What would you have done in this situation?

The other night I got home late, about 2AM on a weeknight. I pulled up to my townhouse and noticed a car, with lights, on parked across my driveway. There are parking spaces around the corner. Mine is a middle house of four townhouses in a row. When I pulled up the other car backed up and I pulled into my driveway. The other car immediately pulled forward again across my driveway. I can’t put my car in the garage because I am using it for storage (storage, hoarding, whatever). Anyway, I sat there for a second wondering if I should just get out of my car, open the garage and go in. (The front door is a flight up so I rarely use it.)

I look in my mirror, and Mr. Stranger has turned off his car and is standing next to it, talking on his cell phone. I cracked the window and called out “Can I help you?” He said, “I work for your neighbor (woman’s name) and I came by to drop off a hard drive but she’s not answering her phone”. Now while I don’t technically know my neighbor’s first name, I do know that she is a professional who lives with her husband and small child.

I shut off the car and sat for a minute, trying to decide what to do. Mr. Stranger is not a scary type, about early 30’s, glasses, borderline nerdy, looks like he would fit in on the Dope. I made my decision (spoilered below) and obviously I am still alive and well and typing. However, this AM I told people my story and received responses from “Why didn’t you call 911?” to “You’re being paranoid”. I’m interested in seeing if there is a gender breakdown as to the responses.

What I did was:

I called out to him “I know it sounds crazy but would you mind getting into your car and driving around the block so I can get into my house? If your sister or girlfriend had a stranger outside their house at 2AM you would want them to be sure they were safe, wouldn’t you?” Being a totally harmless geeky nerd as he presented, he did as I asked and is probably blogging about the crazy paranoid lady as we speak.

It sounds to me like you were maybe being a bit excessive with the fear.

However, I can’t say that it’s not a reasonable precaution under some circumstances.

The fact that he knew your neighbor’s name, seemed calm and reasonable, and was able to immediately give you a reason for his presence (without any signs of nervousness that might indicate lying, I’m assuming) would all indicate that he’s, you know, just an average IT guy.

But I believe in trusting one’s gut, plus using common sense and being observant.

I probably would have grumbled at him about blocking my driveway, but I guess that depends on how the driveways are set up there (which I’m not sure of). I would have then gone into the house. I do also carry pepper spray and a knife, and I would have kept the stink-eye trained on him as I proceeded into the house.

I would have just gone into the house.

Something similar happened right before I was robbed, once. Very strangely similar. They seemed like “not the type” and seemed like they had a reason for being there. Yeah.


I voted for “enter the house” but I also have an addendum of “…after making sure my legally-carried Glock was accessible (but still concealed).”

Not all men are aware of how fearful (some) women can be in situations like this. Judging by your description of the guy, he might even have been shocked by your reaction. “Sure, if it were some dirtbag out here at this hour, that would make sense for her to worry. But me? I’m harmless!”

(For the record, I voted “I am male and I like your solution”.)

Him pulling back to block you from leaving your driveway would set off my spidey sense. Him getting out of the car after I got there would bothered me great deal.

I like your solution. Not over reacting and calling 911 and not under reacting and just going inside like nothing was weird.

I would be very apprehensive if someone blocked me in my driveway right after I pulled in. But then I live in a neighborhood that has seen its share of assaults, burglaries, car break ins and homicides over the last few years so that might color my perception. I don’t think calling 911 would have been an overreaction at all. I would have gotten out of my car because I’d feel vulnerable just sitting there in my driveway.

Seriously, what kind of jerk blocks somebody into their driveway? Who the hell is making a delivery at 2 am?

Also “enter the house” but with a Ruger lightweight compact (I have small hands). He had no reason to pull across your driveway and block you in. He might not have thought anything about it, but that would be unacceptable behavior even in broad daylight. At night, it seems to be setting up a robbery/rape scenario.

Depending on how cranky/suspicious/paranoid I was feeling that night, I might have gone for the 911 option instead.

I’d have likely called the police non-emergency number and asked the operator for his or her opinion. Then again, I’m the neighbor who calls the cops at the drop of a hat after midnight. Paranoid? Maybe - but it doesn’t hurt to check.

I’m responding to this before reading any responses to the situation (including yours). I’m a 27 year old female.

I would have asked him out the window crack to please move his vehicle because he is blocking my vehicle in (which depending on the driveway setup is illegal/obnoxious/potentially dangerous, although I wouldn’t have said that). If he agreed, I would’ve palmed my keys like brass knuckles, gotten out swiftly while locking my car door, and walked quickly into the house while he was moving his car.

If he had refused to move his vehicle at first request, I’d have said, “I forgot something at my friend’s house, would you please move your vehicle so I can go get it?” If he’d said yes and done it that time, I would have left and called 911 from the next street over, because by that point he’d be setting off my serious creep alarm. If he still refused, I’d have rolled up the window and called 911 then and there.

Why would he be dropping off a hard drive at 2 am? And if it’s some kind of business emergency, why isn’t your neighbor answering her phone? And why did he return to blocking your driveway, after pulling back to let you in?

I guess you did the right thing, but I would have followed up the next day by calling the neighbor and asking about it.

I like your solution. You handled that really well.

Your solution seems quite sensible for a normal woman. I would have just gone into the house, but I have no interest in self-preservation.

I admit I don’t know the layout of the driveway, etc., but couldn’t you have just gone into your house when you were “calling out” to him?

This is what I would have done as well. Ask him to move away from my driveway, and as he does so, zip into the house, keys and cell phone in hand. If he refused to clear my driveway, yeah, I’d probably call the cops. Who delivers shit in the middle of the night? Seems a little shady.

I would’ve just go inside the house, probably would not even think about the guy.

I would have just gone inside.

But then, I’m a city boy who has never lived in anything other than an apartment. I don’t care where you stop your car, so long as it isn’t blocking me.

He was blocking her. She pulled into her driveway and he pulled his car back across blocking her into her own driveway.

I think you handled it just fine.

Agreed. I mean, really, you’re blocking my driveway, let me in, then block me in? Why isn’t he blocking the neighbor’s driveway, and who drops off computer parts at 2am?

Weird crap like this deserves a call to the police. I liked your solution for getting into your house. I would have watched his ass like a hawk, though, when he came back.

If he had moved the car, and stayed in it, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.