I was driving to Target with my daughters yesterday to buy gifts before heading to my co-worker's son's birthday party. As we stopped on the red light, I noticed this man driving in the car next to mine, probably in his late 30's looking at my car. I looked again and I saw him looking at my daughter Ju Ju. I didn't think too much at first, then the light turned green. I started driving again and he, too, started driving. I looked at him again, he's still looking at Ju Ju while he's driving (ok, that's dangerous!) Then we stopped again for another red light. I looked again, now he looked back and looking at her again. I looked the back seat and saw my daughter resting her both hands by the window and looking outside, midning her own business. She didn't know the guy was looking at her.
Now as a mother I thought about two things:
1. This guy simply thinks my daughter is adorable.
2. This guy is creepy and must be a pedophile
Okay girls, I don't deny that I often get stopped by strangers at a supermarket or a restaurant or a boutique and being told how cute my daughters are. Even past weekend, while we're waiting our turn at the deli for cold cuts, this gentleman before me told me, "I just want to say that your daughters are adorable.." - I was flattered and thanked him. And there's nothing wrong with it.
What tremendously bothered me about this guy in the car was, he never once acknowledged me. We stopped side by side at the red lights twice. He never even once looked at me and smiled or nodded; the gestures that I would consider him being polite and telling me that he knew I was her mother. As I was approaching another traffic light to make left turn onto Target, the guy slowly, but surely changing lanes towards the opposite lane to make right turn.
I was watching at my daughter through the rear view mirror when she finally noticed the guy looking at her. She waved him and I immediately looked at the man. He smiled and waved her and disappeared as he made right turn onto the opposite street. Ju Ju said, "Mama, the guy was smiling at me, so I waved..." My heart was racing fast....It was my gut feeling. Something was terribly wrong. I could feel it.
No, he didn't follow us. And yes, it could be totally innocent thing where he honestly thought she was cute and wondered what my daughter was thjnking as she looked outside of the car window. But really, if I was he, I would look at her mom and at least smile.
So that night, I talked to my husband who's in NJ about what happened. He was really, really bothered by my story because he couldn't do anything about it. He was also frustrated with my action where I didn't do anything to control the situation. He told me I should have honked at the guy when I felt something was wrong and letting him know that I knew he was looking at our daughter. JT told me I am the only one who can save our daughters from any harm while he's away and he is right.
I don't want to be cynical, but we're living in the time where we can't trust strangers. It's really sad, but true. Strangers do great things to help other people in need, but there are also crazy sick people who want to hurt children. So, I have to protect my daughters from anyone who wants to hurt them and I feel like I didn't do a good job of doing that. I truly hope the guy was not some sick man who loves little kid. That thought only makes me wanna vomit.
So, what would you do if you were me?