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“It seemed so slight, just a moment, but it sent me into the oddest panic mode. Everything was a blur”…

Recently Tamara Peace invited me to join her to see Jackson Wiles playing at the Hyatt on Cabrillo in Santa Barbara. It was a small event and his singing was wonderful. Jackson was on American Idle, a very gifted artist. Jed, Tamar’s boyfriend came to join us. We stayed until the talented Jackson gave his ‘one last song’, I love how musicians do that.

As we walked out there was an African American man standing on the sidewalk bike-path in yoga type bohemian pants that hung to his knees. The man was maybe six foot one. He had one hand in his pants, trying to lighten an awkward moment I commented, something such as “He must be doing some adjusting” to Jed and Tamara. We headed toward the exit and as we left the Hyatt, he was standing at the door on the sidewalk waiting for us.

 He grabbed my left are and said “Come with me”. This was alarming and I spoke rather loudly “DO NOT TOUCH ME” then Jed larger than life spoke up “Hey get your hands off her… back off”.The strange man walked away but then turned to follow us. Jed spoke up again barking him up “Do not follow us”. The stranger distanced himself from us, as my core self-felt shock. They walked me to my car and I knew how lucky I was. It was board daylight.

They say ‘no harm no foul’. I felt so terrified my mind went blur with that foul man. I could not tell you his description or whether it was mental illness, drugs, or a sick individual.

With self-defense training and great awareness none of that kicked in for me. A lovely afternoon became a moment I would never want to have happen again. I have been told that it was my duty to report him. That in making a report I could be helping others. I agree.

I just knew at that moment I felt like I did when I narrowly dodged trouble, I just wanted to go home. To feel normal and safe again.

Ladies please be aware at all times.I am hoping if I had not had my friends with me, I would have turned around into the building for an employee escort me to my car. I am not embarrassed to ask. Seeing how he was waiting at the door was alarming enough. Several red flags went up with that encounter and I am glad I was paying attention.

Our very safe community is not without its flaws and dangers. Be aware, be prepared, don’t be afraid to make a scene or feel embarrassed, call for help loudly, if you need to.

Did you know calling “fire” is better than “help? Or “call 911… I’m being attacked” “Hands off, back off” is also a good thing to yell. While bystanders may not want to get involved, they will call 911.

Much love big hug stay safe!

Katie

My Mantra: “I understand how quickly things go wrong; I am blessed to have my friends with me.”