I happen to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon.) I tell you this because of an interesting thing that happened to me last week at church. You have probably seen the Mormon missionaries riding around on bicycles in suits with their nametags attached to their front pockets.
Well, the missionaries in my area asked me to get together with them last week at the church to help teach a guy who was interested in learning more about our religion. I agreed and got to the church a little early before everyone else.
As I was waiting in the lobby, a guy walked in the front door that looked “scary,” to say the least. He walked up to me and asked me who was in charge. Since I was the only one there, I told him I was. He then asked to speak with me in private because he needed to confess something. In my head I was thinking, “great, this guy’s going to tell me he just murdered someone.”
As I was trying to get him to tell me what he wanted to speak with me about…
An older church member that had just arrived walked up to see what was going on. The “scary man” (his official name now) again asked to speak with someone in private and the older gentleman agreed to go into a room with him.
I obviously wasn’t going to let the older church member go in the room alone with scary man so I followed the two of them in. As soon as we got in there, scary man asked to say a prayer before we got started and we agreed. However, during the prayer, I kept my eyes open, watching the guy’s hands the entire time.
It turns out scary man was riding around with his friend when they got pulled over by police. His friend had a series of tickets so the police impounded the car, arrested the friend, and scary man had walked to the church. The reason he wanted to speak with us is because he was looking for bus ride money to get home.
We ended up speaking with him for about an hour…
And ended up giving him bus money to get home. However, the point of this is not to tell you about being charitable. The point is, even though I was at church, I never took my eyes off this guy the entire time. Each time we prayed I kept my eyes open and I was watching his hands every moment. I was also sitting close enough to him to quickly react if need be.
You see, sometimes I’m out and about with friends and family and they’ll see me being cautious and they’ll make a comment such as “we’re at Disneyland, nothing bad happens here” or “we’re at an upscale mall, this place is safe.”
Of course that’s not true. It doesn’t matter if you’re riding the teacups or singing a song in church. Attacks can happen anytime, anywhere. So don’t get lulled into a false sense of security and don’t worry about your friends or family members who may laugh at you or tease you for being vigilant.
Also, there are a few other lessons included in this story too. For example, always follow the person into a room, never let them follow you. And never let someone leave alone with a person you don’t feel comfortable about. At first, scary man wanted to be alone in the room with the other church member, but I told him I was coming and just followed right in.
In other words, safety first and politeness second.