“You’re gorgeous. Wanna go out sometime?”
Not offensive right? Would you go so far as to say it’s a compliment? Me too. But what if your daughter got that text? From someone she didn’t know. Who delivered food to your house. When she was home alone.
Feeling less okay?
Me too. I get a little less okay the more I think about it. Here’s what happened:
My daughter came home from school to a house with “absolutely no food,” none whatsoever. This was a full on emergency and she was in grave danger of starving to death. She has a car and my credit card, but still text-asked if she could order Uber Eats from a Mexican restaurant 2 miles from our house (who should definitely have a drive-thru). I said yes because it’s clearly all my fault if the house is foodless, and even though she’s 18 I still feel guilty for not being at home with a healthy snack. #workingmomguilt. I arrived home right after the food, and heard “so the delivery guy texted me this 4 seconds after he left — you’re gorgeous. Wanna go out sometime?”
I wasn’t sure how to react.
I might have panicked and started a verbal barrage of questioning that put us both far less at ease.
“How old was he? Did he say anything weird to you? (leading the witness) Did you order a drink? (roofie paranoia setting it. Wait, can you roofie food too?) Have you ever seen him before?” “Did you respond?”
She said he was her age (not like she saw his license or anything though, so who knows), she didn’t know him, didn’t respond and he didn’t text again (yay him). Well, first she rolled her eyes (confirming she’s definitely my daughter) and sighed “MO-OM”, then gave me those details.
But she was the one who brought it up: “I got a creepy text from the delivery guy,” so there’s that. And that’s huge. If your teen is bringing up something they feel angst about, it’s not a stone to leave unturned.
I treaded carefully as we talked through it. What he said was nice (she agreed). It’s hard to put yourself out there and ask someone if they’re interested in getting to know you and going on a date…BUT…and here’s where it starts to get murkier. He didn’t ask for her number. Didn’t ask if he could call or text her. He took her number from an on-line order she made without her, or his employer’s, permission. He knows her name, where she lives, the car she drives, her e-mail address, phone and credit card numbers. She didn’t give any of that information to be used for any reason other than a professional business to customer exchange.
I haven’t done anything about it …yet. I started to call the restaurant, but that felt harsh (she agreed with this too).
Really I want to sit down with him, have a cup of coffee and talk, not get him in trouble or fired from his job. I want to mom him.
I want him to understand it’s a fine line, and while he didn’t say anything wrong or rude, he did reach out in a way that didn’t feel good to her. It felt like an intrusion and an invasion of her privacy. I want him to understand that she hears comments, sees gestures, and feels stares all the time that are unwanted. That this isn’t unique to her, it’s pretty universal to women in our world. If he had an inkling about those comments and their frequency he might understand that sometimes, most of the time — okay ALL of the time, when someone orders a burrito, they just want a burrito.
And here’s where I really want to mom him, it was dangerous for him too. What if I called his employer? What if she did? What if she showed that text to her boyfriend or dad and in this scenario said boyfriend or dad flew into a protective rage and confronted him? Violently? He’s not actually in danger of that happening with us, but he had no way of knowing such. So he made her feel uneasy and put himself and his job at risk.
That’s not safe for him.
Am I making too much of it?
Possibly. But it’s a complicated world, and he made it more complicated by using information he didn’t have permission to use, in a way he didn’t have permission to use it. Line crossed. I wish I could say “lesson learned,” but unless someone takes action (uh, I believe that means me…dammit) that’s unlikely to happen.
Was it an innocent comment and invite? Probably.
Does that make it okay? Probably not.
Parents, what would you have done? I’m still on the fence about what to do, and I’m open to and seeking suggestions. *Seriously, please feel free to comment.
It has led to conversations about how to handle situations like that, and how to think before you act, or speak, about perspective, privacy, safety and boundaries; about taking your job and the personal information you may be privy to because of it seriously,
I may not know what to do in some (okay a lot) of parenting situations, or how to prepare them for all the tests young adulthood throws their way, but I do know being prepared and talking about ev-er-y-thing helps. So as you’re rounding the bend toward the school year it’s a great time to prep for young adulthood, and to talk about all the things. And if you’re the parent of a junior rounding the bend, it’s a great time to include SAT prep in ‘all the things’.
We can help.
If you haven’t registered for the June 1st test, regular registration deadline was May 3rd (late registration deadline 5/14). If you’re aiming for the August 24th test, Acumen’s next class starts July 29th…we’ll even let you bring a burrito.