Disclaimer: All of the following stories are true! Any similarities to characters living is probably because I am talking about real people in real stories.
(Oh, and this happened like, 3 Fridays ago.)
We have a few candy machines around the valley. Most of these machines were pre-placed when we bought the routes. One of these machines happened to be in a bar in a certain town in the far west part of the county. I'm not thrilled when I have to check this machine. It's a good old boy bar. Dark, drinking, old guys just sitting around telling dirty jokes. I only go when its absolutely necessary. Friday happened to be one of those days. I walk into the bar and immediately notice something is different. Our machine that supplies pistachios and hot tamales to the patrons was not in its usual place. I start doing a scan of the room. (Remember, it's usually a little dim.) My eyes are searching, searching, searching....what in the?! Is that a pole? Is that a stage? Is that woman...? Oh geez. Okay. They have done some remodeling - er - something like that. I find a proprietor and they show me where our machine ended up. Which is in a back room near the kitchen. They tell me they don't have a place for it anymore. Whew. No problem. We don't mind AT ALL. I did learn what an SOB license is for a place of business. (It's not what you think, no female dogs in this acronym.)
On a related tangent, if anyone would like a lovely candy machine in their place of business (preferably without an SOB license) - let me know!
Later that day...(as in 15 minutes later)
I am standing in line at a credit union ready to deposit my cache of quarters I had just acquired. Ahead of me in line is a young girl who at first I thought was just giving me the staaare. You've seen it. The look of a young'n who hasn't learned the social rules of straight staring at someone for long periods of time in public. Although, she did look like she was 11 or 12, I thought it odd she hadn't grown out of it. I did a quick check of my shirt, nope, no mustard stains. Zipper up? Yup. I give her a quick glance. She then begins to mouth the words (I'm not making this up) very slowly, help me.
What?! This time it is me who is staaaaring. Again, help me. This time she points with her eyes to the man at the teller window she is standing in line with. Oh geez. My mind racing with a million thoughts while I scramble for a phone. Abduction? Relative? Bank robber? I realized I didn't bring my phone in. The man in front of me did - he is on it. Tap on the shoulder, explanation of why I need to use his phone, NOW, and next thing I know I am on the phone with a 911 operator.
Meanwhile, the man and little girl is walking out of the credit union. My phone partner follows them out and gets a license plate number while I am trying to remember the street I am on to tell the operator.
PAUSE - Okay, can you believe this? Even while it was happening I couldn't believe it was happening. May I reiterate that this is a true story? Okay, you can push the play button...
The two drive away in a big red truck. The police were on it. As soon as they crossed the intersection and headed east, a cruiser was right behind them. Then, the truck makes an unusual left turn and cuts across a parking lot and starts heading north! Something had to up, right? They didn't get far. Two troopers pulled the man over. During this mini chase, I am still on the phone with the operator. She knows the truck has been pulled over and asks me to wait at the credit union for questioning. And I hang up with her. And wait. And wait. And wait.
It was probably only 10, maybe 15 minutes, but it seemed like 4 hours. I really needed to know if this was a legit "situation." Finally, an officer pulls into the parking lot. I meet him at his window, not giving him a chance to park or get out. Is everything okay? Is that girl okay? Was she in trouble? The officer sighs and seems relaxed.
So, here is what happened. The girl had gotten in trouble at school for graffiti vandalism the day before. Her parents were separated and her dad (the man she pointed to with her eyes) had just picked her up from her mom's house. It was here that mom told dad what a naughty girl she had been at school. Apparently both parents were pretty upset. When she visits dad, it is usually a fun weekend of Nintendo, movies and other things she doesn't do at mom's. She was worried she wouldn't be able to do those things. Furthermore, while the two police cars had her dad pulled over and were talking to him outside, she was on the phone with her mom telling her to call the police because they were being followed. (sink in, sink in, sink in....)
What a little manipulator! Are you serious? There was no abduction, no kidnapping. It was the strangest way to get out of trouble I had ever heard of! Did she think I wouldn't tell the police that she is the one who said help me? Did she think her dad wouldn't find that out? Did she think that the trauma of being pulled over and accused of kidnapping would make her dad forget the whole graffiti incident and let her play Donkey Kong after all?
The sheriff told me I did the right thing. Of course I should have called. I couldn't help but feeling little taken advantage of. I'm only human after all. I hope her parents include in her punishment a reading and analytical essay of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.