Social Media Story ~ The "backup" van
We have all seen stories on social media that sound like urban legends. It is hard to tell the real stories from the fake ones. The story below is written from the perspective of a young adult (not sure if male or female)...but was posted by a retired older gentleman. So...is it real? My answer to that is...it really does not matter. These are called social stories. The concept is to teach a life lesson in the form of a story you can relate to. This social story is a good one in the fact that it reminds you that you need to have situational awareness in your vehicle as well. Read the story...then let's talk.
"****ATTENTION PLEASE READ****
Last night I was in downtown Milwaukee stopped at a stoplight. Suddenly the vehicle in front of me began backing up. I blared my horn but before I could do anything else the vehicle tapped the front end of my car. I stayed where I was. The man quickly jumped out of his car and approached my window. I cracked it just enough to talk to him. I asked for his insurance which he quickly flashed to me and said, “no damage come look.” I firmly said, “No I need a copy of your insurance.” The man just kept saying, “come out and look there’s no damage.” I stayed put. I asked once more for his insurance assuring him that I would call the cops and then took a picture of his license plate. Next thing I knew the man darted off, got into his car and drove away.
All I could think was that I had just gotten into a hit and run and hoped there really wasn’t any damage— it didn’t occur to me that this was an attempt to do so much more.
I called my dad to tell him what happened and ask for advice. I explained the situation and that I hadn’t got out yet to look when he said, “Don’t get out and go somewhere well lit.” I didn’t understand but I listened. I got out and looked sure enough there was no damage. My dad explained that this was likely a scheme to try to get me out of the car to possibly take me. I was instantly horrified at the idea. He asked me if the guy was in a van—he was. I’m sharing this to help make others aware of this scheme. Had I gotten out of the car I might not be here writing this post. PLEASE, PLEASE be cautious as this could happen to anyone. In other scenarios there could be another car behind you for a more aggressive attempt to take you or even multiple men getting out at once to approach your car. If you are at all unsure of a situation CALL THE POLICE.
I STILL DO NOT KNOW WHY I DIDN'T GET OUT OF THE CAR BUT I’M REALIZING NOW THAT NOT DOING SO MAY HAVE SAVED MY LIFE.
I have reported the license plate/description of the vehicle to the police.
This post was written to be shared/to help warn others about a real life situation that happened/could happen to anyone. Please keep your rude comments to yourself if you don’t like it."
In the grand scheme of things this was the perfect ending to a scary situation. Whether the story is made up or real is not important. Here are the take away's that I want you to remember:
1. Never get too close to any car in front of you. If you can't turn your car to the left or right to go around the car ahead of you...you are too close.
2. Never open your car door or window to someone who approaches your car. (Unless they are law enforcement obviously).
3. Even in an accident like the one described, something should feel ODD. This person backed into you. You should wonder what their motives are. Your vehicle is not worth your life. Trust your gut and stay in your vehicle.
4. Call 911 at any point that you feel uncomfortable. You are not wasting the time of the officers if you feel you are in danger. I would always prefer to be embarrassed and ALIVE than the alternative. Allow yourself to be human and ask for help when necessary.
5. Take pictures of license plates and cars. Get video if you can do so safely. Documentation will always work in your favor. Just be careful and do not escalate the situation. The call to 911 should be your priority first.
6. Keep something in your car for to protect yourself. Grab for a tactical pen, a knife, a kubaton or anything that can be used to protect yourself should someone get within grabbing distance. Don't forget to call for help...your phone is a valuable resource. Also, if your vehicle is in working order, get out of there. Drive to safety. Back up, go around, push their vehicle out of your way. Whatever you need to do, get to a place of safety. We prefer that you drive to a local police station. However, drive to the nearest well lit area where you can get help. If your vehicle is not disabled...move!
In conclusion, read all social stories as a way to engage your mind to the WHAT IF. If you learn something from it...great. That's why we are here as well. To help make you safer.
If you have a social story you would like to share with us (real or not), please let us know. We would love to hear from you.