Monday, May 18, 2009

*Your opinion please*

I really need your opinions. As I mentioned a couple days ago S3 and I were out of town for a sporting tournament. Something happened that completely freaked out S3 and I am a little skeeved too. Let me set the background for you. The tournament had 80 teams coming from all over the state. It was held in a nice suburb of Columbus Ohio. About 6 guys from our team went to the mall to check out the girls that were in town for the volleyball tournament. S3 and I ran into them around 4:30 and I told him he could ditch his old mom and hang with the guys, we said bye and I told S3 that I would pick him up at 5:30 at the same entrance we had gone in. (Remember, he is 14 ½ , 5’8” tall and an athlete, so I did not dump my “little” boy off. ) The mall is literally across the street from the hotel. So, he and the other guys wandered the mall, stopped in Spen-cer gifts to look at the trashy stuff, that most 14 year old boys talk about but haven’t seen, ate in the food court, and drooled over the latest famous athlete shoes at the trendy footwear store. When I arrived at 5:30 to get him, he was waiting in the entry way (you know the kind where there is a double set of doors before actually entering the mall itself) and he came right out. He seemed a little quiet but since he had such a hectic week, I figured he was just tired. I was wrong. When we got back to the hotel, he relayed to me, with a quiver in his voice and an ashen look, that something “weird” happened. He then proceeded to tell me that while he was waiting in the entryway, a man, and woman, along with a lady about 20 or 30 (yeah, I guess 20 and 30 look the same when you are 14) came in, walked past him, then the man came back OUT through the inner doors and asked S3 “what team are you with”? S3, was not wearing anything that said he played on any team, wearing a plain t-shirt and shorts, but he quickly answered *our-town*, without thinking that it was a big deal, and ordinarily it wouldn’t be….but then the man lifted up his phone and snapped a photo of S3, and walked away, back into the mall. No words, no good wishes et cetera. Now my first reaction was that it was weird. I thought, maybe, the guy had a kid playing in the tournament and he was wondering if S3’s team would be playing them, as we had one game left, but still, WHY THE PHOTO? On a camera phone. ..with no explanation. :/ It wasn’t a secret that this town was where many of the teams were staying as there were 4 hotels within spitting range of each other, so he could have been a local and still knew about the tournament. I have had so many different things running through my head. S3, is completely freaked out now, worried that through the wonders of the internet that this guy will somehow be able to find him. He has deleted all his personal photos on his F@cebook, and we even G00gled his team photos to be sure that no names were written underneath identifying the kids. S3 then started wondering about if this guy could snag a yearbook from *our-town*, which isn’t very big, and be able to find him through an online search. I thought maybe the guy had seen all the boys doing something wrong and he was going to report them to a coach, but the guy was COMING INTO the mall after the boys were being picked up (at different locations per their mom’s convenience)..so that couldn’t be it. Plus S3 said all they did was walk around and eat, and did nothing that would make anyone even really notice them. I then thought that maybe S3 reminded him of someone and snapped a photo, but who in the hell, in their right mind would take a photo of someone (right up in their face) without permission or an explanation. Is the guy a perv? I only wish that S3 had told me about it when he got into the car, so I could have parked and gone in to find him, unfortunately the poor kid was so freaked out, he didn’t say anything till we were back at the hotel. I truly don’t know what to think and would welcome any ideas any of you have about why someone would do this. I don’t mind telling you that S3 isn’t the only one a little freaked out..you can count me in on that freak out too.

11 comments:

Michele said...

Yeah, I'd be a little freaked out, too! I am inclined to think that since The Man arrived with others he is not a sociopath(sp?), deviant, or psycho. BUT, many times those "people" do fit in so well that no one really knows until it is too late.
Hopefully it was something harmless, but in this day and age, it pays to err on the side of caution.
I think you and/or your son should talk to the coach and school principal so they can be aware of any strange visitors, lurkers, etc., at the school OR at other game venues. Maybe this happened to others on the team? Maybe the coach can ask all the team mates if they had a similar experience?
You have already done the reactive stuff (removing photos and such), now is the time to be Pro-active and keep your son and all the other kids aware and SAFE!

preppyplayer said...

