Recently, BuzzFeed shared real-life stories from people who found themselves in dangerous situations before strangers stepped in to protect them, and there was an alarmingly common thread between responses to the article. Mainly: Women began sharing times when good samaritans saved them from men acting very, very creepy.
Here are their stories:
Note: Some responses have been edited for length/clarity.
1."I was on a first date. It was actually the perfect date. The guy said absolutely everything right, we laughed, it was a great time. We order pudding, and this guy's whole demeanor changes. He says, 'So when should we tell our parents?' And I am confused. 'About what?' He says, 'The wedding date. I'm thinking March, April? What about you?' I met him 90 minutes ago. I say, 'Oh, if you were getting married, you should have told me so we didn't waste time on this date.' He continues to push."
"I interrupt and say, 'Hey, I'm not marrying you. Especially after one date.' This guy stands up, starts yelling and screaming about how I was leading him on, was I cheating on him, after 'all we've been through, how could [I] do this to him,' I mean, like full melt down. I'm so shocked.
My date tries to grab at me. I'm in a wheelchair and try to push away, but he grabs it, pulls me forward. An tiny elderly couple had been watching us. They both grabbed their canes, and came to our table, put themselves between us. She pulled me away. The elderly man waved his cane at my crazy date, told him he would call the police if he didn't leave the place this instant. Eventually, crazy date left, and of course didn't pay his half of the bill. The elderly couple wouldn't let me pay, so they took care of it. They took me home in their van. We realized they live only a street or two away from my flat. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers. I had Christmas dinner at their house 8 months later. We stayed in touch, even after I moved. They've both passed, now, but they were amazing people."
2."When I was 16, I was walking to work to at a golf course. I worked at as a waitress. It was on the main highway in a small rural town. A beat up old car stopped and the man inside rolled down the passenger window and started asking me for directions. I couldn’t hear him because of the traffic going by and walked closer to his car and put my hand on the car door. He grabbed my arm and tried pulling me in."
"This happened in front of my neighbor's house three doors down from mine. My neighbor came out swinging her broom and started screaming at the man and he let go of me and drove off. Pretty sure she saved my life that day."
3."I was at a park next to a hospital with my toddler daughter when two nurses who were out walking stopped and asked if I knew 'that older man across the park.' I said I did not, and they told me he had been watching my daughter."
"I got her immediately and we left and drove around the city for a good half hour before heading home just in case the guy tried to follow. Who knows if he was a creep or just an old man at a park, but better safe than sorry. That was over 10 years ago and I still think about those two women and hope they are doing well."
4."About 40 years ago in Los Angeles, I was having a drink at a quiet bar. There were two young women having a quiet drink by themselves. Two young men were insisting that the women join them. At one point, one of the young men went over the women’s table, picked up their drinks, and carried them over to his table."
"The women were understandably flustered. So I got up, picked up the two women’s drinks, and carried them back to their table. As I was standing there, the man looked at me for a five seconds but decided to just leave. I sat back down at my table."
5."A few years ago, my sister and I were taking the Blue Line in Chicago home from a friend's house around 10 p.m. We were chatting with one another. There was someone on the other side of the train car who was monologuing. Honestly, we weren't registering him, but then he started to get louder and my sister quietly said to me, 'He's yelling at us.' And sure enough, he was."
"He was calling us names, saying he was going to throw us on the third rail, very violent things. There were only a few other people in the car, so we got up close to the door so we could quickly get to a CTA worker or someone for help if he followed us at our stop. As we did this, he started to make his way down the aisle toward us, and then without a word, three beautiful hipsters with ironic facial hair used their three beautiful bicycles to block him from coming closer to us or exiting the train when we got off. They were heroes that night."
6."It was in a time when it was still relatively safe to hitch rides with truckers going the long haul. I was nearly home. One more ride. However I knew something was amiss when the dude stopped for coffee and didn't invite me to come in the rest stop with him. Sure enough, in the middle of nowhere, he stops the truck and comes after me. I ran."
"I ran and he ran after me. I lost him. Finally, when I heard his rig leave I slowly checked out the road. Another big rig came down the road. I flagged him down. I was still shaking and told him I'd had some trouble. He drove me to the bus station, paid my fare, and sat with me until the bus came. We didn't talk but with tears in my eyes I thanked him and made my way home. A stranger saved me that night. There aren't words to express my gratitude. I hope good karma blessed him. I've never forgotten him."
7."When my husband and I started dating, a friend and I went to the bar and a music show right next door. My husband (boyfriend at the time) worked at the bar and I knew all the employees, so I felt extremely safe. We got a shot and a cocktail (from a bartender who is friends with my hubby). We head down to the dance floor. This is where we turn into idiots. We put our drinks down on the side bar by the dance floor."
"We started dancing and having a great time. My future sister and brother-in-law show up, I give them hugs, then the next thing I remember is waking up vomiting next to my boyfriend. My sister-in-law filled in the blanks. After I gave them a hug, I went and drank some of my drink. When I came over next, I was super disoriented but they just assumed I was drunk. I told her I needed air, so I walked outside. A few minutes later she heard yelling. Her and my brother-in-law run outside. Some concertgoers saw two guys trying to lead me away and I kept saying, 'No, no, I need my boyfriend.' The guys kept saying, 'It’s ok, we will bring you to him.' Well, a patron who had seen me around and knew who my boyfriend was knew something wasn’t right. He started yelling at them and they finally left after some tense words. My sister-in-law called my husband. He took me home. I went to the ER about 6 the next morning and they did a blood draw. I had indeed been roofied. Had that gentleman not stepped in, I’m afraid I know what would have happened. I always pay attention to my surroundings, but this was a major lapse. Never again. So thankful."
