This week I was in LA for a conference. The first night after a lovely dinner I had a drink in the hotel bar with a few attendees. We called a relatively early night since we all had to be in meetings in the morning, and headed off to our rooms.
The elevator reached my floor, and I bid farewell to my friends as I stepped off. As I was walking down the hallway, rummaging through my purse for my key, I heard a voice behind me. “Excuse me, ma’am?” I turned, surprised since I hadn’t noticed anyone get off the elevator at my floor. A guy was standing there, about ten steps behind me. “I just wanted to tell you that you are really beautiful. Are you married?”
At first, I was flummoxed. This has literally never happened to me. Not the guy hitting on me part, but the guy following me off the elevator part. It was surreal. And even after I said, yes, I’m married and a mother of three, but thanks, he said, “I saw you downstairs and didn’t come over because you were with all of those people. Is there any way I can get to know more about you?” I was like nope, sorry, and walked away. I looked behind me a few times to make sure he wasn’t following me and locked my door as soon as I was in my room. In the moment, it seemed really odd, but I didn’t start to get scared until I was walking away and realized how easily he could follow me.
Honestly, I’m not sure what I could have done differently other than be more aware as I was getting off the elevator. But even if he had gotten off at the same time as me, would I have been able to do anything differently? In this case the guy appeared to be harmless. But it was unnerving how fully I was taken off guard. What if he hadn’t been harmless? In parking lots I’m good about being aware of my surroundings and having my keys ready. In this nice hotel, though, I was very relaxed and took none of my normal safety precautions.
There are two lessons I want people to take away from here. First, just because you’re in a nice hotel doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention to what’s around you. Second, don’t ever, ever follow someone just to hit on them. It will likely have the opposite effect from what you are hoping!
Readers, have you been in a scary situation on a trip? What travel safety precautions do you normally take?
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