This is a subject that I cannot write enough about. It seems as though there are always new situations that arise to help me learn about being safe away from home, either alone or with others.
Last week while traveling for work I stayed in a very nice hotel in a good part of town with several people from the office and that always makes me feel more comfortable but I was quickly reminded to never let my guard down. After having dinner with a co-worker downstairs at the hotel restaurant we headed back up to our rooms, we were on different floors - hers was key access only. Just before the doors closed a man jumped on and when we asked what floor he simply nodded and never said where he was going.
When the elevator stopped on my floor, he got off behind me and immediately I felt very uncomfortable. I thought about what happened recently to my daughter and the blog post I wrote about her experience. I decided to wait by the elevator to see if I could hear him going into a room before I went to mine. When I didn't hear anything, I peeked around the corner only to see him looking up and down the hallway. I quickly pushed the down button on the elevator to go back to the lobby. When he came back around the corner, he was startled to see me standing there and I told him I had forgotten something downstairs. He pushed the up button and just stared at me. I was beginning to panic when his elevator came I waited until it closed and quickly ran to my room. After alerting my friend and notifying the front desk I thought about how I could have handled that in a much safer way.
First, I would not have gotten off on my own floor. I would have stayed on with her and called someone from the front desk to meet us. I also would not have stayed by the elevators, I should have immediately gone back down to the lobby and asked for someone to go back up with me as there was a strange man wandering the hall.
Granted what I did do was better than just casually going to my room and let him see where I was staying but I did not go far enough to protect myself. He may have just been lost but there is never a good reason to stay around to find out. She and I both had a bad feeling when he got on the elevator but we were too busy chatting and because we were together we felt a false sense of security. This was a great experience for me to heighten my personal awareness about staying safe no matter where I am or who I am with.