In my previous article, “The Early Bird Gets the Sale”, I mentioned that I occasionally have to leave very, very early in the morning in order to make it to my breakfast meetings.
Regardless of the time of day, I caution anyone travelling alone to always be on alert and I’m not just referring to paying attention to the road, but also to your surroundings. I have to admit, this can be quite difficult in the middle of the night.
To all of my fellow salesmen and women who hit the road dark and early, this story will serve as a reminder to keep your eyes and ears peeled at all times, because you just never know what sort of shady characters might be lurking in the darkness around you.
One morning I had a 7am breakfast meeting which was a 2.5h drive from home. It was 4:25am, quiet and pitch black outside. I got into my car, and began to organize my “mobile office” for the day. As my car was warming up, I placed my laptop on the passenger seat and booted it up. I normally boot up my computer fully in the morning and then put it to sleep or in hibernation mode throughout the day so that I can easily open and close it before and after meetings rather than have to start it up and shut it down every time. As I was opening up all of the computer programs that I would use throughout my day, I organized my sales reports, notes and my agenda on the passenger seat. This whole process usually takes me about 5 minutes.
Once I had everything organized, I glanced at the dashboard clock, smiled and thought to myself “This is great! I feel awake and I’m on time!”. As I closed my laptop and sat back upright in the driver’s seat, I noticed something out of the corner of my left eye. Before turning my head, I glanced slightly to my left thinking maybe it was just my hair and there it was, the most terrifying thing I had ever seen…
There was a man whose face was covered in bandages pressed up against the window of the driver side of my car!!! I was so distracted looking at the passenger side of my car that I never saw him approach my vehicle.
I completely panicked! All I could do was start screaming and flail my hands in the air. As I was doing that, I was thinking to myself how disappointed I was in myself that I was that girl. You know, that girl in the horror movies that just gets paralyzed with fear, screams and then gets brutally murdered? I am an avid horror movie buff and I really thought that all of those years of watching horror movies would better prepare me for when I would encounter a real life boogeyman; I would be better than that and certainly not be that girl. But this guy looked just like Darkman! And it was the middle of the night!
Ok, “Time to suck it up Princess!” I told myself. I had to take action, so I immediately threw my car into reverse and backed out of my driveway at top speed. Just as I was about to back right out into the street without regard for oncoming traffic, I stopped the car abruptly and thought to myself, “Wait, he is trespassing on MY property!”.
I put the car into drive and drove back up to the boogeyman, lowered my window just one inch and screamed at him at the top of my lungs “Get the #%*$ off my property!!!!!!”
He then proceeded to calmly ask me for directions to a street that was on the complete opposite side of town and not at all within walking distance. He spoke as if there was nothing odd at all about his appearance or the fact that he just leaned up into my car window while I was parked in my driveway in the middle of the night!
I was so distraught that for the life of me, I couldn’t tell him if he had to go left or right so I just told him to “Get the #$&* off my property or I’m calling the police!”.
He walked away and I sped off. Pfewf!!!
As I sped off, I saw my neighbors lights go on. I found out later that apparently I screamed so loud from inside my car, I woke up my neighbors on the opposite side of my vehicle!
To this day, I’m not sure where the boogeyman came from: The local psychiatric institution? The hospital after a bar fight? Who knows! Regardless, I am lucky that he intended to do me no harm. Since then, I have installed motion activated lights in my driveway, a monitoring system and I have made it a habit to lock my car as soon as I enter it.
So fellow travelers, the take home message of this story is please be safe and aware of your surroundings. You never know if the boogeyman will come for you.