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“Stranger danger" isn't just a rule for kids at the playground--it's a mentality that everybody should have. Maybe it's my paranoia, or the fact that as a woman I get catcalled every time I leave the freakin' house, but I personally believe that we need to be wary of strangers. And these stories are exactly why.

Here are some of the scariest encounters people have had with strangers. I'm not excited to read these- my anxiety won't thank me. Enjoy!

U/Anchovy7 asked: What's the scariest encounter you've had with a total stranger?

Being a former resident of New York City, I have had plenty of stories of people sitting next to me and saying creepy sh*t. It’s strangely comforting to know that other people feel that pain too.

Thank you, Marty.

It's a mix of the scariest, and the best:

I was eleven, and at the park with my cousin who was three. My cousin being a stubborn three year old told me to leave him be, and I sat out on the bench.

I was just reading my book, and occasionally looking up, until this like fifty something year old man sat down next to me, and just started talking.

He asked me, which kid was mine like four times, even after I made it quite clear I was uncomfortble, and then he get's all close to me, and was like:

"Do you want another one?"

So I started freaking out, until this homeless man, (who I later knew to be Marty) pulled me off the bench, and told him that he was lucky he didn't 'pop his jaw' and told me to go home.

I'm glad Marty showed up, because I don't know what I would have done.

Update: Marty says hello.

UrDadTxtMe

Never go to the library in a big city. Trust me.

steve buscemi trunk GIF Giphy

Not scary per se but deeply disturbing. Random dude at my local library accosted me while I was enjoying a new sci-fi novel and was absolutely convinced I was his son. Kept telling me he was sorry and he never meant to kill my mother who he called Pink and said some other heinous sh*t I won’t describe.

Bat sh*t crazy but he sounded so rational and calm the whole time. Sh*t gave me the creeps for a long time after.

Roguechimera

Creepy af.

I was in high school and worked at a truck stop.

One night a trucker came in and stared at me for a long time. Wherever I moved to he was staring me down. I told him that if he needed anything that he would need to come to the counter and order it.

He just grunted and kept staring.

I'm not a small person and at that time I was in football, wrestling, and track. I was also at the gym 6 days a week. I was 190 pounds of muscle and teenager hormones. But the vibes I was getting from this guy were making me nervous.

I called up my other co worker and told them I was going to be in the freezer for a while. So I was stocking the freezers and coolers for a while and then went to the bathroom.

As I entered the bathroom the trucker jumped up and walked in behind me and just stood in there while I took a piss and washed my hands.

As soon as I got out I grabbed the trash bags and bee lined outside to take care of the trash at the pumps until he left.

My co worker asked me why the trucker kept following me after I finally came in.

I had no idea why. He never said anything. Didn't order anything. Just filled up his semi and creeped on me.

I've never been as creeped out by a person as I was with that guy.

Memikeme

​The scariest encounters are the ones aimed at kids. Absolutely no sympathy for these monsters.

This is deeply disturbing.

When I was about 6 I was with my family at an incredibly crowded street festival we'd go to every year. I remember we had stopped to watch a band play for a minute or two, and then my mom (I assumed) took my hand and we continued walking.

After a few seconds I realized the hand I was holding was puffy and hot, and my mom's hands were always cool and more slender, so I knew it wasn't her hand I was holding. I looked up to see a woman with long blond hair and sunglasses grinning down at me. I said "You're not my mom" and she just laughed and said "That's okay, you can come with me anyway!"

Obviously my mom and dad had realized I was not with them at this point and were freaking out. My dad just happened to look in the exact right direction at the right time and saw this lady leading me away through a break in the crowd. He ran over to us, grabbed her shoulder and she dropped my hand and disappeared in the crowd.

I still can't believe he spotted us. It was like shoulder to shoulder people at this thing.

I_Want_A_Llama

Wtf....

yelling steve carell GIF Giphy

I was 16 and sitting on a train station with my mother. Some man came over and started talking to her.

After a while I looked at the clock and informed my mother that we needed to go because our train was about to arrive. He flew up from the seat and started screaming at me and wanted to fight me. My mother was confused and tried to explain to him that I was her daughter and that we really did need to leave. He just continued screaming which of course made teenage me scream back at him. She had to pull me away from there.

I never understood what made him see red like that. All I did was inform my mother our train was coming and we needed to leave.

WrestlingWoman

That’s horrifying.

I will never forget it. When Ghostbusters 2 came out I wanted to see it. My mom took me to the local theater I think I was around 9.

I needed to use the bathroom so I ran down the small hall and turned the corner. When I saw a much older man come out of the bathroom. When he saw me he stopped went back in. When I didn't move he opened the door peeking his head and arm out motioning me to come towards him. I probably looked like a deer in headlights I didn't move. It was frozen until he said: come on, come on in. Panic rushed over me and I ran back towards my mom, who said I was pale white. She quickly left the theater with me and went home. Stranger Danger worked out that day in the 80s.

