Friday, December 24, 2010

All I Did Was Smile

I was near the end of my long drive "home" last night ... from my 5/6 idyllic days in the beautiful, peaceful and safe Ozarks.

I was on the west side of Fort Worth, and hungry, so I made my final stop on the final stretch that would take me back into Abilene.

I have fond memories of Waffle House, ever since I was a child, and whipped into one. 

I remember smiling at the small handful of patrons looking my way through the small glass cubicle of the empty restaurant as I got out of the car and stepped onto the curb.

I placed my regular order ... patty melt with scattered, smothered, covered and diced hashbrowns.  Extra crispy, please.

Then I went to the restroom while I waited for it to be served.

When I came out of the restroom, I smiled again at the small handful of patrons who looked my way as I sat down at my small booth next to the cash register ... propping my feet onto the empty booth-bench across from me.

Then a table paid and left, with a cheerful round of goodbyes throughout, and my delicious meal was served. 

A brief (but open) exchange of "how hungry and tired I was after such a long journey, and how thankful I was for this fond meal, and how Abilene was not too much farther away" ensued with the waitress.  

I was into my first few bites, and a lone man had gotten up to pay.  The whole time he stood there for the transaction, he looked down upon me smiling.  Of course, I smiled back and continued eating.  He collected his change, or whatever.

Then he leaned over my booth and said something presumptuous and silly like, "I know I know you. We've met before. Your name slips my mind, but your face is etched in my memory" and then he sat down at my booth/table with his gaze pinned upon my chest.

Now, for those that know me, y'all know I am a friendly and loving soul and I give of myself freely to strangers.  On my terms.  These were not my terms. Those that know me also know that when I am uncomfortable or nervous, I laugh.  And that is exactly what I did.  Which, evidently, fueled this man's brazen pursuit ... he must not have seen the fear and/or fire flicker across my eyes. Or, if he did, it fanned his own wicked flame.

I tried to hide my discomfort by being jolly, and I also tried to be vague by laughing off his direct questions.

He asked for my name ... and I can't believe I felt awkward for lying ... to which he replied, "Yes, of course, Suzy, how could I forget" as he picked up my cell phone, and asked for my number, and started pushing buttons on it. As I reached to take my phone from his hand, his other hand touched my foot on the bench next to him.  I dropped my feet instantly, and remember looking around incredulously to see if anyone was witnessing this happening.

The cook and waitress behind the counter were busily engaged in chores, and seemed to act as if nothing was awry. 

I continued to try eating while fending off this man's persistence to come join him for a drink ... to tell him my number ... to whatever (it's not good) ... and in walks two police officers to grab a quick bite to eat while on patrol. They sat down at the other end of the empty space. 

God is good.

What I didn't know is that the waitress must have whispered something to them while taking their order.

God is real good.

I found enough courage and strength to give the man the ultimate brush-off ... which was kinda rude, and embarrassing for me to recall, even though he deserved it, and then some ... to which he amusingly replied that he just happened to have family in Abilene, too, and that he was also heading that way, and maybe we could follow each other the rest of the way of the journey and see what the future has in store for us.  

Oh how I regretted being so forthcoming earlier with my travel information!  Something so innocent ... such a friendly exchange could be used against me ... lessons learned the hard way.

He stood up, took my hand, and told me we would definitely meet again ... it was fate, he said ... and then curtly nodded at the policemen in acknowledgement as he walked out the door as if everything was perfectly normal.

I wanted to puke.

One of the policemen, without even looking at me and never even lifting his head, asked loudly, "Was that man accosting you?"

To which I barely managed to utter a simple "Yes sir."

The other one, before I even finished my reply, was out the door.

My half-eaten meal was free, and the staff of Waffle House profusely apologized to me.

We all watched the man drive off ... headed, you guessed it, west toward Abilene ... and all I could think is "that man is crazy enough to slip in behind me and follow me home, and I'd never know it because of the dark."

I waited a few extra minutes to leave ... and sent out a vague tweet into cyberspace: of which can be found to the left of this blog entry in my tweet column.

And now you know what was behind  the seemingly odd "red dodge neon ... name is larry ... las vegas trail waffle house ft worth ... ugh."

If I never made it home, I wanted there to be clues of, at least, where to start looking.

We live in a sick, sick world ... and all I did was smile.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  


  1. Did you get his picture? Glad you got home safe and sound.

  2. God IS good and there's no place like home, Dorothy! Just shows the delicate balance of good and evil in our everyday world. Even in a Waffle House in Ft. Worth its good to have angels protecting you!

  3. 99.9% of people are honest and wonderful people but we always need to be aware of the 1% freak shows..
    Merry Christmas

  4. So glad that you are OK.

    God is Good. Merry Christmas.


  6. Sorry you had the run in with the jerk! Too bad the police didn't see fit to run him in, but of course you would have had to hang around to press charges.

    Glad you made it home safely!

  7. Wow mc..... Glad you are safe! God watches over his own. I don't think I would have been anywhere close to being as polite as you were to a jerk like that. I am a man though, and being a lady in a situation like that is no laughing matter.

  8. How scary! Thank the Lord for His protection and for the good, kind people that are out there. I hope you never encounter that "man" ever again!

  9. Robbie Nolen via FacebookDecember 28, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Although visitations with my Ninnie Nolen were few and far between, there was and will always be a powerful connection... I have always considered her to be my Guardian Angel, there have been multiple times in my life in which I wondered how I made it out alive.

    Well, I know how, it was because I have the most amazing "G.A." watching over me!! I'll bet she had something to do with your Waffle House encounter...

  10. What a story. Great ending for sure. Mary Gren

  11. Glad you were ok...scary stuff to be sure!


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