01 Feb I saved her… and suddenly I was in danger
Just to clarify, I am a female in my early twenties now. This happened when I was about 12 years old. I was in year 8 (I’m guessing that is the same as 8th grade in America?) Anyway I was on my way home from school with my friend Kiera. Kiera was really small and had very child like features. She was also extremely timid and easily scared. We decided to take a quick detour to the local supermarket for a drink and some snacks. Although this was frightening at the time, I am glad I made that detour, and you will understand why very soon. We got into the shop and went straight to the sweets isle. It was fairly empty. There was only me, Kiera and a young Muslim girl who stood staring at all the variety of sweets. She was smaller than Kiera and like I said Kiera was small. If I had to put an age on this girl I would say she was about 7 or 8. I couldn’t see her parents but just assumed they had told her to choose some sweets and then return to them. I am a very observant person naturally and will instantly react if I see someone in danger or figure out what to do if I notice anything suspicious.
As we were browsing for sweets I noticed in the corner of my eye a man stood at the bottom of the isle, staring. I ignored it for a moment thinking he was checking what isle he needed, but he stayed. He didn’t move, I shot a glance over to him and tried to work out why he was stood there. The man was also clearly a Muslim, I would say around the age of 30. For a second I figured he must be her father, but something didn’t seem right. He was staring blankly at her. I turned to the little girl then back to the man, I did this several times and with no doubt in my mind I knew he was watching her. If he was with her surely he would have walked over to her or called her name. He was not her father, her uncle, her brother. I looked towards him again for a moment and I could tell his eyes were so fixated on her that he hadn’t noticed me staring at him. I looked away as not to stare too long but it was bothering me, I could still see him in the corner of my eye. I need to intervene I thought silently. Kiera had been talking continuously at this point but somewhere in the conversation I had switched off. She tugged my arm and I turned to her. Something had to be done. This girls parents were nowhere in sight and I knew I was the only person who could potentially stop whatever sick ideas this man had for this girl. I looked back at the sweets, but kept the little girl in the corner of my eye as I told Kiera to be quiet and I explained what was going on. “Shit!” she whispered. “What do we do?” I had been thinking while she panicked. Brave, but very naive 12 year old me decided we go stand with the girl. “We are going to walk over to her, as we stand next to her you keep your eyes on the man do not take them off of him Kiera! I am going to ask her where her parents are.” With that said we walked towards the girl, one of us at either side of her. My heart was racing for fear of what his intentions were. I tend to get very angry when I am afraid, and my fear was solely for this girl. I knelt down beside her and said “Hello, where are your parents?” She looked at me puzzled, I realise now that we looked like the creeps, not him. “I’m not sure, they told me to grab what I wanted and then go find them.” I looked at her face, so sweet, so innocent. I replied “Would it be okay if we helped you find your parents?” I didn’t want her to go find them alone incase the man got to her before they did. “Yes please” she replied. Kiera never took her eyes off of the creep the entire time I was speaking to the little girl. She said he looked angry and sort of confused at what was going on and he walked away just before we took her to find her parents. I took her hand and hurried her along as we searched a few isles for her mother and father. It didn’t take long until we found them. I was relieved as she ran over to them and placed her sweets in the trolley. “Thank you” she said. Her parents looked at us with concern, so I approached them quickly to explain why she just thanked us. I told them that a man had been watching their daughter intensely for the past 5 minutes and I was worried because I couldn’t see her parents. They thanked me many times before I left the shop. I remember how terrified the mother looked as I told her. She took my hand and thanked me again before we left. It’s over I thought. The little girl is safe and I am so glad I took a detour! Me and Kiera left the shop and Kiera decided she didn’t want to go home yet so insisted I come to her friends house with her. “Not today, I really need to get home otherwise my dad will start to worry.” She nodded and set off in the opposite direction.
I began walking home, alone. I felt strange, something in my gut was telling me to turn around. I walked through the car park and past the usual shops, and then I turned… He was behind me, merely yards away. As soon as I caught his eyes I turned around and picked up pace. My heart was pounding, I was only 12 I knew I couldn’t outrun a grown man and I was way too small to fight him. “Think!!!” I screamed in my head. I kept passing shop after shop. No one was around, it was roughly an hour after school ended by this point and all of the school kids had been to the locals shops and gone home, usually in large groups. “The sweet shop!” I thought to myself. At the top of this path I was on (inside the car park/supermarket complex) was a small sweet shop, nearly all of the kids from school flocked there after school ended for their cheap sweets. I knew there was a security guard inside. He was always there, he watched out for the kids stealing sweets. “If I can get to the shop before it closes I’ll be safe” I thought. Yes it closed early on school days as the only customers were us kids. I was hoping for dear life the shutters weren’t down. I knew if it was closed I didn’t stand a chance.
… My route home was simple, but not so much if you’re being chased. After I passed that shop I had to turn right under a bridge then climb large stone stairs to walk over the bridge to then walk up a large hill to get home. I didn’t stand a chance.. Not to mention I had severe asthma that was made worse when I was panicked or nervous.
I picked up as much pace as possible without running. I didn’t want him to think I was aware that I was being followed. He was walking at a steady pace, but keeping his eyes glued to me. Suddenly, as I was about to reach the shop I saw the security guard. He stepped out of the shop JUST as I reached it. I scurried over to him and told him everything that was going on, I told him what happened in the supermarket and then that he was following me. I felt my heart pounding as the man slowly creeped closer. “I have about half a mile to walk, please…” He cut me off. He looked angry. “Go now, don’t stop walking, I’ll stop him and keep him here as long as I can. Don’t look back just move as fast as you can!” I ran round the corner and heard the security guard say “stop!” I then speed walked as fast as my legs could carry me over the bridge. His voice faded as I walked further, I knew he wouldn’t let him hurt me. I felt okay. That feeling in my stomach had gone. I was okay. I reached home with no problem. I never told my dad or grandparents, but like I say I’ve always been cautious and even if I put myself at risk, I’m glad I was able to help that little girl.