I can still picture him, or atleast the picture my brain made of this memory.

Butters991

​So this one’s kinda obvious, but clearly there had to be a section about the horrors women go through every day if we dare step foot outside our homes. Here are a few intense stories.

Moms looking out for each other.

I dropped my son off at school one morning and then went to the grocery store with my infant daughter. It was so early, there was only 1 or 2 other customers. There was an older man with a walker that I didn't really pay too much attention to that kept popping up in the same aisle as us.

I got out to my car and put my groceries in and then was putting my daughter in her car seat when the man came up behind me. He asked me a question and when I turned to answer he shoved his walker into the back of my legs pinning me against my car inside the open door. I tried moving around but couldn't go anywhere except forward and he started pushing me down to the floor of my car. I was so scared that once he had me down there he was going to go for my daughter so I threw myself over her so my whole upper body was in her car seat and wedged myself in tight trying to cover as much of her as possible.

He grabbed me by the hair and was trying to pull me up when someone started honking their car horn. Another mom had been sitting in her car with her own baby asleep and had seen what was happening. Another car pulled up behind mine and the man ran over and got in quickly, obviously never needing the walker. The police were called but the plates on the car that he left in were stolen so as far as I know he was never found.

Lostmyshade

It can happen in your own home.

Movie Stabbing GIF Giphy

I was taking a shower in the bathroom of the walkout basement. My 3 year old son was upstairs with my mother eating breakfast. I heard him open the door and told him "Mommy is in the shower, you have to wait."

The door didn't close but he didn't respond either so I asked him to go back upstairs and ask grandma for whatever he needed.

Instead I see a a shadow and outline of a hand touching the shower curtain and realize that there is an ADULT in the bathroom, not my son.

I scream and punch through the shower curtain. I don't think I connected, but I heard the man run out anyway. As fast as I could I jumped out and grabbed a towel to check on my son and mom. At the same time my mom was coming downstairs to see if I was ok from the scream.

The man never went upstairs and they didn't even know it had happened. The walkout basement door and window were open.

I called the police and they didn't find him, just my empty wallet about a block away. They did come back to me a few weeks later to let me know that they caught a guy in the area assaulting women at gunpoint and they think it was the same guy.

Never been so scared in my life.

Add: The most visceral part for me was knowing he was just standing quietly in the bathroom while I talked to him like he was my son. Honestly, I don't know why but that creeps me out the most. It felt really violating at the time.

Like_big_mutts

Been there.

I was walking home from the bus stop after school. About 15 years old. It was really not far but there were construction workers drinking on the side of the road. One of them got up and followed me home calling suggestive things. I honestly can't remember what but his intentions were clear. This was about 200m from home so I sprint home. We have an automatic gate so I realize he will catch me if I wait for it to open or he'll follow me in. So I climb over which is normally not easy but that day I flew over.

I was really shaken up. For me this story is actually about what happened next. Which is that I called my mom who had an intense job. She dropped everything at work, came home immediately, made me hot chocolate and pancakes. We had a long conversation where she validated my feelings and fear. She's the best.

Vonnybon

Truck stops alone at night are the worst.

I was traveling home to California and I was in Nevada. It was an emergency so I'd packed and left at around midnight. It was about five thirty am or so in rural Nevada. I was at a stop on my usual route. I was very familiar with the particular stop, and it was just an hour or so before the California border.

Being a lone female, I concealed carry (I have my extended permit which allowed concealed through several states, except California) and I was at my truck at an empty spot, and I was in the cab disassembling and putting away my gun to be in compliance. Stepped out to go to the restroom and someone had managed to get close to my truck and was hiding along the passenger side, and I didn't know it until I'd walked passed them.


Whoever it was grabbed me from behind. I let out the loudest, most blood-curdling scream. Oscar-winning scream. But there was no other people at this stop. I fought and tried to buck the guy off of me, but I wasn't doing very well. Kicking lead him to lift me off the ground where I couldn't get him, and trying to break through his arms made him bend me over with him still behind me. I'm not sure how long I was screaming and fighting, but then I heard tires screech and I figured it was the creepy van my parents told me to avoid as a kid coming to take me away. Nope. It was a Toyota Corolla full of local teenagers headed to the gas station before school. The teens jumped out and ran towards us, and the driver stayed in the vehicle. The guy who grabbed me took off, two of the kids chased him through the desert beyond the gas station on foot, and the driver and the other kid made sure I was alright.

I send these four boys Christmas and birthday cards every year. I'm sure if it wasn't for them I would've been kidnapped or killed. Josh, Austin, Mason, and James, thank you guys.

Kittyonthetitty

The world is terrifying, my dudes. I've been harassed by my fair share of strangers, and it's the reason why I'm super careful just was walking around my neighborhood.

Protect yourself, protect your kids, protect your friends. It's scary out there

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