This afternoon, my friend Hannah and I were hanging out and decided to go get iced tea from our favorite shop in my town. We decided to walk down to the Walkplatz (pedestrian shopping area). On our walk, she got a call from a friend and I was walking about a step behind her. All of a sudden, I notice a strange man following us. He heard Hannah talking in English so he came up to me and started harassing me while she was on the phone. He was not saying anything obnoxious and was asking where we were from and if we spoke English, etc. I got a bad feeling about him in my gut and so I grabbed Hannah's arm and dragged her into the nearest store I saw (which happened to be Esprit), saying "oh let's go shop here" nonchalantly, hoping that we would lose him.
We went in the store, and peered out the window. He was standing outside, waiting for us. After about 5 minutes, my friend asked a sales associate to check outside to see if the man was still there. We were sure he would be gone and that the woman would think we were crazy. Nope. He's still there. Several more minutes passed and he did not move. Then, he walked into the store, and saw Hannah and made eye contact with her! The saleslady gestured for her to go hide in the fitting room. Scary! After he walked around the store looking for us, he walked out and left. But he continued to stand outside. At this point we were sufficiently freaked out and called both our husbands at work to come get us. TLS wanted me to call the Polizei, but the women who worked in the store told us that the Polizei would not be able to help us because he did not physically touch us.
At this point we were just sitting in the dressing room, hiding out, and chatting with the sales associates. They kept on coming outside to see if he was still there, and he was. Walking around the block and coming back to the front of the store. I thought he was just harassing us because we were women, Hannah thought it was because we're Americans. She turned out to be right. When two German girls walked out of the store, he did not say a word to them.
All in all, we were in there for a little over half an hour, just waiting for him to leave so we could go home. We were both shaking and nervous wrecks this whole time. Thankfully, once our husbands came, he had left for good so we were able to go home in peace.
Having lived here for two years, and in NYC for over 20 years, I have never experienced anything like this. It definitely scared me so much. It made us both want to carry pepper spray. I am so thankful that our husbands were able to get us, and that things did not escalate. Also, thank you to the lovely ladies who work at the Kaiserslautern Esprit for going so far above and beyond and for taking care of us. Esprit, you have earned two customers for life.
At the risk of sounding preachy- to all of my fellow milspouses and readers who are currently abroad: please remember that we are in places where people may not love America as much as we do. Please be aware of your surroundings and be careful out there.
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