This woman moved to a suburban area and mistook a friendly hello for a possible threat. Now, her family and the rest of the neighbors think she’s a jerk. Here’s what happened.
It was a new place
The young woman moved in with her mom a few months ago. And this quiet little neighborhood is very different from the big cities she’s used to living in.
She was prepared for danger
“I used to live in a city where if a stranger was following you around trying to talk, it was pretty certain they were either trying to run a scam, beg money off you, sexually harass you, or some combination,” she explained. And it’s hard to switch gears overnight when you’ve been living like that for so long.
It was a habit
She has her own way of dealing with stranger danger. “My habit is to not engage at all, not even make eye contact with anyone,” she said. “I literally just walk on.”
She ignored them
So when someone in her new neighborhood called out to her, the old habit kicked in. “I was walking down a street, and someone was calling ‘Miss? Hello, Miss? Excuse me, ma’am,’ and I kept walking.”
She was followed
But this stranger was determined to get her attention. So after she ignored him a few more times, he started following her down the street.
She called a friend
She was getting freaked out. She needed to get rid of this guy. She took out her phone and called her best friend.
It went straight to voicemail
The friend didn’t pick up. Instead, the call went straight to voicemail. But the woman began talking like her friend was there, and loud enough so the stalker would hear. She said, “Someone’s following me. Yeah, a white man. I think he lives at 200 (Street) Street. Short brown hair, about 6 feet tall, 180 pounds. Yeah, I’ll stay on the phone with you till y’all get to me. Yeah, I’ve got that on me, always do.”
That got rid of the guy. The woman still felt a bit nervous but was okay when she got home. In fact, she wasn’t even thinking about the weird encounter anymore.
She had gone viral
Then, her mom called her into the kitchen. What happened next was unbelievable. “Mom showed me a Facebook picture from her neighborhood group,” she said. “It was a picture of me from a distance taken by a doorbell camera.”
She was the “weirdo”
And there was a long post under the picture, written by the man who followed her. He wrote that he’d spotted a new person in the neighborhood and became suspicious when they refused to greet him or say hello back.
She thought it was a joke
The woman burst out laughing, then explained the situation to her mom. But her mom didn’t see the funny side. She told her daughter the man was a close friend and that her rude behavior had embarrassed the entire family.
They said it was her fault
Her story spread around the neighborhood, and now everyone thinks she’s a rude and ignorant jerk. And her mom is still on their side.
She had a question
“My mom said I acted really hostile and inappropriate and that I was making her look bad with her neighbors,” said the mom. “But I didn’t think I did anything wrong.” Then she asked, “Am I the jerk in this story?”
The internet answered
“The simple answer is no,” said one person. “You are absolutely correct to be freaked out by someone following you when you did nothing wrong.”
“You don’t have to greet a total stranger if you don’t want to,” posted another. “And why does this man think it’s chill to follow a woman you don’t know down the street?”
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