It’s a regular occurrence at the grocery store: a parent and child stand in line waiting to pay and other shoppers comment on how cute their child is.
Nine times out of 10 this is completely harmless, but as a parent it’s important to be on your guard.
In rare cases this stranger may have ulterior motives for engaging a parent in conversation… which mother Amanda Cropsey Florczykowski knows all too well. Now she wants to warn other parents to be on their guard.
Mother Amanda Cropsey Florczykowski was out shopping with her daughter in Longview, Texas.
“I got in the check-out line at a local store early afternoon. I took my daughter out of the cart and the couple ahead struck up the typical conversation about how ‘cute your daughter is’ and then asked about her age, repeatedly. I initially was understanding of what I assumed was a cultural barrier, but I quickly became uncomfortable with the woman’s body language and close proximity to my cart/kids,” Amanda writes on Facebook.
“I picked my daughter up only to have the woman ask if she could hold her. The woman was so close at this point that my toddler reached her arms around the woman before I could really respond. In an instant her proximity finally changed and she backed away. I grabbed back on to my daughter as the woman was saying, ‘Say bye to mommy’ — what an unusual comment to provoke a child to say. The woman resisted returning her when I physically pulled my daughter from her arms,” Amanda continues on Facebook.
“Know their conversation began immediately with me and this all took place over only a few moments. After this couple left, I was really shaken up but still noticed the man a few feet away in my peripheral vision, continuing to stand, by himself, with no groceries, in a closed check-out lane. He faced the opposite direction, but was looking over his shoulder at me; glaring would be an understatement,” Amanda warns on Facebook.
The man continued to watch Amanda and her child. She responded by staring back, talking loudly with the cashier about the store’s security staff and the suspicious couple. The cashier thought the couple knew Amanda, judging by their body language.
Thankfully, the mother and daughter were able to get out of the store safely.
When she returned home she started researching sex trafficking and discovered that some abduction techniques described her own experience that day in the store.
Amanda doesn’t know for certain what the couple’s intention was but felt that something bad was definitely going on. She wanted to write a post on Facebook to alert other parents to the warning signals.
Now Amanda wants to draw attention to a few things to be on the lookout for:
“Abductors often work in groups and position themselves throughout the store. Although it wouldn’t appear that these three individuals were shopping together, I am certain this man and couple were a team. ”
“This couple were of East Indian descent and the man was white and covered in tattoos — all were mid 30s. Beware no matter the color, appearance, age or sex.”
“The couple checked out with two items of little value. Something they could easily abandon.”
“The woman had alarming proximity to me at times and twice put her hand on my basket. She created one route for me to place my groceries, thus leaving my attention divided between my kids and my task.”
What an unpleasant experience. But I’m so thankful Amanda and her daughter could get away safely!
Please share this article to help warn other parents to be on their guard at all times. If it can help just one parent to keep his or her child safe, then it’s worth it!
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