Now you've crossed the line.

A few years ago, I posted this thread, about a customer who was Very Vaguely Creepy. I’m currently working a seasonal job at the same mall now, just to tide us over during the strike. So who should come along but that same guy.

There is, I think, something VVC about a guy who wears a faux-North Face jacket at all times, and smiles at all times in a way that looks as if it causes him pain. He also has a bad haircut, but that’s not necessarily VVC. Anyway, he seems to walk the mall every hour that he’s not at work (he claims to have a job, anyway). He’d say hi every time he passed by, and I would reply but not engage him. He comes off as high-functioning retarded, though who knows.

So a few days before Christmas, he comes by and hands me a Christmas card. I took it and put it aside. He left, and I opened it a few minutes later.

I forget the exact wording, and I don’t have it any more, but on the envelope, it said “For Rilchie, with the hair and the outfits and the boots.” Inside the card, the handwritten message was to the effect of “Seems like we keep bumping into each other. Maybe that’s something you should think about.” On the left side of the card, a Victoria’s Secret card was attached, with a notation that it was for $35 dollars.

I slapped it closed, and my first thought was “Poor [manager]. One of the first things she told me was that [co-worker] was being stalked by an ex-BF. Now this. She’ll probably hire only men from now on.” Long story short, the chief of security came by with another guard. They took a statement from me, got a description of the guy, and told me to call them immediately if he showed up again.

I had saved that bag of jelly beans, and the note inside, precisely because of the possibility that I’d need them as proof in a situation like this. Don’t know what happened to the card, but I called Mr. Rilch and asked him to bring the jelly beans at the end of my shift. He did, and we went to the security office and showed the candy and the note. The chief told me that what they’d decided was to have the guard standing by during my shift the next day.

So I showed up a bit early, and for about half an hour went about my business, all the time hoping that “Lenny” would, in fact, show up, instead of staying away for days or weeks until I let my guard down. But he did, walking by and saying hi as usual. Instead of replying, I waved to the guard, “Ruiz,” and he came down from the upper level where he’d been observing.

Oddly, Lenny just stood there the whole time Ruiz was coming down the escalator. I didn’t stay to see what happened, but my co-worker told me when they’d left. Later, the chief came by to tell me that Lenny had been banned from the mall, and that if he showed up again, I was to call them immediately. And that in that case, it would be a matter for the local PD.

So that was that. Only reason I mention it is, yesterday Ruiz came by, asked if I was okay and so forth. I thanked him, and then he said, “Did my boss tell you what he said?” Apparently, after some questions and answers, the chief asked him if he had anything he wanted to say.

“Is she married?”

“Okay, that was not the answer we were looking for. You are now banned from the mall.”

And that really is that. I hope. I have the security office’s number memorized, and I’ve told the staff of the two stores nearby that if I come running in and ask to use their phone, this is why. I’m just glad Lenny dropped himself in it so neatly. And that security, not to mention my manager, took it seriously. They’re probably concerned with the mall’s image in the community if something did happen; look at the Omaha situation.

Re: the title. My point is that the card would have been okay in and of itself. The message on the front was iffy, but forgiveable if he has a disability he can’t help. The message inside was a big red flag, though, and the gift card was the final step over the line. Even if it was not meant to be suggestive, if he simply thought of VS as a girl thing, not a sex thing, it was crossing one of society’s lines. I don’t care what disability he has, if he even does. They wouldn’t let him off for shoplifting, if he tried that.

Ew. No defensive explanations needed, hon, that guy is now more than Very Vaguely Creepy. That’s full on into Creepazoid territory, and I’m really glad your security force is taking it seriously. Not to feed your worries, but can you have one of them, or even a coworker, walk you to your car at night, just in case Creepazoid decides to “run into you” out in the parking lot?

Was there actually $35 on the card?

I hate wacko’s.

Sounds like the plot of some sort of bad movie, probably starring Robin Williams.

Of course we’ll never know if Mr. V. V. Creepy was a sad lonely, but ultimately lovable, man child with a complete lack of social skills, or a sad lonely sociopath who was about postal (mallal??).

I’m glad we’ll never find out, though.

I understand your position and feel you acted correctly, i.e. notifying the right folks.
But, did the security folks handle the matter in the best possible way?

If he is “retarded,” he probably doesn’t understand why he is not allowed in the mall anymore. That said, I can’t help but wonder what “Lenny” thinks about the matter.

WhyNot: I’m scheduled to work only day shifts from now on. I leave the mall by the front entrance, not through a garage or onto a side street. Otherwise I would ask for escort. And of course, I’m always aware of my surroundings.

Auntbeast, I have no idea. Security took the card along with everything else. 35 is an odd amount for a gift card, though, so he probably did put that amount on it.

