Terrified to walk alone after being followed and chased by homeless person

posted 10 months ago in Emotional
Post # 2
Member
2806 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2015 - City, State

Gosh how scary wtf. It sounds like that homeless woman might’ve had some sort of mental health issue. All I have to do is walk from my car in the parking garage and across the street to my office building but I always have my pepper spray easily accessible (it’s attached to my keyring which I keep in my hand). I also have another pepper spray attached to the handle of my dog’s leash. So basically whenever I’m in public I always bring my keys so my pepper spray is handy and same whenever I’m walking my dog. It just makes me feel safe. 

I also purchased a cheap personal alarm keychain which is attached to my keys/pepper spray as well. All you have to do is yank it off the keyring and it sounds a loud alarm to get peoples attention. People are crazy nowadays and I just try to not engage with anyone or look friendly or approachable. Maybe just wear your sunglasses and avoid eye contact with people even when it’s not sunny!

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Post # 3
Member
55 posts
Worker bee

Maybe walk the longer route for a few days so she forgets about the incident. And could you possibly go with someone the next time? I’ve had some people shout out at me or stare/catcall me, the best thing to do is just not engage at all. If you do, you’re asking for trouble. She probably mistook your smile for mocking her situation, which obviously you weren’t. 

I would definitely carry some kind of pepper spray or something like that with you if you will continue to walk through that area. It’s inevitable that you’ll be faced with someone like this again because it sounds like this is where they sleep. If it makes you feel better, maybe report it to the police, although I’m not sure how much they would actually do. The one thing you could do, look up if there is a police station nearby that area? If so, get to know where it is. If she tries to follow you again, walk straight to the police station and report her. I doubt she’ll keep doing it. 

Post # 4
Member
3333 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I am so sorry that happened. I had a lot of scary incidents while going for runs as a teenager. The worst time, a man followed me a few blocks in his truck, pulled over and got out, and kept insisting he give me a ride. I sped up and ran to the house of a girl I just happened to go to school with. They had a fence in their front yard, so I opened the gate to put a barrier between us, and ran up to the porch, as if I lived there. I pretended I was going to open the front door and the guy took off back to his truck. I still get nervous going on runs some times, just because of how many scary incidents I’ve had.

Go a different route for a few days. Get some pepper spray in the mean time. And don’t wait too long before you take your normal route again. The more times you walk it and have a positive experience, the less afraid you will be.

Post # 5
Member
260 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Bee, I’m so sorry this happened to you. A similar event happened to me before too. One woman followed me and my dog and kept yelling random things at us. Another actually hit me because I was “in her space” when I crossed the street. The police did nothing but take a report.

To be honest, this post does bring back tough memories. It’s scary and it reminds you how many mentally unstable people there are in the world.

Please, please take any precautions for yourself to make yourself feel better. Wear sunglasses. Walk with a buddy. Take a different route if you must. I still cried about it for months afterward, but it got better with time.

I’m sorry I don’t have better advice, but just wanted to empathize.

Post # 6
Member
860 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

What a scary situation. I live in a large city and a few years ago I took the bus to work. I had to walk 25 minutes through the center of the city at 6AM to get to the bus stop. I always pass homeless people. One day when I was on the block where the bus stop was, I was walking to get there and a homeless man was walking towards me on the sidewalk. I also keep my head down but I looked up and he was close and he raised his fist like he was going to punch me. I flinched and was terrified. He laughed. There were other people around who saw it and when I got to the bus stop a woman asked “did he pretend like he was gonna hit you?” It was terrifying and I’ve seen this guy a handful of times since, and always cross the street.

Post # 7
Member
260 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Double commenting just to say that for a week or so after the incidents happened, I always took a friend to lunch and I Ubered to and from work. Waiting inside the office until it got there. The cost was so worth it for the peace of mind – you just can’t trust that she won’t be lurking around for a bit, especially if she saw where you work.

Post # 8
Member
300 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

First of all, I’m so sorry that happened to you. A similar incident happened to me, except it was in an empty parking garage at midnight in LA and he was threatening to rape and kill me. Anyways… Definitely get pepper spray. Wear sunglasses and don’t make eye contact. I know people say the homeless want to be treated the same, etc, but look where that got you. I don’t take ANY chances anymore, and nor should you. If that makes me a bad person then so be it.

I would take alternative routes for a little while or get a ride if you can. You will inevitably have to walk that way again. Just walk with confidence, look down, carry pepper spray, and try to walk with a passing group if you can. Good luck out there.

Post # 9
Member
4437 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

Call the police next time and wait for them to come. They can arrest her. Your work will understand.

Post # 10
Member
174 posts
Blushing bee

I live in the Bay Area and I see many homeless people on my walk to work. As much as I feel sympathy for these people who clearly need care at mental health facilities or rehab, I try to ignore them. No eye contact, no hellos – no matter how harmless they appear. Try to stay a safe distance away so that you won’t be within reach if they make a sudden movement. Try to walk in well lit areas with other people nearby, even if it means needing to go the long way. I know that even with all of these precautions people can still do crazy things. If pepper spray makes you feel better then get some. Maybe even take some self defense classes – hopefully you’ll never need to physically defend yourself but it will probaly make you feel safer and more confident. 

Post # 11
Member
345 posts
Helper bee

First off – I am so so sorry that happened to you! I don’t walk to work but I do work in downtown Detroit and often have to walk between buildings (5-10 blocks) for meetings. My advice, pepper spray or self defense classes (or both!) are a great option. And first and foremost – head up but don’t make eye contact, wear sunglasses if possible, never engage in any way if someone tries to make eye contact or talk to you. In. Any. Way. Do not look at them, or speak to them, or smile at them. If you are passionate about helping those less fortunate look into Big Brothers, Big Sisters programs or a local shelter where you can volunteer and be safe. Also know there is no shame in changing your route or taking an uber for a day or two!

Post # 12
Member
686 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019 - City, State

I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you, Bee. 

I agree with PP’s that adding 10-15 minutes to your commute would be worth it to me. Would that route be safer in general? As well, it might be nice to switch up the routine. 

Post # 13
Member
28 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2009

that was just scary and daunting. do take precautions for a little while now bee. it sure does costs you more time but your safety comes first

Post # 14
Member
502 posts
Busy bee

Omg how scary – call the police next time & wait for them to come or even catch a ride from someone else that works where you do from now on bee! 

Post # 15
Member
840 posts
Busy bee

The other day a homeless woman followed me and my boyfriend as we were going to the university stadium. She kept saying she has endocarditis (which….I was impressed she knew the term) and that she needed our spare change for surgeries. She walked alongside us and told us how she had just been spit on my another couple and how her husband cheated on her. My boyfriend just said “mhm” or “that’s rough” etc when she would finish one of her stories. Eventually we got to the stadium where there were cops and she left. If I were alone I would have been very anxious.

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