Last night I went to dinner with a friend from out of town. (It was Clinton Fitch, aka my TechMom Tuesday editor. This is not entirely relevant to the story, but an excellent opportunity for a plug that I shanâ€™t hesitate to take.)
We discussed mobile trends and the directions of varying operating systems well past sunset. (Surprise! I am actually TechMom in real life too.) At about a quarter to nine, we bid one another adieu â€“ Clinton headed off to retrieve his rental from somewhere in the nearby parking garage, while I headed clear across the mallâ€™s acreage to where Iâ€™d found an open spot to park my car, Zippy, hours before when the mall was still open and abuzz with retail patrons.
As I walked alone down the now quiet and dimly lit sidewalk, a white sedan pulled up to the curb beside me.
â€œExcuse me?â€ the driver inquired out from a rolled-down passenger side window.
I figured he was about to ask directions. In which case he was about to be sorely out of luck, as I am the type of person to point up if asked to go north.
Guy: Excuse me?
Guy: Do you like dogs?
I love dogs. They make me happy. But I wasnâ€™t about to share that tidbit of Tricia trivia with reckless abandon. Because, honestly, it was a weird question.
Me: Umâ€¦yeah, theyâ€™re all rightâ€¦
The guy reached behind himself, toward the backseat, and reached out toward the open window â€“ now holding what appeared to be a 2-3 week old yellow puppy.
Well that was not what I was expecting. Who drives around closed malls and tries to hand out puppies to passers-by?
Me: Aww, cute. I canâ€™t.
Iâ€™m not entirely sure what his actual prerogative was â€“ to give away the puppy, to show off his new best friend, ask where the nearest vet was? So I kept walking.
He called out after me, â€œIâ€™m not gonna hurt you!â€
I hadnâ€™t been concerned with that last option until you just said that, good sir. Now all I could think was STRANGER DANGER.
People trying to lure an unexpected someone to their car via puppy. Apparently itâ€™s a thing!
It reminded me of the video recently gone viral, featuring Joey Salads Stranger Danger â€œsocial experiment.â€ In the video, the host convinces young children to go with him by asking if they want to meet his puppies.
Granted, I am a grown woman in my mid-30s â€“ performing the role of adult on a daily basis. Allegedly successfully, too. And there were no children with me.
I honestly have no idea what the end game was. In the gentlemanâ€™s defense, just down the street a bit farther is the location of a vet. Perhaps he was trying to ask about finding a shelter in order to enrich the lives of newly discovered canine companions. Maybe heâ€™s home today regaling his friends with tales of the girl at the mall who was all weird about his dog question.
So a piece of advice: Get a better opening line.
I like dogs. Just maybe not out of a strangerâ€™s car next to a dark and deserted shopping center.