The road to our home cuts through these hills
Halfway down the hill
It is also the area of our city where the highest percentage of RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officers live. In fact, the neighbours on both sides of our house are RCMP officers. It just doesn't get any safer than this.
That is why I was shocked last night when Diana, my daughter-in-law from Calgary, phoned to ask if I had heard about the attempted abduction in our neighbourhood. I was certain there had to be a mistake so immediately checked the CBC website. It turns out Diana was right.
Late Friday night a twenty year old girl stopped at the bottom of the hill to help a man whose truck appeared to be broken down. He was pulled over to the side of the road and had his emergency flashers going. When the girl got out of her vehicle the guy grabbed her and forced her into his truck. She fought back and, thankfully, managed to get away. So did the creep who tried to abduct her.
The bottom of the hill where the incident occurred
Here's the thing. I have a twenty year old daughter who drives up that hill late at night after finishing her time at school or work. In fact, Alexandra was at work when Diana called. I immediately sent her a text message warning her about what had happened and cautioning her to lock her doors and to not stop for anybody no matter what. Many of those words were in ALL CAPS. I was serious, and I wanted her to know it. (It used to be that when I was serious I could convey this with a certain tone of voice, or in extreme circumstances by using "the look." Now I find myself reduced to using all caps in a text message.)
A few minutes later Alexandra phoned and sounded slightly upset. It turns out that she had actually witnessed the event but hadn't known that was what she was seeing! Not only that, she said when she saw the vehicle turn to go help the guy, her first thought was to wonder if she should stop and see if there was anything she could do. In the end she decided all was well which, of course, it wasn't. Far from it.
Every time I think about what could have happened if she had come home even five minutes earlier and been the first person to come across this pervert I feel queasy. Would she have stopped? I tend to think she might have. After all, it was her first reaction when she saw the other girl going to help.
If you are a woman and see some guy stranded by the side of the road DO NOT STOP. Ever. Even if it is broad daylight. If you think that person really needs help then drive down the road a safe distance, pull over, and make a cell phone call to the police. It is very easy to think that nothing could ever happen to us, that these kinds of things only happen to other people. It is also an extremely dangerous way to think.