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Old April 21, 2010, 02:04 AM   #1
Triple8
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Odd gas station encounter tonight

Pulled into an empty gas station tonight to fill the tank and left the motor running. Inserted credit card and selected the gas pump. A pickup truck cruised up next to my car and stopped. A young man called me over towards the driver side window and asked where the local tatoo shop is. It' s 10 pm and I tell him where the closest shop is.

He pulled forward 10 feet, then backed up to the same spot he was in and asked me if I could talk a minute. My car is a little loud so he asked if I could shut it off but I told him the battery is weak (I didn't want to talk really).

He tells me he's not Mexican but an Italian and laughs. He 's got blue ear lobe inserts and pulled up his sleves and showed me tatoos of "San Diego" on one forearm and "east side" on the right forearm. I asked him about the ear lobe inserts, he pulled them out and dropped them on the pavement. I then showed him the tatoo on my forearm (a dragon) and finished gassing up the car. He reached out his hand for a handshake so I stepped forward and grabbed his hand.

I told him exactly where the tatoo place was, and told him to take it easy. He reached out for another handshake which I obliged. He drove off. We were the only two vehicles in the parking lot for the duration of the encounter.

I got home and told my wife about the gas station meeting. She said I shouldn't have spoken to him. I told her that even though he's a stranger I should not be afraid and turn my back or blow him off with a short answer cause he seemed a little unglued. I wasn't armed but didn't feel any fear.

Made me think I should have been better prepared as I only had my car keys.
Do you think I was in any danger?
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Old April 21, 2010, 02:23 AM   #2
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You are always in danger.
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Old April 21, 2010, 02:47 AM   #3
Wildalaska
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There is something called being friendly to your fellow man. You can go through life viewing everyone and everything as a threat, or you can strike a balance betwen the need to be prepared and the duty to be cool with folks.

Some folks demonstrate inherent jerkedoffness and set your hinky meter off. Maybe you need to subtly prepare yourself. Good for you. Others folks do not demonstrate inherent jerkedoffness. Give him a dap, bro.

Read your hinkymeter in a mature, adult fashion and act on the readings and you wont need to carry three mags and a BUG

So is that why you compare tattoos with the homey?.

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Old April 21, 2010, 07:04 AM   #4
CWPinSC
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I don't allow strangers to approach me that close, nor to I approach them - especially in an uncontrolled place/situation as you were in. "Handshake" distance is "grabbing" distance. Prolonged conversations lead to tunnel vision which prevents you from seeing an accomplice coming up from your side or back.

You were unarmed, alone, late at night. If you didn't "feel fear", you should have been on a high yellow alert.

He mighta been legit, he also mighta been casing you to see how easy of a target d you would be for a mugging/robbery - and what you had to steal. You need to err on the suspicious side next time. The penalty for being wrong is too severe.

He basically blocked your car in. That would have set off warning bells in my head immediately. I would have stayed by my car and responded with a brief, "I don't know." to his question. I certainly wouldn't have engaged in a prolonged conversation at arm's length with him.

I've had people tell me, "You're not nice." or "You're not friendly." or "You're rude." I'm long past the point where stranger's opinions of me matter one little bit.
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Old April 21, 2010, 07:27 AM   #5
ncpatriot
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Use Extreme Caution

I too am an easy mark for people. Dozens of times, I've had the panhandler pick me out of a crowd. Some of us just have an innocent (or dumb, or sucker) look about us. I guess we should have more of a "warrior face". From what you describe, your situation had danger written all over it. Him pulling up and asking about the tattoo parlor, no problem. You gave him the answer, being polite and neighborly. His backing up and wanting to talk is suspicious, wanting you to come to his window, etc. If he had something real to talk about, he could have stepped out of his vehicle and come over, keeping a polite distance. Late night, all the more so. My city has all kinds of assaults starting from similar approaches. We also see email forwards about someone approaching women, that they dropped a $5 or $10 bill in the parking lot, then assaulting them when they open the window. I struggle all the time, as I am a very open and friendly person by nature. But thugs will take advantage of that. They can spot it a mile away. I wonder if your guy happened to see a cop car driving by that scared him off. He may have seen it where it wasn't in your line of sight.
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Old April 21, 2010, 07:56 AM   #6
Skans
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Bottom line - I don't like strangers approaching me, unless they are 70+ years old driving a baby blue buick needing directions. I don't always have a gun on me either, but if I see someone who looks like they are going to approach me, especially while I'm at a gas station, I'll generally have a knife or something around for me to defend myself.


In the scenario posted above, I wouldn''t have approached the guy. While I'm pumping gas, I'm usually busy cleaning my car out, checking the oil, or cleaning the windows. The guy is going to have to get out of his car and approach me if he wants to talk. Otherwise, about all I'm going to say is "Sorry, I can't hear you". If the guy really gave me the creeps - I'd simply stop pumping gas and leave, especially if I was unarmed. I often do keep my Glock 17 in my glove box locked. Creepy guy would have caused me to at least unlock the Glovebox.
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Old April 21, 2010, 07:56 AM   #7
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One of the things most people don't think about is simply that whe God put us together, . . . He hard wired us to be community oriented beings. We are not wired to be a solitary or hermit type, . . . but rather much closer to the flock mentality of sheep, cattle, etc.

