Saturday, February 6, 2016

Incident on Walnut Street

A manager at one of the other bookstores in our chain passed away this week.  Friday, February 5 was her viewing and funeral.  A call for volunteers to staff the store went out among all of the other stores in the district.  They needed a lot of staff, as it was a city store.  One of the positions required was Head Cashier, which is my position.  I volunteered to help.  (Of course I got paid.)

So on Friday afternoon I drove into Center City, Philadelphia where the store is located.  The store is a large one- three stories a "ritzy" area next to Rittenhouse Square.  There was a bit of traffic coming in, but I still made it roughly on time.


The shift was fun.  The only real bump was an old rastafarian guy who was bothering one of the Philly store's staff.  As our store has no security, I spoke up saying I'm her boss; she has work to do, and would you kindly leave her alone?   He came over to my register, and started asking me strange questions (he was either demented or high.)  At that point, the security guard came over and escorted him out.  Yes, this store has a guard!  YAY!

The shift ended, and we all parted ways.  I met many wonderful people from many stores.  In many ways it was an "All Star team."  Anyway, the store manager at my usual store told me earlier that her brother ran a bar near the store called Tinto.  I thought I'd go over and see the place.  The two women from my store who had also volunteered couldn't accompany me, as they already had plans (they are both in their 20s and single.)  So I walked the three blocks to the bar alone without an issue.

The door people were young and gorgeous.  I texted my roomie and bestie, Linda, "Life isn't fair" which is what we usually say to each other when we see a gorgeous woman.

With one of the two door women

I went to the bar area, but the manager's brother was not working that night.  "But we have two other bartenders on tonight, and they're just as hot as he is!" as one of the door people said.  I had a glass of wine and left.

That's when things became a bit dangerous.

Sidebar:  I went to Drexel University for two years.  Drexel is in west Philly, in a rough neighborhood of the city.  I was mugged there a few times.  I learned never to go anywhere alone if possible.  And that's when I was young, in shape, and supposedly male.  While there, I learned a few tricks to keep people from attacking.

Anyway, I started walking south on 20th street when I noticed a tall guy start walking in my direction behind me.  He was taller than me and most of his face was obscured by a hood and a scarf.  As I walked south, I noticed another man emerge from an alley to right.  He was also taller than me, hooded and scarfed.  He joined the other man, maybe twenty yards behind me.

I was a woman walking alone in the city.  And I was being followed.

I crossed Walnut Street and headed east toward the parking garage next to the bookstore.  So did they.  I jaywalked back across Walnut.  So did they.

I remember a trick taught to me by one of my fraternity brothers at Drexel: if you think you're being followed, turn and put your hand into your jacket like you're going for a gun.  Well, I was wearing a loose sweater over my dress.  However, I had my purse on my right arm.

I turned to face the two men, set my feet shoulder width apart and put my left hand into my bag while looking one of the men directly in the eye.  I glared at him, trying to look fierce.

The men stopped maybe twenty feet from me (they had been gaining on me), turned, and without a word walked back west on Walnut Street.  They turned right on 20th and I lost sight of them.

I'm red.  The two men are blue and purple.  Please excuse the crudeness of the map

I was so relieved!  I turned back to walk the remaining half a block to the parking lot, retrieved my car, and drove home.

There was a time I would have turned and charged at the two men, looking for the fight, and, somewhere deep inside, hoping to die.  But those days are long gone.  Besides, I was wearing a dress.  And I didn't want to get a run in my pantyhose.

But seriously, I was really scared!  I just wanted to go home and get some sleep, as I had to work in the morning.

Well, I'm back at the apartment typing up this story while it's fresh in my mind.

Ladies, don't be stupid like me: don't walk alone at night in the city!  I was lucky those two were looking for an easy target.  Very lucky.

I'm going to go to bed now to try to get some sleep.

Be well!

(This was read on a podcast.  at the 55 Minute mark)

See ME reading this entry HERE


  1. Glad you're okay! The street by my apartment is always shady, but more so at night. That's a good trick with the jacket. I'll have to remember that next time I'm wearing anything other than a hoodie.

  2. Very scary! But you kept your wits about you and stayed safe. I'm happy you weren't physically hurt but sad that an otherwise uplifting day was besmirched by this incident. I went to Temple U. in the early 80's and while I escaped harm, I unfortunately know that feeling of malicious pursuit.

  3. Glade you got home ok . My daughter live on Arch st . And were always checking on her . Some times she works late and two weeks ago she started a class at Penn . Walk home . she not doing that again . Sandy M

  4. Glad you survived that adventure. Hopefully they don't read your blog, otherwise you'll need a different tactic next time.

  5. It's good that your experience came to your rescue. Would the police have responded if you called 911?