Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Cautionary Tale

We live in a very safe neighbourhood. It is located high up on a ridge, and well away from the main center of Kamloops. To get to our neighbourhood you have to wind your way up through the hills. In other words, it isn't the kind of place you "just happen by", and as a consequence doesn't attract many non-residents.

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.


  1. This is a very important warning. It's disturbing to have something like that happen in such a safe neighborhood, especially when it's yours. Thank goodness the girl got away.

    You want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but you have to avoid putting yourself at risk. In the age of cellphones, your advice is perfect.

    Unless I see a cellphone in her hand, I always stop when I see a female stuck on the side of the road. I worry if I don't stop, what if the next person by has bad intentions? I learned that from my dad, it was one of his best traits. When he was leaving an event, he wouldn't pull away until he was sure everyone else in the group had started their cars and were on their way home.

  2. Your advice was spot on!! What an awful thing to have endured, thank goodness she made it out alive..

  3. @Ric -That is great that you stop to help out. Your father taught his son well! I think it is good to give people the benefit of the doubt, but the reality is not all people have good motives.

    @amelia - Yes, the girl was lucky. Well, not really lucky so much as smart. She fought back, and that is how she got away.

  4. How horrible. But this proves anything can happen anywhere.

  5. Wow. No one wants that to happen any where let alone in their neighborhood. I am glad the girl got away.

    When I saw your first picture, I thought it looked familiar. Like someplace I'd been. And I have! About 10 years ago I was in Canada with a friend and we stayed in Kamloops. It reminded me of where I'm from. And that was a surprise to find in Canada!

  6. @Harpa - Yes, it is very easy to think that nothing bad can happen in our own neighbourhoods, but that kind of thinking can be dangerous.

    @Kathy - That's funny that you recognized Kamloops! It surprises a lot of people that a desert can be found in Canada. It doesn't fit with the overall theme of snow and ice. :-)

  7. I shuddered when I heard that radio news story. Much too close to home. Your advice was excellent. I'm just sorry we have to worry about those sorts of things happening at all.

  8. Oh my! I am so glad you left a comment on my blog, so I could find yours! Subscribing now. Nice to meet you, even if my comment is on a post about something so dreadful. In my neck of the woods, authorities keep finding bodies of dead women wrapped in burlap bags -- I think they're up to 8, now, on Long Island. Prostitutes, sad lost women. Heartbreaking.

  9. @Aneta - Yes, definitely too close to home.

    @Lori - I am glad you found my blog! Your post today about the texting was hilarious! That is awful about the murders where you live. Hopefully they catch the guy soon.

  10. A cautionary tale indeed. Thinking of my young granddaughters soon to be adolescents etc. And even I as I biked home in the dark recently felt a bit spooked in dark sections of the road.

  11. @Janet - It is hard to find the balance between letting young people know there is potential danger out there, and not making them paranoid about every person they meet.