I thought about scurrying the hell out of there but I still had to pay for my gas.

I started texting my husband and turned the sound all the way up on my phone. I figured the loudly buzzing replies would show him I was obviously interacting with someone. Possibly someone who would notice if I’d gone missing or what the fuck ever because I was sure this guy was a lunatic.

Naturally, hubs wasn’t answering his phone. So, I took to Twitter. I started Tweeting about the creepy fella and my phone was blowing up satisfactorily with responses and for a moment, he was quiet. I was also trying to laugh this off as much as possible because I always worry about overreacting to things. I thought Twitter could laugh with me.

I dunno, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

“Do you ever leave filthy messages for people?” he asked me.

I muttered an “Excuse me.” and scrambled away from the table. I dead seriously scuttled through the quick mart aisles and hid behind a chip display hoping he would just get up and go away. After a minute, he got up and started looking down the rows for me.

By now, my phone was blowing up with notifications saying HOLY FUCK RUN OH MY GOD.

I calmly walked up to the line for the cashier, deciding I no longer had to pee and never would again, and stood behind at least ten people waiting to pay. I thought for sure I’d be all set with so many┬álovely witnesses.

He came out of nowhere, honestly. I was even looking for him but I didn’t see him pop up behind me at all. He very quietly said right behind me, “You look like you’d need talking to for two hours.”

“FUCK NOPE.”

I actually yelped that. Out loud. My immediate thought was he’d think that was “filthy” language and holy crap what had I done? I was scared to all hell.

I ran straight up to the register, past all the people, and said I needed a manager immediately, right now, SERIOUSLY GET A MANAGER.

A manager was right there and I sputtered through about creepy guy and help and seriously I think he wears women as skin suits and oh my fucking god. The manager was perfection and snapped right into action, grabbing two other employees. I whipped around to point the guy out, but…

He. Was. Gone.

Just…gone.

We looked everywhere. Inside and outside the store, in cars in the parking lot, everywhere. The manager called county police. I stood there wondering what in the actual fucking fuck had just happened.

He had just POOFED right the crap away.

Eventually I paid for my gas and was escorted to my car to make sure he wasn’t hiding somewhere. And then I left.

Right when I was about to get on the highway, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a man driving a big truck wearing the same goddamn baseball cap that dude had been wearing. I legit panicked. Actual, icy blood panic.

I yanked my car over into a crowded parking lot and had my phone in hand to call 911 but the truck just drove right on by. Probably wasn’t the same guy, right? I really hope it wasn’t the same guy.

I have never fled an area faster in my life. I called the hubs and unloaded some quality hysterics as I drove. I was too scared to stop to take a moment to calm down. I put on my big girl laser focus and drove the almost two hours home.

The whole ride I kept checking my rear-view. I kept looking behind me and thinking every noise was some weirdo hiding in my back seat even though I and other people had in fact checked my car just to be extra safe.

And then I got really super pissed off. It was a two hour drive, I had time to think.

I kept thinking how I bet no man has ever gone into a gas station and followed around by someone asking if they make filthy phone calls or making them feel threatened. I doubt it’s a common occurrence for a guy to run a quick errand and have to genuinely wonder if they are about to be raped and turned into a skin-suit by creepy baseball cap hoarding dudes.

I had a moment where I thought about what I was wearing and wondered if it had ATTRACT A SERIAL KILLER written on it. No, just a t-shirt, jeans, and a long cardigan covered in cats because I’m a super cool person.

Then I got outrageously pissed that I’d even thought about what I was wearing because I SHOULD BE ABLE TO WEAR WHATEVER I’D LIKE WITHOUT BEING APPROACHED BY SCARY PEOPLE OH MY FUCKING DAMN.

I don’t really know how to process the whole situation. Part of me wants to brush it off thinking maybe I overreacted and this was just an awkward dude trying to make conversation. Part of me knows that’s probably bullshit because the hairs on my neck still stand up when I remember how he spoke.

All of me would just really like it if things like that didn’t happen so often it’s kind of a gut reaction to assume there’s a potential rapist within spitting distance at all times.

And that’s it. I don’t have a moral here. I don’t have a kooky, happy ending. I don’t have a wildly tragic ending. It just was. A completely bizarre Saturday afternoon that just happened.

The world is a crazy ass place, kids.

Now, here’s a CumberOtter because the internet is a wonderful provider of things you never knew you needed to see and I don’t want to leave you with a scary story and uncomfortable feels.