Tapioca and Chief: That’s the thing, though. I’m not sure he is retarded. For a long time, I took his oddness to be diminished capacity, but now I’m uncertain, because of this. The messages were all perfectly literate, no misspellings or awkward penmanship, and they were composed fairly well. There are plenty of true-crime stories about people who were in the normal IQ range, but behaved oddly because they were mentally ill, or just twisted. Perhaps he’s just twisted. I mean, he always wears that jacket.

Another co-worker (not the one with the stalker) says “He’s a sociopath,” but I’m not sure what she’s basing that on. Wouldn’t a sociopath be doing better for himself than walking around the mall all day? She did say, though, that she knows him as one of the mall “ghosts,” and she’s never heard a thing about his being retarded.

Anyway, whether he understands or not is not my concern. If he’s disabled, he must have someone looking out for him, and they can explain it. Or lobby for him to be allowed back, if they can prove that would be safe. And if he’s not, then the banning was perfectly fair.

This isn’t necessarily true. Lots of people with disabilities are not hooked into the service delivery system.

That said, this is true:

Disability is not an excuse for bad behavior. It may be a reason, but not an excuse. If someone “doesn’t know better”, then the responsibility of the officials becomes letting them know better, and that’s what your security guards did.

I don’t understand why you’d even assume he was disabled. His actions come across loud and clear as “attempt to pick up pretty girl”. No “retarded-ness” on his part is required.

The bad haircut and the vaguely “odd” demeanor just say “loser”, not necessarily “disabled”. Lotta losers out there with bad haircuts and poor social skills.

And actually, I’m pretty sure Hugh Grant or somebody used just that method to pick up a girl in a movie somewhere–send her a cute card with a VS gift card inside it, she comes out of store laughing, hair all aswirl tossing over her face, conversation, and a date for later, ensue.

Nah, my vote is not retarded or disabled. Just unwelcome.

That’s really creepy behavior, regardless if he’s got mental issues or not, the banning and warning were entirely appropriate. Did security mention if there are others that he’d harassed in the same way?

Wow, just wow.

Will there be further follow up with the police? Do they consider that his banning from the mall means everything’s over and done with?

I can see this guy glomming onto some other poor woman someplace else, maybe a downtown shop or someone at the local library.
:eek: :eek: :eek:

What about family members, though? That’s really what I was thinking of. Don’t tell me there are families who will let a disabled relative fly free!

DDG: I was basing my assessment on his demeanor during the long period in which he only said hi, nothing more. It wasn’t until I got the card and saw how well he expressed himself that I started thinking that perhaps he doesn’t have any disability except a mental one. Now I’m thinking “loser” too. Just hope he’s not the dangerous kind of loser.

Mr. Bus Guy: Well, I asked and they said no. However, I could be one of many that he’s VVCed, but the only one to report him.

ivylass: Oh, I’m not basking in assurance that because he’s out of the mall, it’s over! I did report this to the local PD, but only in the sense of “This happened at the mall, so if I have to report something serious, you’ll know there’s a precedent.” They didn’t mention knowing him either, but that’s probably privileged info that I don’t get to hear. At any rate, I haven’t seen him outside or inside the mall since then.

Depends on what their level of ability/mental capacity is as well. If you have a family where more than one member has a diminished level of ability, then…yeah. Happens a lot, IME. Also, some grown siblings will shrug off any responsibility if someone seems relatively able to “make it” in society.

At any rate, I hope this is the end of it for you.

I agree with DDG. If he was handsome and charismatic and did the exact same thing, plenty of women would’ve been charmed by it all.

Though I suppose there’d be many women who would not.

Well, I’m married, so I’m not interested. I told him I was married, although that was a few years ago. And the card/gift card happened after a long period of absolutely no encouragement. Handsome or not, anyone who gives a Victoria’s Secret card to a woman he has nothing going on with, and regards hanging around the place where she works as a connection, is not charming.

Yeah… The message on the envelope wasn’t too bad, but the message inside was a little too suggestive and the card is over the line for someone you don’t know. Had it been a Starbucks gift card and an invitation to coffee, I think I might have been more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but this is no longer vaguely creepy.

Wow, nothing vaguely about that IMO. That’s waaaay creepy in my book. Even if the guy was good-looking. Still creepy.

And good on you for taking action about it.

Can someone fill me in on the Omaha situation?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that. I’m no expert, but I do study grammar, and I can tell you that the grammar of those notes didn’t sound natural to me.

Some loser wanted to get famous. Point is, it happened at a mall, and there was a lot of talk about how to keep malls safe, and what security can and should do.

If you mean the note I transcribed in the thread linked in the OP, yes, you’re right. When I saw the VS card and read the gist of the message accompanying it, I went right into this-is-no-drill mode and didn’t stop to analyze. I only checked the jellybean note to make sure the handwriting and signature were the same before handing it over. Still, it was all coherent. I mean, I knew what he was getting at; it was not like a justhink post or anything.

It’s in reference to the guy who shot up the Von Mauer and then killed himself a couple of weeks back.