I realized today I need to be more careful. Even in places where I think I would be safe, like the parking lot of a children’s hospital. I think I was almost robbed tonight….but I could be wrong.
Today Brielle and I were at the children’s hospital from 7:30 am until 4:15 pm. Needless to say, it was a long day. When we were walking out of the building I was on my phone and I didn’t realize someone was approaching me until I opened Brielle’s car door. A women came right up to me and said, “I was trying to take a photo of your top and proceeded to take a photo.” She seemed nice enough and was wearing a scrub top, but it had a hole in it and she appeared a little disshelved. I thought maybe she was coming off a shift at the hospital. She then proceeded to take more photos and wanted to take a photo of the back of my shirt so she physically turned me and pushed my purse to the side so she could take a photo. Like I said, she seemed friendly enough, but my radar was up from the moment she started approaching me, because it was odd for someone to approach me like that as I was getting into my car. I told her where she could find the top, but she really wasn’t interested in listening, she was more focused on me turning around and her getting a good shot. This all happened very fast and I was starting to feel uncomfortable, as she seemed to be stalling like her phone wasn’t working right, and it was awkward, so I said I have my daughter who just got in the car so I need to start the vehicle.
I didn’t wait for a response, I got in and locked the door as I started the engine. At that moment her friend pulled up partially behind me, just enough so I couldn’t back out. They chatted for a minute or two, which was a little odd to me. But I stayed on my phone, purposely trying to ignore them, because I didn’t want them to engage me again because I was already feeling uncomfortable.
The next thing I know she is back and knocking on my window. I roll down enough to talk, and she says in a chuckle “I found out the story on the shirt, my friend has the same shirt and she says that a white girls shouldn’t wear that shirt”. And she chuckled. I kinda smirked or gave an awkward smile and said “funny”. But in a nice enough way because I just wanted to get out of there. I proceeded to back up, as her friend had now moved.
The whole encounter was strange. Especially her handling me physically. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a stranger to touch you in a parking lot, especially without consent. After I backed up and put the car in drive I went to my two Louis bags that I had with me to see if anything was gone. I thought, she could have easily taken something being that she was touching me, my purse, and my bag while turning me around and trying to adjust the shirt for a photo. Sure enough my cross body purse that hangs on my hip was totally unzipped. I don’t leave it open, because I keep my LipSense in a top pocket and I am afraid that if I lean over or the purse tips that they will fall out. Thankfully my wallet was still in there. I had it so wedged in there, it was hard to remove. My husband bought me the wallet for Christmas as a surprise and we weren’t sure it would fit in my purse. It fits the long way, but not horizontally. I had it wedged horizontally for some reason, so you have have to tug and tug on it to get it out.
I think these women were trying to rob me. I think she unzipped my purse and perhaps tried to get my wallet, but it didn’t come out easily. I think she came back to my window to insult me because it had been an unsuccessful heist effort on her part.
I felt flustered and discombobulated after the whole event. I kept replaying the short two minute encounter the entire hour drive home. I called my sister Rachel and she said, “yep I think they were trying to rob you”. Her advice- “Stay off your phone and be more alert in every parking lot.” Good advice.
Pepper spray. That will be handy next time too.
UPDATE: My husband reported this incident to hospital security the very next day. I was indeed a target. Security said it is a “band of women from Houston”. They had a problem with these women a year ago. Like the woman who approached me yesterday, the head of security said, they wore scrubs (to appear to be from the hospital) and were Haitian (I recognized the accent yesterday, as I lived in Florida for 12 years and we had a large Haitian population there). When they were last a problem at the hospital they were so brazen to even go inside and would take purses from ladies in various waiting room (when women would stand up to turn in their forms). They also took some purses from staff workers right out of the offices! Security now has the heads up that they are back and they are getting the Plano police involved.
Security was very nice (Justin even said they were apologetic that this happened) and they offered to walk me to my car each afternoon/evening. I was given a personal cell phone number to call.
I thank God I wasn’t robbed yesterday!! I think she got a pair of sunglasses that were on top of my wallet, but that’s it. No biggie!
Shame on these criminals for preying on women who have sick children!!! They obviously have no scruples, compassion, or care for other people. I hope and pray they catch them soon.
A SECOND UPDATE: Plano police called me to chat. They wanted more information on this woman, as she and her “friends” have been a problem in our Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, and Arlington hospitals for over a year. They go into hospitals and take wallets out of purses. They are very sneaky and try to appear to be part of the hospital staff by wearing scrubs. They have been doing this at local hospitals for over a year now. The Plano detective I spoke with said that they were collaborating with the other police departments trying to catch these women. He said they have lots of video footage, but have not been able to catch them. I will certainly be on the lookout for these women, since I know what they look like. I am hoping and praying that they catch them soon!
I had a pretty similar situation…I could feel that something was “off”, but couldn’t decipher it quite yet. We were at Best Buy, and I walked out with a new laptop, and my son was with me. I saw a figure appear out of a shadow…told my son to get in the car, and I shielded myself with the door. The man was mumbling under his breath and asked if I could give him some money. I had no cash with me, and I was luckily able to say no honestly. I think that, had I opened my purse, he would’ve robbed me. I got into the car pretty forcefully and then realize he had a driver in a car and they sped away. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but later realized the potential danger.
You were definitely a target too! Thank God you weren’t robbed. Situations like that are God’s way of making us more alert and aware, so we don’t get ourselves in a bad situation again. Parking lots are a vulnerable spot!
That’s so creepy. An nowadays you must be aware of is that they’re not also taking Picts of your child. I had a weird situation at Southlake Town Square where some foreigners made eye contact with my granddaughter. Luckily more people started coming to the fountain area and they walked away. However, they waved at her and smiled again. Some things I asked myself were:
Why didnt I call the police?
I took note of their height and features but why didn’t I take their picture?
It can be scary out there. I totally agree keep aware to stay safe.
It is especially scary when young children are involved! Glad nothing worse happened with your granddaughter. I am going to be more aware!