I hope you all are having wonderful weeks!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and *SHUDDER*

9 Comments

  1. I’m so glad you got out of there safely. I think about this stuff every time I road trip. Sometimes it’s just me, others just me and the kids. I worry. And it makes me mad I have to worry.
    This also makes me think of that cashier at Wal-Mart a couple weeks ago. The one that turned me buying a plunger and not needing a bag for it into the segueway for the rape talk and how I could run faster with my skirt up than a man could with his pants down. Just what the hell is wrong with people????

    • Oh man, I still think about that creepy cashier. That was legit one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever heard. *SHUDDERS MORE*

      • WhiteGardenia |

        I enjoyed reading this post and got creeped out all at the same time.

        Summer’s profile pic (in the comment above): The look on your face is perfect for this story.

  2. OMG! Men can be disgusting and creepy. This was like out of a bad movie. I’m glad your safe. I so would have pulled my ninja moves and went all Tawney on him. I can be nice but man messing with friends gets me going. GRRRRR

  3. HOLY FUCK! That is seriously creepy! Glad you are ok!

  4. Nope – this guy was a legit scary predator. I hope the gas station reported it to the police. I’m sure they had him on camera. Good for you for going to the manager and being smart. So happy you’re safe. and God bless the internet for providing Cumber-Otters.

  5. Very creepy. I’m glad you complained to the manager and they call the police. And I’ve had the same thought about guys never having to worry about being attacked when walking down the street. I think every women has felt that at one time or another. It’s a sad part of life.

  6. Hi Summer,

    Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I’m staring 50 in the face and I can’t tell you the amount of times some creepy jerk tried it out with me. A couple of years ago I was “frottaged” by a total loser on the SouthShore train in Chicago, right in front of my dad and husband. He threatened them both and when my dad said he’d shove him onto the train tracks and my husband said he was a police officer, the guy ran off. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, the last mounted police clinic I taught, the cops all suggested I get a taser and use it as needed. Hubs bought me a little flashlight thingie that turns into a tazer, which fits nicely into my purse and bike basket. You have to poke the pervert with it, but a cold glare, followed by a warning to use said tazer tends to get the guy out of your face. And call 911 anytime you feel threatened. Don’t wait. You pay taxes. You have a right to pee in peace.

    The problem is women have been conditioned to be nice and not mean, and to push down our inner warrior so we don’t appear rude. It took me years to get over that.

  7. OMG Summer

    (i) thank goodness you’re OK
    (ii) I hope there isn’t a mass grave of women/girls found one day & a guy in a baseball cap is to blame
    (iii) I know how that feeling

    Without going into an epic, once upon a time, before mobile phones, I’d just been made manager of a store. The store was massive but the location was quiet, so I only had assistance a few hours a day.

    One sunny spring morn I parked my car (around the back in my spot) and walked to the petrol station (2 min. walk) to get some milk (coffee needs trump everything).

    As I paid, some guy, standing behind me smiled, I smiled back… and walked off, milk in one hand, bag in the other, juggling keys to the building & thinking about the day ahead… & completely unaware that this guy was following me.

    I walked up the 3 steps to the glass doors, bent down to unlock the bottom lock and that’s when I noticed the set of men’s leather shoes about 20cm from my feet. Still in a crouched position & holding my *precious* milk I swung around to see Petrol Station Guy staring down at me.

    I was completely alone, it was about 8am in the morning, there was hardly even any traffic. I stood up and said, “Hi, can I help you?” (I don’t think it sounded that assured either) & do you know what his reply was?

    “Where did you learn to walk like that?”

    I actually lost some of the feeling in my legs as I gulped, “Sorry… what?”

    “You’re wriggle, when you walk, it’s the most fucking sexy thing I’ve ever seen & I had to meet you.”

    Luckily for me, he said just enough for me to go into Warrior Princess mode, I mean I WAS WALKING FFS hand full of stuff & if I did wriggle it was likely so as not to drop my milk, or my bag, or my keys or my dignity!

    I put my milk on the concrete, grabbed my car keys from my bag and, as I’d been taught by my brothers (black belts in some martial arts thingy), I put the keys between my fingers, pointy bit out, and said,
    “Listen you fuckhead, if you don’t fuck off this instant I’m first going to scream & then I’m going to mark your face so the police will find you!”

    His reply was to smile at me and call me a lesbian slut… and leave (thankfully)

    I called my boss who called the police & from then on, my boss arranged for someone to be there when I open and close!

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