8."The one and only time I ran out of gas on the way home from work, it was getting dark and cell phones were still rare. I was figuring out what to do when a van pulled up, the driver came over to my driver's side and they asked if I needed help. Cracked the window and said, 'My husband’s on his way' as the guy gave off major creep vibes. He walked away but reappeared at my passenger door, pulling on the door handle."
"Thankfully my door was locked. At that moment another car saw him, realized something wasn’t right and pulled over. He got back in his van and left. The two strangers let me use their phone and stayed until my husband arrived. I never got to thank them but am forever grateful that they cared enough to stop. Who knows what might have happened. I bought my first cellphone the next day."
9."One day while on the light-rail an older man was standing immediately behind a younger, teenage girl. Inappropriately close, to the point where the person was touching the girl with his body."
"My friend observed this inappropriate behavior (and that the girl was obviously uncomfortable and that no one was doing or saying about it) and felt compelled to help. At the next light rail stop, he shoved the guy out of the exit and onto the platform, stopping the man from his inappropriate behavior."
10."When I was young, broke, and going to school, I worked two jobs and often got home from my bartending job late at night. My neighbor Erik was a mechanic and had a second job where he worked the late shift. Our apartment complex was rough and not the safest, and the parking was really far from the apartments. Erik knew what time I got off work, so he used to text me when he was leaving his job and if he got home before me, he waited by the parking spots until I got there and we'd walk inside together."
"I'm sure he was tired after work just like I was, but he waited for me since I mentioned once that it made me nervous to walk from my car to my front door at night in that dark apartment complex. He was a terrible cook and lived mostly on microwave meals, so whenever I cooked dinner I'd try to make an extra plate and take it over to him as a thank you. I graduated, got into law school, and moved out of that apartment complex, but I still remember and appreciate him for looking out for me."
11."I used to walk to the grocery store a few blocks from my house. I saw someone behind me about a block from the store, but crossed the street and then didn’t think anything of it. When I got to the store I realized he followed me. He proceeded to follow me from aisle to aisle and 'browse' whatever aisle I was in, not grabbing anything for himself."
"I signaled to one of the store stockers (huge guy like 6’4”) that this guy was following me. He approached the man, who denied it, but then he went above and beyond and followed the man through the store all intimidating like, and made him wait in a different line, making sure I was able to check out and get out before the man. I hope that man got a raise. I’ve never walked home so fast in my life."
12."I had an experience where I felt angels were looking out for me. I was driving home from seeing my brother who was dying of cancer. I was distracted with worry. I stopped at a rest stop for a break. A man was looking at the map. A woman was finishing washing her hands in the bathroom. She left but then returned and said, 'Honey, my husband and I noticed you were alone and we wanted to watch over you 'til you got safely into your car. There is a strange man here with a camper in the parking lot ….we were concerned for your safety.'"
"Now, I am watchful for myself and others. I will always think of the kindness of this couple. I say a special prayer of gratitude for them every time I pass a rest stop."
13."About 5-6 years ago, I was in Nashville with my husband, my brother and his girlfriend. We were at bar downtown (as you do) and I needed to use the bathroom. On my way to the bathroom, I accidentally bumped a woman, so I turned to apologize to her. She was a tiny little thing. Before I could even start my apology, she grabbed my arm tightly and said, 'Please don’t leave me. My friend is in the bathroom and this man across the bar won’t stop staring at me. I’m so uncomfortable and scared.'"
"I immediately told her I’d stay and asked her to describe the man. My husband had come to find me and this young woman by this time. Once the man at the bar saw my husband, he BOLTED out the door. My husband followed but by the time he got to the street, the man was gone. I told her and her friend (who showed up right as my husband did) to join us, but they declined and profusely thanked us for our help. They wanted to go home, so my husband and brother escorted them to their car to make sure they were safe. I still think about that night every so often…I hope those ladies are doing well."
14.And finally, "I was 12 years old and in middle school. My best friend back then was named Cindy. Well Cindy asked me to walk her half way home from where I lived. There was a long, dark street that separated my home from hers. My grandma told me not to walk down that street alone and told Cindy that she shouldn’t be out by herself alone. Well, her mom was an alcoholic and didn’t pay much attention to her. I walked her home anyway."
"It wasn’t dark when I left but it got dark when I tried to walk back down that road by myself. I remember an old van pulled up next to me. There were about five or six guys in it. I could smell the liquor from the van when they opened the door. Something said run backwards and go on the opposite side of the street, so I did and I took off running.
Just as I was running, an old guy pulled up next to me and asked 'Are they bothering you.' I said yes sir. He asked where do you live. I said I live up the road by the over path. He dropped me off in front of my home and said don’t you ever walk down this road again by yourself. I said yes sir! I am 51 years old now and will never forget that old guy who saved me."
Have you ever been in a situation where a stranger stepped in to protect you from someone dangerous? Tell us about it in the comments. Or, if you'd rather stay anonymous, you can use this Google form. Your response may be featured in an upcoming BuzzFeed Community post.