Stranger Danger at the Mall

Suspicious Dog

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 shan’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 – Clinton headed off to retrieve his rental from somewhere in the nearby parking garage, while I headed clear across the mall’s acreage to where I’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.

“Excuse me?” 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?

Me: Yes?

Guy: Do you like dogs?

I love dogs. They make me happy. But I wasn’t about to share that tidbit of Tricia trivia with reckless abandon. Because, honestly, it was a weird question.

Me: Um…yeah, they’re all right…

The guy reached behind himself, toward the backseat, and reached out toward the open window – 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 can’t.

I’m not entirely sure what his actual prerogative was – 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, “I’m not gonna hurt you!”

Well then.

I hadn’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 it’s a thing!

It reminded me of the video recently gone viral, featuring Joey Salads Stranger Danger “social experiment.” 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 – 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 gentleman’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 he’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 stranger’s car next to a dark and deserted shopping center.

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