She seemed nice enough the first time I saw her. A woman alone in her late 30s or maybe early 40s, looking confused and apprehensive as she wandered around a car lot one Saturday afternoon. I went out and introduced myself to her and asked how I could help. She immediately had that deer in the headlights look and said she didn’t want to bother me, she was just looking. I never wanted to pressure anybody when they said that, so I told her that I didn’t want to hover over her but I would be right over there a couple of cars away if she needed anything at all. And then I backed off.
Sure enough, within a few minutes, she asked me about the car she was looking at. I answered questions and asked if she would like to take it for a test drive. Again I get that deer in the headlights look, but I assured her that there was no obligation and that I wasn’t a pushy salesman. I was just there to help her in any way I could.
So we went for a test drive, and she told me that as a single woman shopping for her first car, she had heard all kinds of horror stories about how salesman took advantage of women shopping alone. I assured her I wasn’t going to do that, and my job was to help her find the car that worked for her. Then she said she didn’t need some of the options on the car we were test driving, including a sunroof, a fancy stereo system, and upgraded tires and rims because all she needed was something to drive between home and work. No problem, I took her back to the dealership and showed her the same model car without all of the bells and whistles that would cost almost three thousand dollars less. That was exactly what she needed, and she made the purchase. She thanked me so much for not being the typical aggressive car salesman she had heard so much about.
As I did with every customer, I waited a couple of days and then called her just to make sure that everything was okay with the car and asked if she had any questions about it. As it turned out, she did, saying she didn’t understand what a couple of the controls were for. I tried to explain them over the telephone and then suggested that if she wanted to stop back by the dealership, I would be happy to demonstrate them for her. She came by that very afternoon, and we spent half an hour or so together, and she drove off a happy camper.
When I came to work the next day, the general manager told me that she had called to compliment me and tell him what a great employee I was. That was nice. It was also nice when she called me to tell me the same thing. Then, a day or so later, I got a bouquet of flowers and a note from her that said, “Thanks for being a good guy.” I called and thanked her for that and for giving me an attaboy with my boss and reminded her again if she had any questions at all about her car, not to hesitate to call me.
Sure enough, a few days later, she called with a question, which I explained to her, but she asked if she could come by and have me show her how to do whatever it was she needed, and she did. Two days later, she was back again with more questions. Okay, some customers need a little extra effort after the sale, but I was always happy to do it.
I was off for a couple of days, and when I returned the receptionist told me that my girlfriend had called several times for me. Since I was single and didn’t have a lady friend at the time, I asked who she was talking about, and she told me it was the woman I had sold the car to. I laughed about it and said, no, she was just a customer. But the receptionist told me that she had more interest in me than just automotive, saying she had asked all kinds of questions about me, like was I married, did I have a girlfriend, and such. Okay, now this is getting weird.
That same afternoon the florist was back, this time with a bouquet of a dozen red roses and a heart-shaped card from the woman. I called her and thanked her for the roses, then said I hoped she did not misconstrue my taking care of her as a customer for something more and that the company I worked for did not allow us to have personal relationships with our customers. I don’t know if that was true or not, but it seemed like a good story at the time. She said she understood but was back again that same afternoon with more questions about her car. When I answered them, she hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, saying the world needed more men like me. Obviously the receptionist and my coworkers, who had seen everything, got a big kick out of that when I walked back inside with lipstick on my face.
From there, the pace picked up, with her sending me flowers three or four times, which I told the delivery person I could not accept, phone calls from her wanting to know if we could meet for lunch or if I could come to her house for dinner and her driving by the dealership over and over again.
I tried to explain to her that while I was flattered, I was not interested in a relationship with anybody at that point, that I was a single father, and when I wasn’t working, I was spending time with my son. A red flag should have gone up then when she said, “I know, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you. Travis is such a lucky boy to have a father like you.”
Although I was pretty sure I had not mentioned my son’s name to her before that or that I was a single father, I didn’t immediately pick up on that. Later, when I realized what she had said, I asked the receptionist and other people at work if anybody had told her about my personal situation, and they all swore they had not.
A week later one of my coworkers, a woman salesperson at the dealership, and I received rather large bonuses for our performance the month before, and we went to lunch to celebrate. About the time our waitress brought our meals to the table, that same woman showed up, demanding to know what I was doing there with Hilda, my coworker. Then she started cussing her out and creating a big ugly scene. Management made her leave, and then Hilda and I finished a very uncomfortable lunch.
By then, I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t realize how big the problem was until she started calling my home over and over again, sometimes 20 and 30 times in an evening. I even had my number changed, but within a day or two, she had it and was calling again. That was bad enough, but then things got downright terrifying.
My son was ten at the time, and a lot like a lot of children in those days, he was a latchkey kid. He usually got home from school a couple of hours before I got off work, and because I had neighbors who were good friends, I knew that there was someone there for him if he needed anything. One day Travis was playing out in front of our apartment with a couple of other kids when the same woman showed up, grabbed him, and started smothering him with kisses, telling him she was his new mommy. My son was obviously terrified and started screaming. The neighbors came out and ran her off, and I immediately came home and called the police and then filed a restraining order, keeping her away from my home, work, myself, and my son.
I thought that would do the trick, and it did for a month or so. Then she called me one night, slurring her words, obviously under the influence of something. She told me how I had ruined her life by rejecting her love and that she had drunk a bottle of vodka and taken a bottle of sleeping pills, and she wouldn’t be bothering me anymore.
As crazy as she was, I didn’t want her to die, so I called the police department and reported the call. They said they would send someone to her house to do a welfare check. An hour or so later, the officer who had responded to her house called me back to say that she was drunk, but there was no indication that she had taken any kind of pills. Her roommate said these kinds of theatrics were not uncommon for her. He also told her that if she called me again, she would be in violation of the restraining order, and he would take her to jail. By the way, this woman had a very prominent position with the University of Arizona, and he let her know that she could very well lose her job if she kept up her antics.
That was the last I heard from her. But about three weeks later, that same police officer called me at home, just asking if she had been bothering me anymore. I told him no and thanked him for getting her off my back. He told me I was welcome but said he now had a problem. She had just sent him a bouquet of flowers. I swear that’s the truth.
I don’t know whatever happened with that, but over two years later, when I was living in a town a couple of hundred miles away, I received a small package that had been mailed over a year earlier that had been forwarded to my last two addresses before it got to me. Inside was a keychain with a fob with my name on it and a note from my stalker, saying, “I still think about you sometimes.”
I don’t know if the hairs on the back of your neck stood up when you read that just now, but they sure did on mine when I read that note!
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.
Thought For The Day – Jellyfish are just wet ghosts.