Sometime between a Sunday afternoon nap, raking leaves from my yard and watching NFL games in my “man cave” yesterday, I received the following message from my friend Troy from Houston, an emerging author. I read it several times and immediately determined that it must be shared broadly:

Yesterday my wife and I stopped at a local 7-Eleven to gas up her car. The card reader on the pump didn’t work, so I headed inside to pay for the gas. While I was inside, a white male in his mid-50’s drove up in front of the car and got my wife’s attention. She rolled her window down and this man told her that she had a dent in the back of her car. She opened the car door and was about to get out as I walked up. She told me what the guy had said about the dent. I looked at the car and said, “What dent?” He got out of his truck, came and looked at the back and said, “My eyes must have been playing tricks on me.” Got back in his truck and drove off.

Why I am bringing this up is that this guy thought my wife was alone. And as many people are riding around with various dents in their cars, why would it be that important for him to stop and feel compelled to inform my wife of a dent, which if it existed, she probably would have been aware of already? She was targeted. My wife was a little taken aback, thinking surely this wouldn’t happen in broad daylight.  All it would take is a prick with a tainted needle, or a good old chloroform handkerchief over the mouth and she is rendered unconscious and easily moved into a vehicle. There was also another vehicle that was nearby that my wife observed hadn’t gotten any gas that could have also been in on it. I reported this to the local police department. I pray no one has fallen prey to this.

Ladies, if some random guy approaches you while you are in your car, telling you something is wrong or something that would otherwise compel you to get out of your car…DON’T! Thank them for the info and drive away. If that is not an option, call someone. Maybe it’s harmless, or just some guy’s lame way of trying to hit on you…but it could also be a predator trying to make you his victim. And be wary of the random woman too, because the people involved in trafficking can be male or female.

With all the articles about the number of black women and girls missing, this could inspire someone to target black women or change their M.O. to do so. They are counting on the lack of law enforcement attention and the absence of media coverage to get away with a crime that may take your mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece or friend from you. We live in dangerous times.  Keep your head on a swivel and ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings.”

The fact is that thieves, scammers and abductors are getting more creative and bolder nowadays. Consequently, when folks like Troy are willing to document and share their experiences, we are better to prevent ourselves from becoming victims. So feel free to email me directly if you have experiences and recommendations to share. Base on what I get back, I’ll consider doing a follow up to this article. 

Oh, and please share this one to others. Have a happy and safe Holiday season! 

© Terry Howard is an award-winning writer and storyteller. He is also a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Atlanta Business Journal, The Shenandoah Valley Hit,, The Echo World, the Appreciate You Magazine, The Valley Trail and co-founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers’ guild, and recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award. He can be reached at


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