A woman and her family had recently moved to a new duty station, being a ‘military family’. They chose their new neighborhood specifically due to its available activities for the kids, but the woman would soon become frustrated that it wasn’t just children using these facilities.
The New Neighborhood
The family’s new neighborhood was perfect for their needs. “We chose it specifically because of all the activities for kids (a huge centralized park with playgrounds, native desert, a swimming pool, and a skatepark)”, the woman wrote.
First Visit to the Skatepark
One sunny afternoon, the woman and her children decided to visit the skatepark. The experience was mostly positive, but the mother noticed some concerning aspects of their visit.
Unsettling Language From Teens
While the children enjoyed the skatepark, the parents overheard some teens and preteens using inappropriate language. It made the woman uncomfortable, but she decided not to intervene, assuming that the skatepark might be their exclusive hangout spot.
The Mysterious Older Man
However, the real source of their concern was a much older man present at the skatepark.
“He just creeped me out”, the woman explained. “I’m not sure how to describe it. He had pads and a skateboard but he only rode it maybe once every 10 minutes. But something about his look just seemed off to me.”
A Deliberate Collision
The situation escalated when the older man collided with one of the family’s children, an incident that the woman claimed seemed anything but accidental. Concerned for her children’s safety, the woman approached the man and angrily asked if he had children of his own. The man’s response was unsettling, saying, “These are all my kids,” in a creepy tone.
Requesting His Departure
Attempting to diffuse the situation, the parent suggested that the man might need to find a different hobby. The man’s response, characterized by incoherence and vague references to his “soul,” only deepened the unease. Fearing for their children’s safety, the mother firmly requested that the man leave the skatepark.
Initially reluctant, the man eventually agreed to leave in 20 minutes because he had to go to work anyway. The woman, however, insisted that he depart immediately, threatening to call the police. The man eventually complied, expressing a desire to avoid trouble. The woman suggested that he would easily avoid trouble if he found some ‘age-appropriate activities’.
Confrontation From Teens
Unbeknownst to the parent, several nearby teenagers observed the interaction. “They started shouting things like “Maybe your fat self should be the one to leave!”, calling me nasty names and so on”, the woman recounted. “I had also brought over a chair to sit on, and one of the kids had thrown it over the fence into the main park.”
Calling the Police
The events frightened the children, prompting the woman to dial 911 and leave the skatepark immediately. The family returned home, where they awaited the arrival of the police. The responding officer recommended that, in the future, the parent call the police promptly in such situations.
Upon hearing the incident, the family’s husband expressed anger, concerned that their actions may have labeled them as troublemakers in the neighborhood, and questioned whether the older man’s intentions were genuinely malevolent. The woman, however, emphasized her instincts and concern for their children’s safety as their primary motivation.
Asking for Advice
The woman headed online to her favorite community group, seeking advice. To her displeasure, she was berated in the comment section. “You’d never been to the skatepark”, one person wrote. “Sounds like the teens who were regulars at that park felt that the guy belonged there.”
Skating for All
Whilst not everyone thought the man was innocent, everyone agreed that skating was for all ages. “While I agree that dude did sound creepy, I’m in my 30s and just started rollerblading again”, another person wrote. “If a mom came up to me and told me to leave, I’d swear at her too.”
Another person commented on the mother’s ‘ageist’ attitude, accusing her of claiming that adults cannot have certain hobbies just because children enjoy them too.
Wasting Police Time
“It’s a public place and you’re trying to police it because you don’t like the way someone looks?”, an angry reader asked. “Maybe you’re the one who should hang out somewhere else. Dude just wanted to skate.”
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