Here’s a weird story.

(I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Andrea, you don’t need to warn us anymore. We get that you’re a magnet for crazies and weirdos.”)

Okay, so when I was in my first couple years at university, I took a combination of the bus and subway to get to school.

(There weren’t any straight forward routes from my house because transit in my hometown kind of sucks. After two years, I figured I’d get a used car and drive the seven minutes instead of wasting almost an HOUR each way. Whew. Hey, I guess I’m still kind of worked up about what a lame route I had to take to school! Settle down, Beça!)

SIDENOTE: Yes, I self-talk using my last name, like a football coach or something. Now you know one more thing about me.

Anyway, my transition point between bus and subway was the main street in city centre, so there were always, always tons of people around. On this particular day, I was waiting to catch the bus back home after school. It was late afternoon on a nice, sunny day, and I was standing at a bus stop in the middle of the city’s core with close to 20 other people. I had my headphones in and I was just enjoying the nice weather and the good music (it was probably Tom Waits*). Everything was normal.

I noticed a homeless man kind of wandering around in my peripheral vision. He seemed like he might be a little drunk. His steps were heavy and calculated. I was mostly astonished by his size; he must have been six and a half feet tall, and he was broad. In fact, I may have been quite taken by him because he reminded me so much of Will Sampson from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

I love Will Sampson.
I love Will Sampson.

Okay, when I describe what happened next, it’s going to sound like I’m a complete idiot for not reacting sooner, but guys, I swear, it was like I simultaneously saw it coming and was completely blind to what was going on!

When I remember it, it feels like it happened in slow motion, and in reality, he was a pretty slow mover, kind of staggering around, so maybe I just thought “who would DO that?” and that’s why I didn’t switch into self-defense Andrea sooner.

I know, I know, at this point you’re like, “What the hell happened?!”

You’re thinking it must be something CRAZY for me to build up all this anticipation.

It’s not that crazy.

But it is weird!

Will Sampson’s body double got a little closer to me. Fine. I still had a safe distance. Plus, with all these people around, what could he possibly get away with?

Then all of a sudden, he was right in front of me, staring down at me. I may have leaned back a bit, but I thought okay, he’s in a sort of stupor, he’ll move on.

Then his arms were around my waist, and he was picking me up.

Like, literally, picking me up off the ground.

To carry me away with him?

To test if he could throw me over his shoulder?

To pack me away in his pocket?


I panicked a little bit and jerked my body around until he let go and my feet were back on the ground. Then I yanked my ear buds out and shouted, “No!”

“IT WAS A COMPLIMENT! FUCK!” is what he yelled back at me.

And I stared back, speechless. Because what do you say to that? Thank you?

He grumbled and muttered some stuff about me under his breath and continued on his way. I noticed I was shaking a bit. I looked around.


Like, hello? People? What if he had thrown me over his shoulder and started to walk away? Would you have helped me then? Jesus.

That’s when I learned:

(A) To turn my music down, lest an attacker (abductor? suitor?) get a little too close ever again.

(B) To be prepared to defend myself (with ninja skills and loud screams**), because counting on other people is maybe not a great idea.


P.S. On the plus side, as a fat girl, I always feel a little weird about anyone trying to pick me up, so I was pretty impressed by Will Sampson’s body double’s strength. Gotta say.


**Which are the Canadian answer to guns. When we kick an attacker in the groin, we also apologize. Sincerely.