Resident shares her close call in a local parking lot

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It’s easy to want to help those in need – but it can sometimes turn into a dangerous situation. One woman had a close call in a local parking lot and tells Shelby Rose the story.

Paula Haider was taking a casual run to K-Mart with her granddaughter Wednesday afternoon. They were just leaving the store when a strange thing happened. 

“As I was getting into my car, a lady pulled up on the passenger side of my vehicle, and mouthed ‘help’ or ‘help me’,” said Haider.

The woman walks up to her window and claims she is a victim of domestic voilence and wants Haider to go with her to buy groceries. Haider offers her McDonalds, then cash. She declined them both. As a last ditch effort, Haider directs her to resources for help. She said no to that too.

She said, “In my head I’m thinking, she doesn’t want food, she doesn’t want cash, and she doesn’t want resources. And so, this just didn’t make sense whatsoever.”

Haider is certain the woman was trying to get her to leave the car for whatever reason. But her gut feeling was telling her to roll up the window and drive away, so she did. 

Paula: “I’m very thankful that I was in a safe place, and my granddaughter was in a safe place when this happened,” said Haider.

But what if she wasn’t in her car at the time? It’s easy to get approached when you’re walking to and from your car to the store. Bismarck Police say whenever in public places, espeically alone, to be aware of your surroundings. 

“If you’re approached by somebody that makes you feel uncomfortable, listen to your gut feeling. And if it looks wrong, then turn around and go back in the store or go back to your car and lock the door,” said Sergeant Mark Buschena with the Bismarck Police Department. 

Haider says normally she would have helped the woman – it’s the North Dakota nice mentality.

She said, “We’re not in the habit of someone else taking care of someone in danger. We’re people that do swoop in and take care of people in our community.”

But she’s glad she went with her gut feeling and will certainly be more wary of strangers in the future. Haider did get a discription of the woman in question and filed a report with the Bismarck Police Department.

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