Let me preface this by saying I am fully aware that crime can happen, and does happen, everywhere you live. But let’s not kid ourselves, this State is literally known for the infamous “Florida Man.” If you don’t know who or what that means, it’s basically a reference point to every stupid, idiotic thing you can think of in the crime circuit committed by a man, or I suppose woman, in the lovely sunny state of FL. I don’t know if it’s the heat that get’s to people, the tourists, or just where our World is headed, but it feels like we got the best of the best down here. I mean right before writing this I read a story this morning about a man who was going around shooting a water gun filled with his own urine at passing strangers. WHAT??? Honestly as this point, if it isn’t committed by Florida Man, I am shocked.
I was raised by a strong father who didn’t want me to ever get caught off guard. He taught me to always be aware of my surroundings, to have my keys ready in my hand, and if something didn’t feel right to get out or away from the situations as quickly as possible. So several months ago, I was driving down 27 and heading to Wal-Mart. It was a typical Fl day, lots of traffic, and I saw that this car kept trying to cut me off as I made my way to the Store. Once I parked, he parked very close to me, which I was good and ready to tell him or her off on their driving. I get out of the car and it was a man, who approaches me and feeds me some bs line like “I saw you in traffic, you are so pretty.” Not only did he catch me off guard, but my blood that was boiling at this driver turned cold as ice as I felt like something bad was going to happen. I smiled and started to slowly jog past several rows of cars while calling my husband, in fear this guy would be waiting for me when I came back out. What I think was about to happen was that I was being vetted for human trafikking, and it’s a very serious issue right now in Florida. This didn’t feel like a friendly encounter, and I made sure to watch my back as I left with my items that day. He wasn’t there, but now I feel like I am being watched constantly any time I go to that parking lot.
I know that people are thinking “Why would anyone want to live in FL?” For the most part, you don’t know what you don’t know. Our first time around didn’t have near the amount of traffic, over development, and clearly over population. And most can’t just pick up and move, so you make the best of it. I think everyone here thinks “Please let it not be me” and goes about their day as best they can. Of course I get nervous when the bank down the road gets robbed, or I hear ambulances non-stop during the day. I do my best, I drive as careful as I can, and I try to make good choices on when I do things outside the home. I can tell you that I rarely head out on my own at night, and I am in constant contact with my family when I am out during the day.
Recently I had been running my favorite area… alone in my thoughts and trying not to die as usual. A White, unmarked van passed me, turned around about a half mile from me, and came past me again, this time slowing down. I reached in and grabbed my mace so he knew I wasn’t playing around. He sped off, just to turn around AGAIN in which I watched him as he drove by again- this time I was on the phone with my hubby. Craig came over and sat in his car and watched me while I ran until I was done. The pic I took to get the plate was blurry, so I didn’t have much to tell the cops even if I had called. I didn’t see him again, but I knew it was trouble since where I was running has nothing but farms around. I know of runners who have been killed in the Orlando area…its honestly a sick and sad day when you can’t just relax and go for a run.
My advice is to take it very seriously while living here, heck while you are on vacation as well. I can only imagine that Orlando as a whole is a thief’s paradise…just the stuff left alone in strollers in the Parks make me cringe. Also watch when you are in vacation mode and shopping here…so many in that carefree space that it can make you a prime target to be approached. Please be safe everyone.
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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!