If You See Something, Say Something

Yesterday I started out on a bike ride. I rode past 4 young girls with backpacks and wondered what they were doing. It seemed they were directionless. I turned around and asked them if they needed help. They stated they were looking for a nearby motel. When questioned, they told me their parents were on vacation in Hawaii and they were vacationing here with relatives. They had a sleepover at a relative who went to work and told them to walk back to the motel. The story was fuzzy, and I felt something amiss. They stated they needed to get back to a motel downtown. I let them know that was quite far to walk and offered to drive them. We walked back to my house where I gave them water and snacks.


Yesterday I started out on a bike ride. I rode past 4 young girls with backpacks and wondered what they were doing. It seemed they were directionless. I turned around and asked them if they needed help. They stated they were looking for a nearby motel. When questioned, they told me their parents were on vacation in Hawaii and they were vacationing here with relatives. They had a sleepover at a relative who went to work and told them to walk back to the motel. The story was fuzzy, and I felt something amiss. They stated they needed to get back to a motel downtown. I let them know that was quite far to walk and offered to drive them. We walked back to my house where I gave them water and snacks. We drove downtown and they indicated they recognized the motel, so I pulled into the parking lot. They got out and stated they were going to go to the lobby of the hotel. They had $21.00. They asked if that was enough to pay for a room. I, again, asked them who they were to meet at the hotel and would that person have a room for them. They avoided the question. I gave them the cash I had in my purse so they could get some food. I expressed my concern for their safety, but they assured me they were ok. When they left, I called Stephanie, CEO of The Set Me Free Project where I volunteer. I told her this seemed ‘off’ to me, and she agreed. She suggested I talk to the manager of the hotel and give them a heads up. I did so and the staff and manager acted immediately. The staff at the front desk saw the 4 come in and then leave via a different door. The manager went out to walk around and see if she could find them. She found them. They told her they left home because their stepmother abused them. They had been gone 2 days and told her the first they had to eat were the snacks at my house. They were upset because the manager called the police. She had them come into the hotel and they were given water and food.


When the police officer arrived, he stated they were run aways and lived in my area of town. I went in to say goodbye to the girls. The one looked angry and I asked her if she was angry and that it was ok. I reminded her that they have my name and phone number (I gave it to them when they were at my house) and she could call me. I called Stephanie on my way home because I felt so unsettled. What if these girls were getting taken back into a bad situation? I know teens lie and run away but I also know there are many variations of how they can be hurt. She reminded me that I could have planted a seed that an adult cared. That might be helpful to them. I hope so. When I got home, I laid on my bed in a fetal position and cried. I needed to allow myself to feel my feelings and then “Let go and Let God”. One thing that came to mind when I originally turned around from my bike ride was “If you see something, say something”. That was the reason I acted. This is what I have learned from listening to meetings/events put on by The Set Me Free Project. I had no idea what I would/should do but felt doing nothing was not an option. If these girls came from a loving home and are ok that is wonderful. I’m still glad I acted.


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