Technically, it’s Not Illegal

That’s what the police officer said to me a few weeks ago.

I met a friend for lunch at one of my favorite spots. We had finished our lunch and were getting ready to start our discussion of the Bible Study we were doing when the manager discretely came over and said to us, “Did you know the guy sitting at the table next to you?”  Neither of us did and the manager continued on to say that one of his employees, while delivering food to another table, noticed that person recording on his phone. To which my friend, K says “he was recording our conversation?” and the manager said, “No, he was recording you” (making that statement directly to me.)

Of course, we were full of questions and probably asked the same one over and over again, trying to find out what the heck he could have been filming or even why… going so far as to even ask the manager if he was sure.  Yes, the employee has the same phone and was positive the phone was in the record mode. The manager said that he observed the guy leave, followed him out and then provided me with the license plate number and the model of the car as well as a general description of the guy.

As the conversation went on I got more and more shaky and uncomfortable. K and I wrapped up the conversation with the manager and I headed to the police station to file a report.  After giving the details of the incident, which mind you included the time, place, location, description and plate number of the car, and description of the individual I was told that technically what he did wasn’t illegal.  Wait, what?!?!  Nope, it’s not illegal for someone to electronically violate your sense of “assumed privacy” (my word not theirs) in a public place.  So aside from being mindful of what’s going on around me, and reporting anything suspicious there wasn’t anything they could (or were going to) do.

That restaurant is still one of my favorites and the few people that know what happened that day ask me why I still go back. Honestly, why wouldn’t I? The manager has proven that he’s got my back. I talked to him not too long ago and told him how much I appreciated what he did. He said he was torn that day. He didn’t know if he should have confronted the guy or even tell me not knowing how I might react. I told him I appreciated the fact that he acted as if I could have been his sister/mother/ aunt –getting me the information and talking to the police after I filed the report.

There are moments when having M around would have made me feel safer just because of his presence, but the reality is that M isn’t here anymore.  In the past couple of years men in my life have stepped up to the plate to watch out for me: my father, my brother, my pastor, my friends, and now a stranger who had no idea about my past but thought enough of me as an individual to consider my future.

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