I was born in a small town. It sounds like the opening refrain from every southern rock or country song that you’ve ever heard of, but it’s true. It is a town where everyone knows everyone else and where no one locks their doors. It’s a town where everybody looks out for others, and it’s the kind of town where the city council meetings still open with a word of prayer. In a nutshell, it’s a town that’s about as conservative as apple pie. Now, I won’t go into details here, but I haven’t always been that popular in that town. Some of it has been my own fault, and some of it has just been by being the victim of circumstance. However, there was one day where I came face to face with something that should have been best left to the professionals here, such as the local law enforcement or the first responders (which, incidentally, everyone also knew on a first-name basis).
But let’s back up a little bit first. You see, I’ve always been a bit special needs, and if I’d been born a decade later (say, in 1990 instead of 1980), and I’m sure people might have said that I was a bit on the autism spectrum. I’ve always had trouble with social cues, and at the time that this even occurred, I wasn’t very popular with everyone in my hometown. However, that being said, I’ve always had a fairly decent writing talent, and on Labor Day 2015 that is what I was doing. I was writing. I was sitting at my father’s desktop computer and working on a blog article, to be precise. It was a fairly nondescript day, to say the least. I had started writing in the morning, and dad was not at home. He probably was helping my mother, who was in the nursing home at the time. I had probably started writing that day around ten o’clock Colorado time.
Now, if you ever get to know me that well, you will quickly realize that if there’s one thing that I have a difficult time with, it would be sitting in front of a computer screen. That’s probably one of the reasons why I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my writing talent. That’s also one of the reasons why I developed a habit of taking frequent breaks in between my writing to go on walks to a nearby park. Of course, I saw no reason why I should change my routine that day, so that’s what I did.
I remember that I took my first break that day from my writing at around 12:30 P.M., just after lunch. As I was walking down the long sidewalk that makes up the adjoining high school on the avenue next to my father’s house, I saw the park come into view. Now, my ordinary routine was to simply circle around the park and start walking back to my father’s house. When I did that the first time, the park was largely vacant, except I couldn’t help but notice there was a late-model GMC van parked on the furthest end of the park, just across from the elementary school. I didn’t think anything of it, and I simply just played it off as someone traveling through.
I returned back to my little corner of the house and back to my trusty desktop computer. The day was in full swing, and I got a few things accomplished. At 2, I decided to go ahead and step out for a minute once again. I returned to the park, fully planning on going through the same routine again. However, I have to say I did notice that the van was still there, and it didn’t budge an inch. It’s probably nothing, I thought, and I went back home. Little did I know. Little did I know, indeed.
It must have been about 4:30 or so when I came back to the park for the third time that day, and the van was still there, and still in the same place. Okay, I was really starting to get nervous now. Why was that van there? Was the driver of the van in some kind of trouble? I even approached the van and thought about asking whoever it was if they needed any kind of help, but I decided against it.
All right, so let’s fast forward to the last time that I went to the park for that day. I was walking down that long high school sidewalk as the sun was beginning to set on that Labor Day 2015 weekend. As the clearing of the park came into view, I remember thinking, surely that van is gone by now. Well, in the next split-second, I was in for a disturbing revelation: the. van. was. still. there. As I rounded the park, I begin to get some serious anxiety.
Needless to say, the walk back from the park was the longest walk of my life. As I walked down that long high school sidewalk, it might as well have been 50 miles instead of 50 yards. I only made it halfway down that sidewalk before I finally decided to call the police on that van. I just thought it was too suspicious to let go to chance.
I made it home, and I listened to dad’s police scanner to see what the police would find out. They did the usual routine such as running his tags, talking to him, etc., but I literally sat bolt upright in my chair when they said the man was a registered sex offender from a more populated area upstate. All I know is something told me to call the police on that van, and I now firmly believe that he was bent on trying to abduct a child. I hold my head up high, because even though I’m a bit special needs, I protected my small town on that day.