This story personally happened to my daughters and I in a craft store recently.
My ten-year-old daughter ran off to the coloring aisle and I noticed a man in his 40s turn his whole body and stare at her. I immediately ran after her and I watched where the man’s hands were.
FYI: eyes tell what the person is interested in, but hands do the harm.
His one hand was on the front of his shorts holding something down (I’ll let you use your imagination on this) and the other hand was at his side. Once I got to her, I quickly led her down another aisle and I kept my eyes on the man when I could see him. He was staring me down and his entire body was pointing at me. I grabbed the other girls and left the store immediately. I watched my six (behind me) the entire time going to the car. (For those of you wondering if I was armed…yes, always.)
Once we were locked in our car, I called the store and asked for the manager. She had already been alerted by another customer and they were calling the police.
The reason I post this is because pedophiles and criminals go to places where their target audience is present. They’re going to pick a craft store versus a crossfit gym or a golfing range. It is important to understand that these criminals are not afraid to stare down a child, try to touch them, or even try to kidnap them.
Your safety mindset is so important when you are out in public. Always be in “Condition Yellow”, alert, vigilant, and scanning the area, yes, even in someplace as seemingly mundane as a craft store. You are not paranoid, but you are aware, so you are difficult to harm.
Especially with children, it is imperative to have a plan in place before something happens when you have to protect children. Here is a list of safety advice:
Practice situational awareness with them: “Does anyone see the red car?” etc, it can be like a game for young kids.
Have a code phrase for “Children, pay attention. Something might not be right”. I ask them, “Hey girls, how’s the weather?”
Have a word that alerts your children to imminent danger. Use a word that you’re unlikely to use in normal conversation, ours is “cobra”.
In a store, know where all exits are and remember, in a major emergency, use the ones at the back of the store, because the front doors might be a trap.
Have a tool on you that you can use to protect yourself. If you don’t, quickly find something in the store that you could use as a weapon. That iron cross in Hobby Lobby just became very useful!
Flashlights are a critical thing in a store during an emergency. They can be used as an effective, non-lethal defense tool in addition to their obvious utility. If you don’t have a flashlight check out https://shieldprotectionproducts.com/ Use Pretty Loaded 10 in the coupon code area to receive 10% off.
Make yourself and family a hard target. Strong eye contact and watch the potential threats every move.
If you perceive a threat, create distance from them and leave the store immediately.
On the street, be ready to cross to the other side, or enter a store if you have a potential threat approaching.
The pedophile in this story was well over 6 feet and large in stature. I had to protect three daughters under the age of 13, and this person seemed to not be under the influence of any substances. His body language was very ominous, and his stares were piercing. In the car, my daughter stated that she felt like he was going to hurt her. Always pay attention to your intuition!
We can no longer afford to live in a world where we hope nothing bad will ever happen to us, and pray that law enforcement will come to our rescue. Instead of watching the newest Netflix series, take a few hours to teach yourself and children real life skills.
What would you have done if you were in this situation? Please comment below.
Beth is the founder of Pretty Loaded. On a mission to install strength, awareness, and confidence, Beth began her journey as an educator and National speaker after a close encounter with a would-be predator. She has trained thousands of people in person, and through her online training around the world. Her safety videos reach millions globally! Beth is an NRA Pistol Instructor and an NRA Personal Protection in the Home Instructor. She is responsible for starting National Situational Awareness Day and this was approved by the registrar of the National Day Calendar. Beth has been featured on Consumer Reports, Elite Readers, BuzzFeed, ViralNova, and many more networks. Beth loves spending her time reading, running, cooking, and painting. She is married and has four wonderful young girls, organic chickens, and lives on an organic produce farm and vineyard.