Today she was walking along and a police officer cruised by her three or four times before finally stopping in front of her and motioning her over to his car. He asked her if she had noticed that a guy on a bicycle had been following her for five or six blocks. She hadn't, and he told her that this guy was known to the police and not a good person to have following her. Police officer got her name and cell phone number, told her to take her iPod headphones out of her ears and walk to where she was going without dawdling while he went to "talk" to the guy on the bike.
She was disturbed by the whole episode, and made it quite clear that she didn't ever want to walk to tutoring from the bus stop again. I am disturbed too. The what-might-have-been is hard not to think about and I'm also more than a little pissed off by the fact that a high school freshman cannot walk three-quarters of a mile on a well-travelled small town street and feel safe. I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation, and yet here we are.
I sent an email to the city police station to thank that officer. Had he not said something to her, we never would have known and this weirdo who was following her (and how weird must he have been acting WHILE he was following her for the cop to pick up on it from a moving vehicle?!?!?) might have noticed the pattern of her walking along there every Tuesday and Thursday and made a move to hurt her. I don't know that officer but if I ever get to meet him, I might just kiss him. I shudder to think about what might have happened had he not been so observant and concerned for a young girl's safety.
I'll be changing her tutoring schedule so I can drive her from now on.