Before we start sharing this important information that every person male or female should know I want you to know that this in no way indicates that Wal-Mart is responsible for the situation, it's just where she was when it happened and could happen anywhere.  I was so rattled by her story, I want to get it out to as many of people as possible, especially since it happened in our community.

You're shopping alone and your adrenaline escalates when you realize....you're being followed.  What would you do? If you're like me you'd silently freak out inside while keeping a calm, cool demeanor on the outside.  You'd want to tell someone, but probably wouldn't because you think you're imagining it or that the person you tell will think you're paranoid or crazy.  Luckily, she DID say something and the strange man did something that confirmed her fears.

While she did post her experience on Facebook, I am choosing to not use names because technically it could happen to anyone, someone you know or you, yourself.  It happened at the Wal-Mart store in Cloquet, but this could happen anywhere.  She was going around the store to the different departments picking up things she had on her list.  The man followed her everywhere she went, frozen foods, cosmetics, etc.  That left no question in her mind.  Especially when she noticed him standing around while she was checking out.  That prompted her (and here is the the important part) to TELL the cashier that the man had followed her for the past half hour.  The cashier called the manager to the front and when the man realized what was happening he fled the store.  Admission of guilt?  If nothing else, confirmation in the gal's mind that she hadn't imagined it and that she did the right thing by telling the cashier.  Wal-Mart was gracious enough to escort her to her car and help her load her bags in the car, but what if she had felt to embarrassed to say something or kept thinking he couldn't possibly have been following her.

She described herself in her Facebook story as a "perfect target".  Think about it, a woman alone with a cart full of bags that will be going to her vehicle and spending several minutes loading them in.  Plenty of time to wait for the moment when no one else is around.  Please, please, please, share this information!

BE AWARE of your surroundings!  I'm guilty of burying my face in my cell phone texting or reading emails and not paying attention to what's happening around me.  We need to watch out for ourselves. SAY SOMETHING if you feel uneasy!  It's better to be safe than sorry, you just need to trust your gut feelings and respect yourself enough to tell someone your concerns.  If you're wrong, no harm done.  LEARN WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF, whether it's carry mace (bear spray), take a self-defense course, shop with a friend and not late at night.  PARK UNDER A LIGHT, don't park far away from the door, especially if it's late or dark.  It's always best if you can park where the parking lot is well lit.

You always hear about this stuff happening in other parts of the country.  So, when it happens in our community to someone we know it comes as such a shock.  Stay safe peeps, that guy in Cloquet and others like him are still out there, don't give them the chance!