“I Was Followed!” a real life PDR Student’s Story


by Colin McNulty

This week Maxine, one of our recent PDR students, posted a message on Facebook that she’d been followed whilst walking around town with her daughter in a pram. That’s her on the right dealing with a reality based confrontation scenario. This was her Facebook message:

“Some weirdo has just followed me around town. PLEASE can everyone I know and care for just get signed up with PDR Manchester NOW!! Who knows what horrible thing I may have just avoided thanks to just 6 hours of training. Thanks Chris Worrall and Colin McNulty.”

Of course I asked her what had happened, this was her reply (my emphasis):

“Was wandering around the shopping centre, whilst I was in Thorntons I saw a guy with rather a lot of valentines gifts in a bag and I thought “that’s weird, surely he’s got enough, not chocolates as well” then I thought maybe I was just tight!!

“Went to pay for my car park ticket and someone came up behind me and spidey senses starting tingling, couldn’t tell you why. I then went to press the button for the lift and the bloke with large valentines gift followed me to the lift, “he’s not paid for his ticket” thought I. Social conditioning was saying “stop being silly, get on with your day“, spidey senses were saying other wise so I walked away from the lift to a higher pedestrian traffic area.

“He followed me again. I waited by some kiddies rides for him to go away. He didn’t. So I decided to walk out of the shopping centre to the front of the car park where I thought the security guard office was. He started to follow me out of the shopping centre but he wasn’t there by the time I got to the security office so I decided to get in the car as quick as I could.

“Might have done it differently if I hadn’t had the pram with me and I wasn’t wearing heels but we’re all in safe and in one piece and that’s the main thing. Thanks again for convincing me not to listen to my social conditioning :)”

After reporting that matter to the shopping centre management, Maxine was told that there’d been another incident that day where a woman had been followed into the car park and the man in question had been sent off my security, with CCTV given to police!

Hearing stories like this, especially when it’s from one of our students, always gives me goose bumps. The number 1 takeaway from this story is to always listen to your intuition, that little voice in the back of your head that says: “Something is not quite right here, pay attention!”

One trap you don’t want to fall into is to second guess what Maxine could or should have done. Could she have done things differently? Sure. Were there better choices she could have made? Possibly. But the fact remains that Maxine did exactly the right thing, for her, in her circumstances, with her state of mind, as it was on the day. How do I know this? Because an hour later she was home, safe and sound and able to post about it on Facebook, and that’s all that counts.

This is a fine example of what we mean by Personal Safety Training. Maxine couldn’t have done a “stun and run” tactic as typically taught in women’s “self defence” courses, because of the pram and heels, assuming she could have actually stunned the guy with one strike anyway.

Instead she followed what she’d been taught on our Personal Defence Readiness course and Detected and Avoided the threat before becoming embroiled in it. In doing so she never got to the Defend stage, or even the prior Defuse stage of a confrontation. She showed excellent situational awareness, then Accepted the situation, Challenged herself to act, and kept Thinking – which are the 3 golden rules.

Well done Maxine, we’re all proud of you!

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