Tuesday, October 29, 2013

They Aren't All Bad, but These Two Were.

It was early 2009, I was living in a city going to university for mental health related stuff, living, working and doing a practicum in the downtown core. My parents had come for a visit, and were staying in a hotel. My mom and I had decided to go to a movie, my dad opted to stay behind and watch a hockey game on tv. It would have been fairly early, I think the movie started at 5:30 and it was a weeknight.

So off we go, only a few blocks from my place but it's winter so we decide to drive. Right beside the entrance to the mall where the movie theater was, there was a 4 level parkaid, we parked on the 3rd floor, went down in the stairwell and entered the mall. There was also an elevator option beside the stairs.

I don't even remember what movie we saw, but it ended and we made our way out of the theater and down the escalators to the main floor. Most of the other people had wandered off into other parts of the mall and my mom and I were basically alone riding down. As we approach the bottom, we see two presumably homeless people, they approach us as we're getting off the escalator and ask us for any change. We politely decline, both stating we had used debit cards (which was the truth.. at this point I was working very closely with the city's homeless population and had a lot of sympathy and good report with many). They aren't all bad but these two were.

Generally, that would be the end of the interaction, but I guess these two men had a different agenda. As we're approaching the doors, one of the guys says something like "yah, okay. liars!" We quickly walked out of the mall, intending to head back into the parkaid and nope out of there. We hear the door behind us, I look at it's the two guys and they're like, staring us down.. following us and generally muttering under their breath. They're really not far behind and I just look at my mom and I'm like, GO! As soon as we book it for the little foyer in the elevator area they're running after us.

We're in the foyer and I'm pressing the elevator button like crazy, it seems like it's taking for-freaking-ever and my mom goes, let's take the stairs! I tell her hell no, I had noticed when we went in earlier there were no cameras in the stairwell. Just then, I see the guy through the glass foyer door and he's slipped on ice, and is now trying to get in. The elevator arrives, opens and we get in JUST as angry panhandler gets in the foyer. I'm screaming for my mom to hit a floor button - any one, just get this fucking thing moving! He reaches for the elevator door just as it closes, I literally see his gloved hand damn near squished.

So in our blind panic, my mom had hit the button for floor #2 (rather than 3 where the car was parked) but this ended up saving our bacon, I think! So we reach floor #2 and we're full of adreneline, and ready to make a run for the car. It's 4 levels of spiraling cars, so we just start running up hill, searching for the car.

It seems like forever but it was probably only a minute or so until we find it, get in and lock the effing doors. My mom BURSTS into tears.. nothing like this has ever happened to her before. She is hyperventilating and I'm trying to calm her down. She eventually catches her breath and we begin driving out of the parkaid, and as we're passing the 3rd floor stair well entry/exit we see the other guy (not the one who chased us into the elevator but his counterpart) heading into the stairwell. That was the cherry on top.

So we get down to the part where you pay for your parking and my mom tells the attendant that there are two men in the parkaid area who are chasing people and causing trouble. The attendant's first language is not english, and he just keeps saying "I am not knowing, I am not knowing". We just pay, drive out, and see the first guy walking down the street, visibly pissed off and alone.

We get back to the hotel, call the cops, give descriptions and all that, and that was pretty much it. Never heard anything more. The worst of it was, we were two grown women, I would hate to think what might have happened if instead of us, it was two young people.

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