As I am a senior in college, I am in the market for a job. Today, I had an interview with an amazing company that I am very passionate about. The interviewers and I decided to meet at a Starbucks in downtown Charleston.
The school year just started, so I am extremely busy. I arrived at the Starbucks 30 minutes early so I could work on a few things of my own. I was sipping on my soy chai latte when a man walked up the stairs. Thinking it could be my interviewer, I looked, but the man was just a regular customer. He looked at me with intent and stared at me for a few seconds too long. It was weird, but I didn’t think anything about it. He walked passed me and sat at a table in the corner that was a few tables behind me. We were both facing the same way, so I couldn’t really see him.
30 minutes passed, and my interviewers came. Because I was sitting at a two-person table and there were three of us, we moved across the store lounge to a bigger table. We were having a riveting conversation about the company when I noticed that the man who was sitting behind me had moved to the lounge chair to the left of my table, facing me. My interviewers couldn’t see him, but he could see me. In fact, he was watching me. He moved chairs to come sit near me and listen in. I watched him watch me. He had no drink in his hand, and come to think of it, he had no drink when he came up the stairs the first time to sit down in the lounge area.
He sat there watching me for the entire interview. At one point, he pretended to read a newspaper, but never took his eyes off of me. At the end of my interview, I decided it was best if I walk out with the people I was with. When we stood up, I glanced at the man who was watching me. He had his phone out. He was pointing it at me. When I moved, his phone moved. It was obvious he was taking photographs or a video of me. I walked out of the building with my potential employers, and he thankfully did not follow. I checked behind me the entire way home.
A man I didn’t know was recording me having a conversation with a potential employer. I didn’t disclose any personal information with the interviewers, but that man knows the hours I might be working at this job. Was I supposed to let the Starbucks management know this guy was giving me the creeps? Was I supposed to call the police? I felt like I need to do something, but it all seemed like overkill. It was midday in a busy Starbucks in a bustling city, and I felt unsafe. What makes this man think he can stalk me? He listened to my conversation and recorded me. Are young women not allowed to feel safe in public? I am disgusted and outraged.
To all the college-aged women and other young women, be careful out there. Take in your surroundings, and look out for people who seem odd, even during the day. There will always be creeps.