Andrea was so passionate about her fitness journey that she started an Instagram account and racked up thousands of followers.
She was dedicated and posted a video every day to keep her followers interested.
But it was something her followers noticed in her live stream video that would have them worried and posting their concerns for her online.
Andrea McKinsey was a go-getter. She had just begun her fitness journey and wanted to reach a certain goal by the end of the year.
She decided to film her workouts and engage with like-minded people on social media. Although exhausting, she wanted to post workout videos every day to keep her followers up to date with her regime.
But it would be in one of her videos that her problems would start.
Doing Workouts Outdoors
Whenever she did her workouts, she always prepared a special area in her apartment. But some days, if the weather was favorable, she’d film herself doing workouts outside.
She loved filming at Venice Beach because there was always lots of activity and people around. But her favorite was the park, two blocks from her apartment.
Little did she know that the park would be where her issues would lie.
Andrea lived in a friendly neighborhood and although she was only 24 years old, she was friends with all the elderly people that lived there.
She always struck up a conversation with them if they happened to be in the park while she was doing a workout.
She saw them as her guardians, as they were always looking out for her.
A Safe Neighborhood
They were great people and Andrea felt a sense of safety around her neighbors and her neighborhood.
She never felt unsafe when they were around and they always respected her when she was busy filming and knew not to get in a shot or get in view when she was doing a video.
But on one particular day, Andrea would have the scare of a lifetime.
It wasn’t long before Andrea would encounter some weird characters when she was out doing her workouts. She was always aware of her surroundings but there was always someone watching her.
It made her uncomfortable and she would pack up her things and find another spot. It was to her relief when she spotted one of her neighbors sitting in the park nearby.
She felt safer and continued her workout. Until trouble would come knocking again.
Switching It Up
Most days Andrea did her workouts without any interference from anybody. She just minded her own business and hoped everyone else would mind theirs.
But on one particular day, she was about to do a special live stream for her followers. She decided to switch it up a bit and film in the early evening instead of her usual morning workout videos.
And this is where things got complicated for Andrea.
The Perfect Spot
It was a beautiful warm evening and Andrea thought it would be perfect to get a workout in the park near her apartment for two reasons.
One, she could always see the sunset and thought it would be perfect to get it in her video, and two, it was near her apartment, so if it was getting late, she didn’t have to walk too far.
She found the perfect spot and began setting up.
The Set Up
There was a slight breeze and Andrea loved it, it was like nature’s air conditioning, she thought. She rolled out her mat and packed out her fitness elastic bands.
Then she set up her tripod and attached her camera. She was feeling excited, she knew this was going to be a good workout.
Little did she know that trouble would be brewing all around her.
A Beautiful Evening
It was 4 pm, and it was still light outside. There were lots of people jogging and taking their dogs for walks, so the park wasn’t completely deserted.
Andrea felt relieved, she didn’t want to be alone in the park as the sun was setting.
She looked around and there were many people near her spot, so she thought it was the perfect space to start recording.
She pressed record on the camera and it was showtime. She started with a warm-up of jumping jacks and some stretching. She was in the zone.
She touched her toes to stretch her back and just as she looked up again, Andrea got the fright of her life.
There was a man sitting on the park bench directly in front of her.
Andrea was alarmed and she didn’t want to keep looking at him, but he was giving her a strange vibe. She felt like she wanted to cover up her body because she was wearing shorts and a crop top.
He was staring directly at her. She felt uncomfortable and felt the need to pack up her stuff and leave.
She definitely hadn’t seen this man in the park before.
She decided to just continue her workouts. What harm could he do? There were still lots of other people in the park and she didn’t feel a sense of danger just yet.
She turned her tripod the other way so that he was no longer in her shot. Then she continued her warm-up. She was having so much fun and didn’t want someone else to ruin it for her.
But then Andrea felt a chill crawl up her spine.
Gone With The Wind
All of a sudden, the guy had disappeared. He was no longer on the bench. Andrea frantically looked around her and saw how he walked off in the distance.
What a relief, she thought. Now she could carry on in peace without having to constantly look over her shoulder. He was ruining her video and it made her tense up.
It was not a good look for her followers, she thought.
15 Minutes Of Fame
With the weird guy gone, Andrea eventually started with her workout. She was just going to a 15-minute video. She didn’t want it to be too long, her followers might get bored.
And plus, it was slowly but surely getting dark and she needed to finish up before there would be no more people around.
She bent down to pick up her elastic band and as she turned around her blood ran cold.
The Phantom Menace
Andrea’s heart was beating a thousand miles per hour. The man was back and he was sitting on the same bench as before.
