Have you ever been followed? It's such an unnerving experience. One I really don't enjoy.
Once I was followed on my way home from the pharmacy. It was dark. The other car from the parking lot kept making all the same turns. I drove through an obscure neighborhood, made a few quick turns and ditched him. I was praying and planning in my head... which house would I run to if necessary? My heart rate accelerated, I waited with the doors locked, and finally left when I watched the car drive by and not return.
In college I was followed on 2 separate occasions by young salesmen who sold magazines in effort to earn enough "points" to travel to their destination of choice. Sure, they're witty and charming at first. Until you tell them "no" and they don't like that answer and you can't seem to shake them. Then they become whiny leeches who follow you around dark campuses or on the way back to your apartment. You have to threaten to use your safety whistle, and then they call you 4 and 5 letter words and stomp off in a huff.
Today I was followed again. I wasn't sure at first... I thought maybe I was just being paranoid. The boys and I were shopping for groceries. It seemed like every isle we were in was the same isle one particular couple also wanted to be in. At first I assumed we were just systematically going through the store at the same time, and then one of them would kind of just show up as I was turning. A guilty look would follow and then they'd pretend to talk or look at a package of meat or seasoning or some other completely random food item. They had no cart... it was just weird.
I didn't want to upset the kids, but at the same time I was beginning to feel like a lionness with her little cubs. You just don't want to mess with a lionness.
Eventually, I checked out and right outside the door waiting for me... you guessed it... Mr. & Mrs. Stakeout. Unfortunately the van was parked right there. There was nowhere to go with my big cart of food, so I got it unpacked as quickly as I could, and then Mr. Stakeout started walking toward me. Ok, here we go.
He told me that they needed money for a hotel room. Without even thinking, I told him I was sorry, but I really didn't like the way they'd been following me around. He said ok and walked away.
Then I felt badly. What if these strangers were angels in disguise? What if this couple was really in dire straits and I was their last hope? What if God really wanted me to help them? I guess I just reasoned that if I gave them money, it would be rewarding them for following me around for a half an hour.
I'm conflicted. I don't know what I should have done.
I just know that I don't like to be followed.