Have you ever been in a situation where you knew what you should have done, but you did everything wrong? Yeah…that was me back in July. My son and I were on our way home from his karate practice and decided to stop at the gas station for a quick treat. As I pulled into a parking place, a man walked up to my van before I even came to a stop. He didn’t seem threatening; in fact I thought he was coming up to us to let me know that I had a low tire or something. Still, there was something inside me saying, “you should turn around. Don’t even park, just back out and leave.”
Mistake #1 was not listening to that gut feeling. Your gut reaction is usually right. Mistake #2 was when I stepped all the way out of my vehicle with only my keys in my hand and shut the door. My purse, containing my stun gun and pepper spray, was still inside the car. (Mistake #3.) At this point my son was still inside the van, and the man and I were talking. He acted like he knew me, and he quickly caught on that I had no idea who he was. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before in my life. He looked at me and said, “you don’t even know who I am do you? What’s my name?” I stammered, saying something along the lines of, “I can’t think of it right now, could you please remind me?”
This is when he started becoming agitated. I could tell that things could turn bad very, very quickly. I walked around to the other side of the vehicle and grabbed the only thing I could reach…my Sock It To Me kubotan. I kept that in my hand
during the rest of the encounter.
He “reminded” me that his name was Tim. I assured him that I would not forget his name in the future, and that it was nice to see him “again”. That seemed to be enough to satisfy him, and he said he needed to leave. I honestly think that he had confused me with someone else, but the frustration he displayed scared me. I mean really scared me! I haven’t been afraid like that in a long time. What made it worse was that I had my son with me.
I often tell people that when they purchase a self-defense item, they need to be prepared to use it, and not leave it in the bottom of their purse; their item needs to be in their hands, even in places where they’ve previously felt safe. I didn’t listen to my own advice on this one occasion because it was a place I’ve been to several times, and never once have I felt unsafe there, until that day.
Here’s what I learned from that experience, that I hope you can learn from. First, it really cemented in me the need to listen to my gut. Second, things can happen in a second, and choosing not to grab my stun gun or pepper spray because it was a “quick trip” to the store, was foolish. Finally, having something was better than nothing. The circumstances were less than ideal, but the bottom line is that I still had something I could use, and things turned out ok, but next time I’ll be more prepared!
Have you ever had an experience like this? Did you have anything nearby you could defend yourself with? Make sure you a few options available to you, in different places. If my Sock It To Me was in my purse with my stun gun, I would have had nothing other than my hands to fight back with.