He was like a phantom, moving in and out of view without anyone noticing.
Andrea’s nerves were shot. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t want to make eye contact with him again but she knew that he was looking at her and watching her every move.
“Keep calm,” she whispered to herself. She ignored him and carried on working out. At the corner of her eye, she saw a flash.
Maybe it was her imagination or her mind playing tricks on her. She stopped and turned her back to him. She was breathing heavily and sweating profusely.
Had this man just taken a picture of her?
And then, again, another flash. Andrea had enough. She was going to confront this man. She put on her bravest face and walked up to him.
He said hello before she even approached him. “Excuse me, sir, but I’m busy shooting a video and I was wondering if you could please move to another bench so that you don’t get in my shot.”
Andrea wasn’t expecting the reply she received.
A Public Space
“This is a public park and I’m allowed to sit wherever I want,” was all he said. Andrea just looked at him. She admitted defeat because it was in fact a public park.
But she just couldn’t shake the feeling of unease. Maybe it was time for her to pack up and leave. But she still had more time left to record.
She decided to stay. It would be her biggest mistake.
Back At It
She pressed record once again and began doing some squats. Maybe this wasn’t the best workout to do when you had an audience like this weird man.
She switched up and began working on her arms instead.
She never felt so uneasy before, but she just kept going, besides, she had come this far and she was almost finished.
Angry Was An Understatement
“Three, two, one,” she counted. She was exhausted. She sat down and had a drink of water. She could see the man still sitting on the bench. He was just looking at her.
Clearly, this was entertainment for him and he came here for a purpose. This infuriated Andrea, she wasn’t here for someone else’s enjoyment.
She could feel her blood getting hot and she was huffing in obvious anger.
A Blatant Act
As she sipped her water, she managed to steal a quick glance at the man on the bench. What she saw infuriated her even more.
He had no shame, he was holding his phone up, pointing it directly at her. He was blatantly recording her.
This was going too far now and she decided it was time to leave.
Time To Go
As she was gathering her things, the man got up and was recording her every move. What was his problem? She needed to be fast.
She took her elastic bands and put them in her bag. She then rolled up her mat. She was breathing so heavily now, she needed to tell herself to calm down.
She just needed to leave as soon as possible.
The Perfect Angle
She was putting on her jacket when she noticed the guy get up and move as if to get a better angle of her.
She was looking him dead in the eyes. How dare he do this to her? He was wearing a cap low over his eyes. He didn’t want to be seen.
Andrea knew that she was in a dangerous situation.
She walked up to him again. This time she had fire inside of her and was ready to defend her honor. She steeled herself and thought about the possibility of him attacking her.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she asked him. He looked surprised. She could see he wasn’t expecting to be confronted.
Looks like Andrea had him just where she needed him to be. Afraid.
How Dare You?
“Why are you filming me? Do you want me to call the cops on you? I have their number on speed dial. One click of my finger and they’ll be here.”
“Would you keep your voice down, lady?” was all he could muster up.
She had caught him in the act and she could see he was trying to diffuse the situation.
“Just be quiet, will you? Don’t make a scene. I’m not filming you,” the guy said. Andrea couldn’t believe this guy. She had obviously caught him in a criminal act and now he was trying to deny it.
She marched back to her bag and grabbed her phone.
She furiously swiped to open it and get the number for the cops, when a big hand came and grabbed her phone out of her hand.
She Couldn’t Do Anything
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Andrea froze. The man was standing right behind her. She could feel his hot breath on her neck, telling her not to scream.
This was it. This was the end for her. She couldn’t do anything. She stood dead still as the man pointed his phone in front of them like he was taking a selfie.
He told her to look at the screen. She didn’t want to, but then he said, “trust me” and Andrea looked. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
Not Who She Thought He Was
The man was pretending to take a photo of them but he was actually showing her photos of another man he had been filming and taking pictures of.
Right behind a tree, mere inches from her was a man who had been stalking her every move for hours. The man on the bench was following him.
He was an undercover cop and Andrea had unwillingly become part of a huge sting operation.
Andrea didn’t hesitate, she grabbed her bag and pulled out her pepper spray. She ran after him shouting at the top of her lungs. She had never been so furious in all her life.
They eventually caught the guy as he ran and took him away. It turns out that he had been preying on women in the park for months.
It just so happens that the night Andrea decided to do her workout at the park, the cops had chosen to do the stakeout. Andrea was relieved. She apologized to the officer for being a pain but he was just grateful that they caught the guy.
Disclaimer: In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.