That being said, . . . He also gave us a pretty good set of danger defining, dange sensing, inner abilities that we should never ignore.

Our wiring is interfered with by our society teachings that the policemen will save us, . . . there are laws against bad behavior, . . . bad things only happen to bad people, in bad parts of town, . . . ad infinitim, ad nauseum.

Like the old saying goes, . . . if it seems to good to be true, . . . it probably is!

So also, . . . if it looks too safe to be safe, . . . it probably is not!

Listen to that inner voice, . . . be cautious, . . . but at the same time, . . . don't allow yourself to become a hermit. You only have one life, enjoy it to the fullest. Some of the most interesting conversations I have ever had came from folks that were total strangers an hour before.

May God bless,
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Old April 21, 2010, 08:08 AM   #8
nefprotector
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There is always a Threat. May I recommend the Book, my Bible "Meditations On Violence" by Sgt Rory Miller. It is a MUST read. Yes its called a Martial Arts book. But Rory puts his way of thinking and preparednes in everyday life and situations.
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Old April 21, 2010, 08:19 AM   #9
Doc Intrepid
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I agree with the posters above...

On one hand a genuine threat exists in society; in the abstract it's present at all times, and to ignore that it exists is foolish. If you are ever identified as a target by a predator, events will occur rapidly...so remaining alert to any potential threat is wise.

Additionally, if you ever think about how you yourself would go about targeting one of the sheep to rip them off, etc., getting them to approach your position with some sort of friendly patter and a smile would be a decent way to reduce their anxiety and get them close enough that you can quickly gain control over them with a minimum of commotion. It's a pretty classic way of assaulting average citizens. Happens all the time.

On the other hand, assuming that every encounter is a potential assault in progress might be a tad extreme.

Somewhere between Opieville and Tinfoil hats lies a balance of rational vigilance, that allows you to be prepared against threats yet be able to enjoy a conversation with a stranger. I agree with Dwight55 that some memorable conversations have been held with folks who were strangers an hour before, and had I ignored them as potentially hazardous, I would have been the poorer for doing so.

You need to find your own balance.

FWIW.
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Old April 21, 2010, 08:41 AM   #10
old bear
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As others have posted we do have to be vigilant, but where do we draw the line between vigilant and paranoia? If I have to approach a stranger, say to ask for directions, I get out of my car, clear my voice, address the party by sir, then make a joke about being lost, all the time keeping my hands in sight. That being said his calling you over to his car appears to be strange or thoughtless; if this happened to me my alert radar would have been at a low alert, and the request to turn off your car would have raised it even more, yet everything came out OK and that is the main thing.
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Old April 21, 2010, 08:52 AM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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I'm with Wild on this one...

Frankly, the people who freak me out the most are the one who think they're "Polite, professional and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
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Old April 21, 2010, 08:53 AM   #12
ClayInTx
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I don’t shake hands with strangers; when they put out their had I ignore it, and also exhibit a “stand offish” attitude when they try to get a bit too “friendly”.

I used to have to travel a lot and many times had to stop and gas up late at night. A few times I’ve cut off the pump after only a few gallons and left because I didn’t like what seemed to be developing. A side note is that when traveling at night I consider anything less than a half tank to be time to refuel.

I’m certain there are many persons I’ve met who believe I’m an absolute ass and that’s alright with me because their friendship doesn’t pay me a dime and getting chubby just might cost me.
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Old April 21, 2010, 09:06 AM   #13
misnomerga
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It is uncanny but everyone who has ever approached me in a gas station has always been looking for monetary assistance. On more than one occasion I have spotted them some gas. I never give money. Each and every time though my alert radar goes way up and I always try to size up who is approaching me. I try to have my head on a swivel and that is true when I pump gas as well. I don't believe I would have engaged in conversation with the driver in the OP's scenario. I would be on full alert and would have at least had my knife at ready. Late night at a gas station pumping gas is not the most optimum time to strike up a conversation but more conducive to something bad happening. Come to think of it could him showing you his tattoos have been meant as a sort of intimidation technique where the tats represented gang membership. By your not acknowledging it you may have very well dodged one.
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Old April 21, 2010, 09:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Frankly, the people who freak me out the most are the one who think they're "Polite, professional and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
I agree with both you and Wild, but isn't that quote an epitome of your (our) point of view?
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Old April 21, 2010, 09:23 AM   #15
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I wasn't aware that I had a hinkymeter until WA pointed it out to me, but I think it was out of the green and into the yellow reading your story, but at least it didn't hit the red.

I personally think it is a bit presumptuous, if not outright rude, to ask someone to inconvenience themselves to do me a favor. Like someone else said, if I am asking directions, I do it in a polite way rather than asking someone to stop what they are doing and come to my car so I don't have to bother getting out to accept their assistance. Dropping anything on the pavement could easily be an attempt at distraction and redirection. Shaking hands inappropriately, without getting out of the car, multiple times, could easily be an attempt to get someone within striking distance with a hand occupied.

