My moment of backup
After work (yay summer hours!) I headed over to the local Barnes & Naboo to take my time browsing and deciding which books to adopt and give loving homes to. During a pass by the front door I began to hear a conversation between a woman and one of the cashiers (also female, and young-ish, like late teens or early 20s). Words like "creepy guy" and "stalking" were said, so I slowed down and deliberately eavesdropped to see what was going on and if the woman needed any help.
Apparently there had been a man in the parking lot who had creeped out the woman's daughter (the girl seemed to be in her teens). He'd been acting strangely towards her, staring, and following her in a stalkery manner. The girl had found someone who took her to her mother (who was in a store at the time) and from there they had gone to see about calling the police.
The girl behind the counter didn't know what to do, so she got the manager (male, possibly 30s). The manager listened to them and said that they could call the police but as the guy in the parking lot hadn't done anything illegal he wasn't sure what could be done. I think he was familiar with the creepy guy but I couldn't hear well enough to be 100% sure. (As in "Oh yeah, that guy who hangs out in the parking lot." but again I'm not sure)
He was pretty good in how he handled it. From tone you could tell he was taking them seriously. He assured them that if they wanted him to call the cops he would and/or if they wanted an escort back to their car he'd be happy to do that himself. The woman ultimately said that she really just wanted to be sure that someone officially involved with the shopping center was aware of it and the manager said he'd take care of that.
At that point the woman and her daughter went to leave. This is when I hesitated because, at least so far as her encounters with the bookstore staff, things had been going okay. But then I thought that I couldn't really call myself part of the Backup Project if I didn't do anything when faced with a situation like this. So I went over with an "Excuse me?" and just asked if they were okay. They both said that they were and that really it was just the guy creeping the daughter out, but everyone they'd gone to for help had been wonderful about it. I said I was glad for that, and that it was a good thing that the daughter had trusted her instincts like that because those are just the kinds of feelings we all need to listen to.
They really did seem okay (the daughter wasn't giving off anxious vibes or anything) and they then went on their way. The manager went to go do his thing and gave me a "Thank you" as he passed.
The guy seemed to be gone when I went outside not long after. Which is to say that I did scan the parking lot and didn't see any guys so I assumed he was gone. It's possible that the mother had known that and that's why she didn't feel a need to push for the cops or an escort to her car.
And that's it. My totally non-dramatic story. But I did want to share because there was that moment of hesitating and then saying no, if I'm part of the Backup Project then I have to do something. So it does go to show that having this be a solidified thing really does make a difference.