When I am upset I find it healing and cathartic to write. So, tonight please bear with me while I share an incident that happened to me today at the airport. I didn’t plan on writing a post about this, but I think it is important to women and for our safety. So here it goes. Today I had to go to the airport to take a short trip. My flight was relatively early and my van was coming between 5:50-6:05 am. For some reason I didn’t sleep well last night, I got about 2 hours total, but I thought it was just me being anxious about leaving Anya, but now I’m wondering if it wasn’t a forewarning of what was soon to come. The van arrived and it was an awful ride. The driver was doing 90 mph weaving in and out of traffic and I prayed the whole time. Then when I arrived at the airport he asked me if I was married and if I lived where he picked me up, I ignored him said have a good day and moved on to print out my boarding pass. I thought that was inappropriate. Well, I had no idea what was in store for me.
As I printed out my boarding pass I noticed a young man standing not too far from me, staring at me. My first thought was he didn’t know where the line was, but I saw he had his pass. So I continued to walk then he walked very closely beside me. Was he trying to find the correct gate? Then the airline’s ticket manager came over and assisted him, I kept walking and he was walking inches from me. I stopped he stopped, I turned around he turned, I walked faster so did he and it went on. I called my mom and told her that I thought this guy was following me, which she told me to call security and stay on with her. I got to the security point and said to the gentleman who took my license, “I think this man is following me.” He didn’t say anything, then instead of standing behind the line this guy was almost beside me, when I was finished, he was so anxious to get behind me he left his ID with the agent. The agent yelled for him to come back, and he hesitated. Then another woman got behind me, I said to her, that I thought something was amiss with this man. He then got in line in front of her to be by me. I then realized I had a problem when he started saying he was with me. I was forcefully telling him he wasn’t and to please leave me alone. I told another agent before I got screened, “this man is following me,” I went through, and another man coming from the other side was after me, again the man jumped in front of him and practically ran through the screening this time, they held him there after I asked two more agents to please delay him so I could get out of his sight. They called their supervisor and I moved like lightning to my gate. When I looked back he was jumping up trying to see where I was going. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.
I called my mom and tried to stay as incognito as possible in a very empty gate area. All of a sudden I see him running full speed ahead with his stuff in cart from the security area. Then, I began to shake and my mom could hear from my voice this was serious, “I said, “Mom he’s coming after me again!“. I’m not one that scares easily, but I was shaken. I knew this man was fixated on me. He kept saying he was with me and regardless of what I said he didn’t hear me. I walked quickly into a restaurant and asked the manager if I could stay by him as I saw a TSA agent coming. She said that another woman had told her someone should watch me because this man was after me. He still was trying to get closer. She walked me down to the police and they came up to talk to him, he actually tried to walk away and come towards me again, but they stopped him. They told him if he didn’t stop they wouldn’t let him board, and guess what? He was boarding my plane. When I heard that my heart dropped. The police spoke to the airline, and the ticket manager who originally came over spoke to me, had my seat changed and I was assured that someone on the plan would make sure nothing happened. The scary thing was, the man kept looking at me regardless. I found out that he had a band on his wrist which meant he was released from a hospital and apparently had some serious issues. They escorted him on and the airline made sure their employees were aware of the situation.
I got on the plane and at one point I had to go to the bathroom. At first I didn’t see a bathroom near the front and when I looked back I began to panic thinking I had to walk back there where he was seated. The panic must have shown because several people quickly pointed out the bathroom in front that I couldn’t see. It was the most tense ride of my life. I practically ran off the plane and jumped in a cab.Although he was getting a connecting flight,I couldn’t shake the feeling he was after me.
So here’s the thing, I’m feeling a range of emotions. I am angry because I view myself as strong and I feel like I panicked. I’m a little traumatized because part of me felt like something really bad could have happened to me today and the implications that would have on my daughter. I’m sad because someone most likely dropped the ball and this man who was clearly unhealthy was travelling alone and another woman may experience what I did and that turns my stomach. I’m decompressing, but his face and the situation keeps going through my head. So sister friends please pray for me.
Lastly, I want to say this:
- If you feel like you are in danger trust your instincts
- Alert the authorities and if you have to do it a few times do it!
- Alert other people around you to the situation
- No one has the right to intimidate you, stalk you, scare you or invade your space
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times
- Know your boundaries and when someone steps over them don’t be afraid to tell them to stop
Most of all pray. I am so grateful that I’m writing you from the safety of my hotel bed, but I also know that women get attacked, harassed and stalked every day and it is NOT OKAY. It is degrading, scary, and dehumanizing so please be safe, stay alert and always in prayer. Thank you for letting me work this out through words, I wish you all a safe night sleep.
BTW I received a survey from the shuttle normally I ignore them, this time I didn’t! Enough was enough.