Man's anonymous open letter to the woman he followed to her car will give you chills.
via Shutterstock

The feeling of being followed is scary for everyone, but when you're a woman, it's a special sort of nightmare.

We're told constantly we should spend money on cabs instead of public transportation after dark, we should always walk with a friend at night or jog with a friend in the morning, and we should turn our keys into weapons by white-knuckling them in our fists.

Out of all of the men I know, there isn't a single one who carries pepper spray, a whistle, or any other kind of protective device on their person at all times. That's why, when a man on Reddit posted a sort of "Missed Connections"-style letter about a woman he followed, people were quick to brace themselves.


The man, "u/Karlosmdq" posted the following:

We were walking in oposite directions near the new studient accomodations, you briefly looked at me and kept walking and a couple of seconds later I turned around and started following you, I notice the moment you realised that I was following you by how your pace changed, your shoulders squared and you grabbed your phone. That didn't stopped me, you just kept walking and I maintained the distance (some 50 feet behind you) pretending to talk on my phone, I thought a couple of times on closing the distance and introduce myself, talk to you, but I didn't, so you kept walking, throuwing glances to check where I was. I could also tell you that once you turned around the corner to the dead end street next to the motorway (the only one near the city centre were parking is not measured) were your car (and mine) was parked that if you had being wearing tennis shoes you would probably have started to run, but wisely you kept you pace in your high heel boots. I stopped by my car, yours was further down the street, and used my phone again, and I saw you taking a picture or video of my when you passed by my side in your car.

What you probably never noticed was the other two guys, the ones in the other sidewalk, the ones that pointed at you and started to follow you before we crossed the first time, you didn't notice how they looked at you or the fact that they seemed to be on drugs, or a bit drunk, or maybe both. You also didn't notice when you passed me in your car that they were in the corner of the dead end street, looking at you in your car passing by and then at me. You also missed the next ten minutes while I waited in my car for the police to arrive (that I called while you were getting into your car), the 15 minutes of questions that followed and me showing them the picture of the two guys that I took while I was following you.

I really sorry that I scared you, but to be completely honest, I was really scared myself, I'm no hero by any means and my instinct was telling me to get the f*** out of there, but you could have been my wife (she parks in the same street) or my daughter and I wouldn't fogived myself I something happened and I did nothing to stopped it.

(Belfast, 14 Nov 18, 4pm)

He later edited the post for clarity:

1. I shared this because the situation scared me, and if a similar situation happened somewhere else I wish that the situation is not ignored or shrugged off. Do I have any advice? Dunno, probably just this: if you think that you are being followed or that something is wrong, don’t wait to see what happen, call the police, call a friend, a family member, knock on a door or get into a shop, worst case scenario you’ll look a bit paranoid.

2. She was carrying some sort of briefcase alongside her purse and was well dressed, I think that the briefcase was what called those guys attention .

3. They seemed to be waiting for an opportunity, that was the main reason why I didn’t approached, I was afraid that I would sort of trigger them and offer a second target (still, probably wrong on my side, but in the moment that's what I thought).

4. I called the police because if those guys were trying to assault her, more than likely it wasn’t the first time and / or they would go for another victim, if it was a mistake worst case scenario they spent 10 mins talking to the police (no idea if they caught them).

5. I parked my car in the dead end street and was walking towards the city centre, she was coming from the city centre, obviously I didn’t know where she was heading, if instead of turning to the dead end street she had continued walking I would had probably approach her, or she would had reach another street that has more traffic and there are more people walking around.

Many people were moved by the story:

"lsweetie7" wrote:

My daughter is attending school in Belfast. She is an international student, out of her element, homesick, and going through some stuff, so being completely aware of her surroundings is probably not her strong suit right now. Hopefully not, but this could have been her. Thank you, even if she doesn't know.

"bluebayou19" wrote:

That's a good deed, friend. I'm a woman with two daughters. I hope someone would do the same for them, or me. Wouldn't it be nice if we all looked out for one another like this? Well done.

"Toasted_ravioli" wrote:

That was NOT an ending that I expected. You are an amazing person, thank you for keeping an eye on that woman. You probably saved her life.

However, some people questioned his method, as "TemporaryBoyfriend," asked:

Ladies, is there a way to do this without freaking the shit out of you? I like the idea of offering help, I dislike the idea of causing distress and becoming the creep.

"Jenthing" offered this approach:

I would personally be okay with being approached gently, with non-threatening posture (hands at sides, not in pockets, arms and face relaxed, normal eye contact) and having a man tell me what's going on. In this case a greeting wouldn't be necessary, just something like, "Excuse me. I noticed those men start following you, and I got concerned. Would it be alright if I walked with you?" And take her answer as is. If she says no, tell her to be careful and alert her that you're going to call the police (if the situation warrants it), and then stop following her/walking with her.

Regardless of his method, we're all glad she got home safely

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

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Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

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