On my vacation – I witnessed a grandfather and his granddaughter (About 8-10 years old) standing on the very busy road in Victoria, looking up at the buildings (Sight-seeing). He was completely oblivious to the fact that a tour bus was coming down the street until it was right up on him and then he jumped out of the way onto the sidewalk while the people on the street yelled at his granddaughter to get off the street. So 1., standing on the street – I don’t get this for one second. It made no sense to me, it was an incredible busy street right in the center of the city. and then 2., totally forgetting his granddaughter.
We were at dinner and across the room (Huge place) I see a man stand up and I could tell by his body language and the people immediately surrounding him that he was arguing with someone sitting at the next table. (I couldn’t tell who) There was a server with his hand on the mans chest trying to push him back and a couple of his friends talking to him (looked like they were trying to calm him down). The restaurant had about a 100 people in it at least, maybe more. Out of all these people, only the couple sitting next to us noticed it.
We were walking back to the ship when a lady steps out onto the street to cross it, not paying attention to the lights. Cars blared their horns at her since they had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting her.
On countless occasions I saw parents not paying attention to their children while walking around the streets. It was obvious they were on vacation like us and tourists. You’re on vacation, in foreign territory – and not paying attention to your kids? You don’t know what the crime is like in the area (Just cause it looks nice, doesn’t mean it is). It’s a tourist area, which tends to be high crime rate areas for kidnappings, muggings, and pick pockets.
While on the ship, I smelled fuel/gas on the deck – several people were around. No one said anything.
At the airport, standing in line, I noticed a bag on the ground that didn’t seem to belong to anyone. I asked around who it belonged to and it was a guy in line who just didn’t feel like dragging it through with him and just kept an eye on it. (He was about 6 feet away)
All of this made me realize that people just aren’t aware of their surroundings and on top of that, don’t speak up when they notice things.
The first incident was just idiotic on so many levels, but the 2nd one at the restaurant? People need to be conscious of their surroundings in public places. If a fight broke out, someone could’ve pulled out a weapon and most of the patrons would’ve been oblivious until someone was seriously hurt – probably an innocent bystander.
If you’re in unfamiliar territory, you should be even more conscious of your surroundings and pay attention to signs in the area. They tell you things you need to know! Pay attention to how the locals act in the area and try to emulate them to blend in. Keep your eyes up and sharp, a criminal looks for people who are in their own worlds and not paying attention.
And for the love of Pete – PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR KIDS. When we were walking, Jackson was always either in front of both of us (never too far in front) or between me and Larry. ALWAYS. Even on the ship. Maybe it’s the writer in me that has done too much research on missing people. Maybe it’s just my personality. But it seems like common sense. Is it paranoid? Maybe a bit, but it doesn’t take any extra effort to do.
When we were at the airport, Larry, Jackson and I were sitting at a table. The airport was super crowded and an older man in a walker asked if he could sit at our table with us. I said that was fine. (There weren’t any other seats around, I checked). He tried to make small talk but I had a bad vibe. He asked Jackson where we were from. (a common question at the airport, right?) And Jackson said “Arizona”. I gave the man a polite smile, but I also made it clear we weren’t having a conversation. Again, I had a bad vibe.
I reached my hands out to Jackson, and he came around the table by me. (I do this a lot when I want a hug or him to come stand by me for some love) When I did this, I turned my back on the older man (Larry was then between us).
A couple of things to keep in mind here. Most people would say “He’s an older man with a walker, probably harmless and just wanted to chit chat.”
This is true. He probably was just a sweet man who wanted to make conversation but he also could’ve been a pedophile, a kidnapper, and using the walker as a front. He could’ve been anything and that’s the point. I had no idea who he was. And the most important thing is my instincts were kicking into high gear and the hair stood up on my neck.
I think this is the thing society is torn over. We are constantly at battle with ourselves over being politically correct and listening to our instincts. Paying attention to your surroundings and acting on your instinct could save your life. It could keep you from being a victim of a petty crime.
Just because the people around you aren’t saying anything – doesn’t mean what you’re witnessing is ok. They’re probably just doing the same thing as you, assuming because you’re quiet all is ok.
Here’s a good YouTube channel on basic moves for self-defense (Things like how to get out of being duct taped, etc)
So here’s my suggestions – and if you have any more, please let me know in the comments!
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times
- When inside a building, make sure you know where all the exits are
- It’s not important to only have an eye on your children, but to have them in close proximity. Watch this video
- Educate your children on what to do in the case of an emergency
- Teach your children to respect their elders but also not to be afraid to QUESTION them and that it’s ok to NOT trust them
- Lead by example
- If something seems wrong, leave the situation or get help
- When in unfamiliar territory (Even a neighboring city) pay attention to the locals as well as all posted street signs
- LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS!