Stranger Danger has been hammered into children's heads for decades, but whether or not they take it seriously is another matter entirely. Most people are perfectly nice (at least, that's what we'd like to believe), but sometimes a run-in with a particularly rude, unpleasant, or downright peculiar stranger can leave a bad taste in your mouth and make you say, "Let's not meet."
Here are some more of the internet's creepiest real-life run-ins with strangers.
From Redditor /u/StaringVoid:
A few years ago, I was renting a house in Northern California.... I got home from work one day in mid-winter. When I got out of my car, I caught a whiff of cigarette smoke. That was odd, as I had never smelled that before around that house. I didn’t see anyone nearby, so I ignored it and went inside...
I woke up sometime later, sure that I had heard a noise inside my house... I reached over to my bedside table and picked up my cell phone... The bright light from my phone’s screen and number pad blinded me.... Through squinted eyes, I could make out that it was 9-something.
There were a couple of seconds of silence before I heard loud footfalls as someone started running through the bottom floor of my house. I leapt out of bed and ran to the closet. They were already up the stairs by the time I had opened the door and stepped inside.... I heard whoever was in my house thunder down the hallway past my door and into the bathroom. That gave me enough time to open the attic access in the ceiling of my closet and hoist myself up.
I had just started to lift myself up when the person ran back out of the bathroom. My feet were barely inside of the attic when my bedroom door burst open. I heard footsteps run into my room and stop. When they didn’t see me in that room, they ran back to the hallway and into the other room, which just had boxes stacked in a corner, some weights, and a table... I guess they decided that if someone were hiding, it would be in the bedroom, because they charged back into my room and turned on the light. A moment later, the closet door was ripped open.
From my vantage point, all I could see was from about their knee down. They were wearing dirty blue jeans with frayed cuffs and worn work boots. After a few seconds of looking in the closet, they stepped away, and I heard a loud crash come from my room, followed by a scream of frustration and anger... [They] ran back down the stairs. I heard crashes and clatters as things were thrown around and furniture was knocked over.... After some time, the noises stopped. I started counting slowly. When I reached 1,000, I decided it was safe enough to climb down and call the police. The first thing I noticed when I exited the closet was the intruder had flipped my bed over. I assume in an attempt to find me.
From Redditor /u/ligamentary:
I was watching my daughter’s kids while she and her husband went out of town. They have a teenage daughter (let’s say her name is Alyssa). At like 3 am, I'm woken up by a weird rustling sound and look out the window and see movement. I saw a boy emerge from the bushes on the side of the house [and] a bike tossed on the lawn that definitely wasn’t ours.
So I went out on the porch, flipped the lights on, and said, “Can I help you?” in my classroom voice. The guy looked surprised but not nervous. He was wearing a letterman style jacket, but once I got a clear view of him in the streetlights, he seemed much older than my granddaughter. Gruff. And more wiry than athletic.
He walked up closer to the house and said, “Yeah, I’m looking for Alyssa.” I gave him a disapproving glare, [but] I’m thinking what must’ve happened is Alyssa knew her parents were going out of town, and maybe before she knew I’d be staying over told a secret older boyfriend to come over. So I said, “I’m sorry. Who?” And he said, "Alyssa. You know, Alyssa Lastname. This is her house.” I thought, he knew her full name, they must be at least friends.
I said, "You wait there.” He started to walk up, and I felt a sick burning in my gut. Instinct kicked in. I yelled, “NO. STOP. FREEZE.” Then readjusted and said, “You stay right there. This is private property. Don’t take a step closer. Wait. There.”
So I go in, and Alyssa is asleep just one room over from where the rustling first occurred. I wake her up and say something to the [effect] of, “I don’t know what the big idea was to have friends over this time of night, but you tell them to go home.” She has no clue what I’m talking about. I say, “There’s a guy outside asking for you.” Confused, she gets up and goes to the window. She sees him and goes white as a sheet.
“He asked for me?” “Yeah.” “By name?” “Yes.” “Call the police. I’ve never seen him in my life.”
I called 9-1-1 immediately, but as I was on the phone with them, Alyssa started tugging at my arm. “He’s coming up!” I had younger kids in the house to think about, so I kept the door latched... and yelled, “I asked my husband and none of us know an Alyssa Lastname. Leave my property or I’m calling 9-1-1.”
He got angry and started yelling for her to come out. Thankfully, the police came pretty quickly, and when he heard the sirens, he grabbed the bike and ran off. I watched where he was running and he jumped into the passenger side of a car without headlights or front plates and sped off.
From Redditor /u/Banluil:
[My dad] started working at various gas stations, and [since we lived in] a small town, the owners wouldn't care if I came there and helped him out with stocking the coolers, or even running the register, as long as I didn't sell any beer or smokes.
[In 1990,] I had just gotten my learner's permit, and my dad would let me drive him to and from work, just to get some experience on the road, both at day and at night. I was sitting in my usual spot at a table that was set up along the windows... I remember glancing up because... a lady was walking up our parking lot from the direction of the interstate... This in itself was really strange, because where we were located, you didn't get many people walking, and definitely not walking from the direction of the Interstate...
She came into the store, looked around for a few minutes, and I remember getting just a strange and creepy feeling about her. She walked up to the counter and started telling my dad a story about how she had gotten stranded and needed a ride up to the next big town up north from us (Ocala was the town; this is important). My dad lets her know that he's working, and there is no way that he can take her.
She turns and looks at me, and while she is looking away from him, my dad catches my eye and subtly shakes his head no. I was confused for a second, but then she turns back to my dad and points at me, asking if I can take her. My dad responded back that I only had a learner's permit, and wouldn't be able to drive her anywhere and then drive back. Normally, I would have done it, even though it was illegal, because I'd done it a few times before already.
I didn't argue with my dad, since this was completely out of character for him. He was normally chatty with the customers, but for whatever reason, he was almost curt and dismissive of her. Turns out, he had a bad vibe about her from the minute he had seen her walking up the drive. Well, she cusses him [out] for a minute, and he basically tells her to get out of the store. She slammed the door open, [and] I thought the glass was going to break from how hard she had slammed it... I keep an eye on her, and continue to watch as she makes her way back up to the interstate and then starts up the northbound onramp.
Almost a year passes, and I'm in my bedroom less than a week before my 16th birthday. I hear my dad yelling from the living room, "Son, get your a** in here and look at this!" I quickly run to the living room and see my dad pointing at the TV... [I] look at the mugshot of the lady up on the screen and immediately remember the lady who had been in the store.
Turns out I almost gave a car ride to Aileen Wuornos, who was later convicted of being a serial murderer and then later put to death. Still have nightmares about what could have happened.
From a Redditor:
In the second half of 1998, I had taken a job as a security guard at a plant that made locks. Being a kid, I usually worked one of three shifts: 4pm-12am, 7:30pm-3:30am, 12am-8am. The 7:30-3:30 shift was for extra coverage, so there were always two of us there from 7:30-midnight. It was a routine, boring job for the most part; we did our rounds, logged anything out of the ordinary, and watched a tiny monitor displaying the CCTV feed.
...By late March of '99, I served my notice and prepared to head cross-country. A new hire was brought in to fill my spot, a soft-spoken man named Calvin. As part of his training, Calvin spent time working at all hours... Most nights he worked with me and Ameerah, a female guard who was around my age (I was 18 at the time). Calvin, who was about a decade older, was quiet and polite, though something seemed to be missing. There’s a spark that genuinely nice people seem to have, and he didn’t possess it.
Whenever he went on rounds with me, he’d ask questions about the job and make small talk. I noticed that he was a little odd, laughing at odd times and changing his tone mid-sentence. At the time, I chalked it up to him being awkward. That wouldn’t last.
One night, near the end of his first week, he went on rounds with Ameerah. When they returned to the office, I knew something was wrong. Normally talkative, she [barely said] a word. Not sure what had occurred, I waited until Calvin [had] gone to the restroom to ask.
During their trip, everything had been normal until they reached the brass mill, a portion of the plant that shut down at 6pm. There were usually no employees there after that time and no lights. They were making their way to a checkpoint on a landing atop a flight of stairs when the mood shifted. She told me that she turned around only to find that he was right on her. Startled, she backed against the grating at the end of the landing, and he leaned in towards her, his face nearly touching hers. He flirted in a low voice and, when she mentioned his wedding band, he said it would be over soon.
From then on, I did the rounds, taking Calvin with me each time. The night ended without further incident, and I left a note for our supervisor detailing what had occurred.
The next night came and went with no Calvin. I did the rounds while Ameerah stayed in the locked office. Same thing the night after. Then, on my second-to-last shift, I come in to find her freaking out. She found out why Calvin hadn’t been at work. He had been arrested for murdering his wife. She had been dismembered and burned, [and] parts of her body [were] placed in a pond less than a mile from where we worked.
That night and the next, Ameerah called the jail just to make sure that they were still holding him. Based on the timeframe, he had killed his wife months before he started the job.