Hmmm. Too. Weird. If he was a perv, I think he doesn't have much on your son.

I know we raise our children to be respectful to adults and to some extent, bow to authority. I think that it is time to empower your son and give him the release to talk back to adults if need be. Such as, "hey I didn't give you permission to take my picture! Erase that right now or I call my parents and the police!"
Or, "Dude! What the Eff? Why are you taking my picture?"

I am not blaming your son. That guy was way out of line to take his picture. And, most of my kids would have politely stood by while it happened as well. I think we all have to go through different scenrios with our kids letting them know that there are times when they are ALLOWED to be rude to adults.

By the way, I would have been freaking out too. Though I don't think there is much he can do with a picture...

Athena said...

Whoa. Major creepy!

Your son reacted as anyone would - young or old. I don't blame him for not realizing the creep factor until after the fact. Poor guy.

So what could Mr. Creeper have been up to? Maybe he thought S3 was older and was being a butthead and trying to fix up the 20-30 year old (who may have been his daughter?)? And why no conversation? Did you scan the sidelines for him through the rest of the tournament?

It's sad what we've come to. Why can't things be like they used to?

Ina in Alaska said...

Well THIS is new!! I agree you should talk with the coaches, etc. and I agree, there is little liklihood this creep would ever locate your son, but you never know what people are thinking about these days!! WEIRD!!!

DD said...

Your poor son! I'm sure he didn't think of the reprocussions until after the fact, just as I would have. I guess the positive to this is if someone EVER tries to do this to him or to his friends again, they'll be better prepared for avoiding it or asking point blank what the person is up to.

eden said...

I haaaate adults like that .. think they have every right to do whatever they want to, to a kid. Whatever he was taking his pic for ... and I'm hoping it was just harmless .. then he still should have asked.

This happened to me once when I was 21, and working in an ice-cream shop. I wish I ran out and grabbed the guy, but was too shy I guess.

My gut instinct, OHN, is that it was harmless. My theory is, if there were a lot of players around, maybe some of them HAD done something wrong, and this guy was trying to find the culprits?

eden said...

I haaaate adults like that .. think they have every right to do whatever they want to, to a kid. Whatever he was taking his pic for ... and I'm hoping it was just harmless .. then he still should have asked.

This happened to me once when I was 21, and working in an ice-cream shop. I wish I ran out and grabbed the guy, but was too shy I guess.

My gut instinct, OHN, is that it was harmless. My theory is, if there were a lot of players around, maybe some of them HAD done something wrong, and this guy was trying to find the culprits?

She's A Rebel, She's A Saint said...

I'd be willing to bet that someone inside the mall (perhaps his own child) had a run-in with some boys that were there for the games. They called him and he was on his way in to find his child (or player) and the culprits. He saw S3, realized he could have been the bad guy, and snapped a photo to show the "victim" in order to make a positive ID. Asking what team means that the victim knew that whoever was doing what they were doing was also a player.

The whole thing would make me very annoyed and worried as well...but I have a feeling it was just a badly handled-spur of the moment thing than anything truly dangerous.

Comedy Writer Jerry Perisho said...

I think if we really knew how many video cameras, digital cameras and cell phones were snapping our photos while we were wandering around in public we would be shocked. I doubt that there will be any harm resulting from having your son's photo taken. It's a reminder that we have to live our lives on the straight-and-narrow because our actions are being recorded.

What is disturbing is the creep's offensive behavior. To ask the question about your son's team and then shoot the photo with nothing more said is frigging rude. There are a bunch of jackasses in the world and I think your son met one that day.

Deathstar said...

Could you go to the mall and post a warning on the community board about this guy taking pictures of young boys? That might give whoever do it the idea that it's not a cool thing to do and someone has noticed. Report it to mall security? Did any of his teammates notice anyone taking pics of them?

hope548 said...

I honestly don't think he'll be able to do anything with a photo of your son, but it would have creeped me out too. It was not right of him to take the photo and not tell him what it was for. Like the others said, adults are not always in the right and it's good that your son will be able to recognize that better now.