I am glad this turned out OK, but it sure doesn't smell right. Besides ill will, though, I try to remember that people under the influence of various substances exhibit unconventional behaviors, as well. He might have been high but harmless. Think back over things and I am sure you will find ways you could have made yourself less vulnerable but still not been needlessly rude.
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Old April 21, 2010, 09:35 AM   #16
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRANGL
I agree with both you and Wild, but isn't that quote an epitome of your (our) point of view?
Not my life it's not.

I do not and will not go through life wondering if everyone that I meet has violence in mind for me, and I certainly have no violence in mind for them.

I am aware and not naive but I also understand reality. Every person that I have ever personally known, every single one, has gone through life without having to shoot anyone outside of war. No one that I have ever known has been mugged, beaten, car jacked or had their home invaded, not one single person.

Yet, I carry a gun. Why? Because I can and I want to. I fully expect to die at a good, ripe old age without ever having fired my gun in anger. Further, I expect to die having never even thought that I MIGHT need to fire my gun in anger. I also realize that, by odds of better than 99%, if anything at all kills me before that ripe, old age it will be disease or accident.

I've been approached by strange people at strange times and strange places. Oddly, not one single time, whether I was armed or not, have I felt that I was in danger and I have never been attacked, threatened or intimidated. Such is the universal experience of every person that I have ever personally known. As such, I see no need to have a plan to kill anyone at all, ever.
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Old April 21, 2010, 09:50 AM   #17
KLRANGL
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Well I agree with everything you just said Peetzakilla, maybe It's just a semantics issue then.
No worries
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Old April 21, 2010, 09:59 AM   #18
Firepower!
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Be friendly and be prepared.

How do you guys make friends if you dont bother talking to someone like you or in a class room or work, since everyone else is a starnger at one time or another.
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Old April 21, 2010, 10:05 AM   #19
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klrangl
Well I agree with everything you just said Peetzakilla, maybe It's just a semantics issue then.
No worries
My rant is not really directed at you. I should have separated and clarified my response to you from the rest of the general point.

Yes, I think we agree entirely.
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Old April 21, 2010, 10:18 AM   #20
doc540
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" He 's got blue ear lobe inserts and pulled up his sleves and showed me tatoos of "San Diego" on one forearm and "east side" on the right forearm. I asked him about the ear lobe inserts, he pulled them out and dropped them on the pavement. I then showed him the tatoo on my forearm (a dragon) and finished gassing up the car.



ijs
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Old April 21, 2010, 10:36 AM   #21
nscob
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gas station

Banger wanna be seems to have been sizing up the situation. Does initiation sound about right.

You will never know how close you could have been to the end of your time.

Seems real clear (gains trust,disarms with not Mexican statement,drops earring so you will politely pick it up for him,postures with tats, simple harmless requests to size you up.)

Glad your not another statistic of some everyday occurrence.

On the other hand maybe he was legit.
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Old April 21, 2010, 10:58 AM   #22
Skans
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Quote:
How do you guys make friends if you dont bother talking to someone.....
Here's my list of places where I have no intention of making friends:

1. Gas station, especially late at night.
2. ATM machine
3. Street corner where Begging Bum harrasses people.
4. Public rest rooms.
5. Any parking lot after dark.
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Old April 21, 2010, 11:03 AM   #23
TSR80
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Seems some rational thinking could have solved this one straight off.

Thug: "Hey, come over here for a minute"

Me: "Sorry, I can't do that."

Thug: "Hey, where is the local tattoo place?"

Me:" "I don't have a clue, have a good night."

Thug: "Ok, but can you come over here for a minute?"

Me: "Have a good night."

Anything he says after that I'm basically not going to respond to. I'm not going to stop what I am doing to fidget with this guy. If he wants to keep yacking that's fine, as long as he stays over there. I hope I don't offend him when I drive away when he's mid-sentence.
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Old April 21, 2010, 11:08 AM   #24
indykappa
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First of all, anytime I am at the gas station, I am on high alert. With that being said, I thought this situation was fine UNTIL the guy "backed up".

At this point, I think the small talk should've ended, and the OP should've gotten outta there post haste! Comparing tats is simply part of the body art culture. But most guys who rep certain neighborhoods/sides of town through their tats are probably gang members.

Asking me to approach your vehicle would not make me very comfortable. Even if the guy meant no harm, he made a few eitiquette/common courtesy violations

Glad you made it out okay
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Old April 21, 2010, 11:26 AM   #25
NWCP
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I carry concealed whenever I'm out of the house. That said I've found that I am a fair judge of people and my sense of danger is pretty spot on. You were probably in no danger. Just someone looking for directions. Being in California concealed carry is a pipe dream for most, but you do have non lethal forms of protection the state 'allows' you to possess. Tattoos and funky earlobes do not a villain make. The eyes are the real giveaway and body language speaks volumes. Worth learning to understand if you haven't already.
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