I was almost abducted. It took two weeks of being followed for me to realize that I was in danger.
My best friend and I would frequently walk the neighborhood, going to the corner store, or just taking walks to pass time. We noticed a man in a van waving his private parts as he drove by. We were at the age where we didn’t quite understand what was happening, but knew somehow it was wrong. We finally asked each other if we saw what we saw, and we were in agreement that we did see something creepy.
Not mentioning it to anyone, I set out to do my daily paper route one day, not knowing what lay ahead.
As I walked the sidewalks that I’d walked a million times, I saw the van drive down the street. Looking up from my routine, I saw this man wave his genitals as he drove by. I began to panic. I felt my pulse quicken and was in a state of confusion. I did, however, understand that this fear was real. My house was nearby, so I ran inside to tell my mother.
Upon entering the house, I crouched down, as to not be seen through the windows, and confessed to my mother that I was a target of this deranged person. She calmly told me that I had nothing to worry about, and that I should say the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23:4, and I would be fine. She continued to say that I should finish my paper route, and to not worry.
I don’t know why I continued the paper route, or why I even left my house, but my mother said to say the Lord’s Prayer, and that’s what I was going to do. She said I would be safe and I halfheartedly believed her. As I took a side street, connecting two major roads, I saw the van again. This time, it was slowly turning onto the side street heading toward me. I was on the 3rd or 4th Psalm 23:4 as the van approached me. Without any premeditated thought, I instinctively ran into an overgrown grassy corner lot, heading toward the middle and layed flat on my stomach, paper sack by my side.
I held my breath, as to not have the grass move to give away my location. I remember feeling shocked as the van stopped on the side of the road and the driver’s door opening and closing. I was petrified.
He was coming after me, and I had no protection, nowhere to go. I could see him approaching the lot through the grass. “ The Lord is my shepherd…the Lord is my shepherd.” Then all of a sudden, I saw him re-enter his van, as another car came driving up the side street. He didn’t want to be seen I realized, he didn’t want to get caught. He was going to let me go.
After about 20 minutes of lying flat on my belly, I realized that the coast was clear. I should have ran home, but I had a paper route to finish. So, I collected myself and continued my route. But, it didn’t take long before he appeared again. I didn’t know what to do this time. I was safely canvasing my customer’s homes, keeping close to their doorways and away from the sidewalk. But, it wasn’t enough. I was inflamed with the psychological toll this was taking on me. I was not safe, and I had stopped saying the prayer.
Finally, I had enough. I was delivering a paper to the back door of a customer, when the van stopped at the end of the driveway. Luckily, the customer was in his back yard. I implored him to help me, trying to explain what was happening, without getting into the gory details. Right about halfway through my plea, the van pulled up at the end of the driveway. The customer was at his back door, not visible from the street. I stopped to catch my breath and saw a devious smile from behind the van’s glass. The customer stepped away from his backdoor, and looked toward the street. The van peeled out with a loud sound of the revved engine and burning rubber. I pointed toward the van to tell my customer that this was the man following me. My customer called my father to tell him that I needed to be picked up. “The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I shall want.”
Detectives came to my house a couple of days later to question me about the incident. It was during Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. I hated to have to stop watching my favorite show. They asked me all kinds of questions about the pervert, which I answered completely and truthfully. My father sat at the table with us.
I learned a few weeks later that the man was caught, and that my mother didn’t want me to go to court to relive the entire events again. That was fine with me at the time. However, looking back, I can’t understand why she didn’t want him off the streets. Would someone else know to say the Psalm 23:4 when stalked? And, most importantly, I wondered why my mother didn’t protect me at the time.
I have now come to terms with what happened. I trusted my mother, and she trusted God. It was her way of dealing with the situation. It was 1974, and these things didn’t happen in suburbia, or so we thought. I would have protected my children in a much different way, but this was her way.
I have said the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23:4 under my breath many times since the near abduction. There will always be predators amongst us, but they won’t take me. They can’t take me. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil. Who knows what saved me that day. Could it have been prayer, or quick instincts? I’ll never really know for sure.
Can I get an AMEN?!?!