Check Your Backseat Before You Drive

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https://darknessprevails.org/check-your-backseat-before-you-drive/

“Everything was safer back then”, is something the generations before us always like to seemingly brag about.

As if, all the evils in the world have only manifested recently. My mother recalls on these times as she drives my best friend and I to the King of Prussia Mall after school one day, stressing stranger danger and the buddy system the entire drive there.

My friend and I joke around with my mother saying how nothing bad has ever happened to us, anyone we know or even really in this area, its a really great and safe place to live. She lets out a loud laugh that ends with a prolonged sigh and reminds us to not be so naïve and that danger lurks everywhere, even in an area as beautiful as ours.

“Girls…” My mom stared at me angrily

“A man tried to kill my friend in Valley Forge”, she said coldly.

What?! When?! Gabrielle, my friend with me, and I start stammering over each other excitedly as we just need to know more, we’re both a bit…dark, not to mention our houses are literally on the boarder of the park itself.

As my mom begins the story, Gabby and I prepare to laugh at what she might call “scary”, but we really had no idea that this would end up being our go to – “so ya wanna hear a creepy story?” tale.

It’s the 70’s, a typical Saturday night for my parents and their friends. Partying, drinking/drugging and dancing like their hippy lives depended on it. A friend of theirs was a park ranger for Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania, where we live, and part of his pay included housing.

This nights party was at their Ranger friends place, a massive stone house from the days of George Washington, with stretches of land before the next Ranger’s home. Mom and dad had driven to the party together and met up with their friends, twins, Paul and Sarah.
After a few hours of partying, Sarah had begun to nag Paul that she was tired and it was time for the both of them to drive home.

Paul, not wanting the night to end, was able to swindle a ride off of my parents so then Sarah could take the car they shared and drive herself home.

My mom recalls that Sarah was a bit pissy with this as she wanted a driving companion but they argued that their homes were all within minutes of the park so that it was pointless and that Sarah was just being her typical whiny self. She had a bit of a reputation as being stuck up bitch and my parents saw no reason on why someone would need company on a 5 minute drive, so off Sarah went, alone.

Within the first few moments of leaving the forested area, Sarah realizes that she’s so low on gas that she won’t even make the short drive home. Annoyed, she pulls into the small, dimly lit gas station within the park.

I always found it kind of funny that this National Historic park has a random gas station in it, but I guess there are main roads that cut through the park itself, so it’s helpful

Now while in present day America, only New Jersey and Oregon have gas attendees that pump your gas for you, but back then it was more common than not for gas attendants in every state to do this. So the attendant comes out to Sarahs car, fills it up and makes some idle chit chat while doing so.

As he finishes up Sarah turns from the attendant to grab cash from her purse. When she turns back to face him she notices his expression seems…off. Just, distant, like he doesn’t see that she’s sitting there, arm outstretched, overflowing with bills.

“You need to come inside to pay” He says quickly, while closing her hand over the money.

“What?”, Sarah’s confused. There’s no reason why she should have to go inside. He can just take the money to the register and it’s done, he can even keep the damn change.

“You NEED to come inside to pay”. He repeats, quieter but with a much harsher tone.

Now you may be thinking, DRIVE, DRIVE AWAY! Well I mentioned earlier that Sarah is kind of stuck up, well, unfortunately shes not very smart either and has a “follower” type of personality that got her into a lot of trouble all throughout her life.

Actually, my parents are no longer friends with her because of her attitude but on that night, it may have saved her.

Sarah cautiously exits the car and makes her way to the gas station front doors, the attendant keeping uncomfortably close. At this point, Sarah has no idea what’s going to happen but of course, the worst possible thoughts are running wild through her mind.

The second the attendee and Sarah make it through the doors of the station, he springs into the air and launches himself on Sarah, sending the both of them flying behind the main counter and slamming into the ground.

He’s a huge guy compared to her small frame and is practically crushing her to the point where she can’t make a sound because her lungs are so compressed, she can’t even pick up her arms or legs to hit him.

“LISTEN, LISTEN TO ME” The attendant gasps through forced breathes.

“There’s a man laying in your back seat with a huge knife.”

The man sits up and shifts his body so that both himself and Sarah can’t be seen through the windows of the store. He then fumbles around the underside of the counter and hits the stores panic button. Something to instantly alert the cops that the store is in some sort of trouble.

The whole time Sarah is in a daze. Was there really a man in the car? Who was it and were they from the party? What did he want with her?

Within a few minutes the parking lot was flooded with red and blue lights, both cops and park rangers alike had showed up as I’m sure that was the first and only time that panic button was ever used.
Sarah watched, horrified as the police pulled a man from the back of her car that she had never in her life seen before. in his hands was a very large knife.

The attendee later told police that while pumping Sarahs gas he had seen a glint of light and looked into the back of the car to find the man laying down with the knife pulled close to his chest. He was grinning a mouth splitting grin and was staring right at the attendee, fearlessly.

The attendee was afraid that if he said anything, the man would go into a rage and kill Sarah right then and there, that’s why he had asked her to come into the store.

Now while in present day America, only New Jersey and Oregon have gas attendees that pump your gas for you, but back then it was more common than not for gas attendants in every state to do this. So the attendant comes out to Sarahs car, fills it up and makes some idle chit chat while doing so.

As he finishes up Sarah turns from the attendant to grab cash from her purse. When she turns back to face him she notices his expression seems…off. Just, distant, like he doesn’t see that she’s sitting there, arm outstretched, overflowing with bills.

“You need to come inside to pay” He says quickly, while closing her hand over the money.

“What?”, Sarah’s confused. There’s no reason why she should have to go inside. He can just take the money to the register and it’s done, he can even keep the damn change.

“You NEED to come inside to pay”. He repeats, quieter but with a much harsher tone.

Now you may be thinking, DRIVE, DRIVE AWAY! Well I mentioned earlier that Sarah is kind of stuck up, well, unfortunately shes not very smart either and has a “follower” type of personality that got her into a lot of trouble all throughout her life. Actually, my parents are no longer friends with her because of her attitude but on that night, it may have saved her.

Sarah cautiously exits the car and makes her way to the gas station front doors, the attendant keeping uncomfortably close. At this point, Sarah has no idea what’s going to happen but of course, the worst possible thoughts are running wild through her mind.

The second the attendee and Sarah make it through the doors of the station, he springs into the air and launches himself on Sarah, sending the both of them flying behind the main counter and slamming into the ground.

He’s a huge guy compared to her small frame and is practically crushing her to the point where she can’t make a sound because her lungs are so compressed, she can’t even pick up her arms or legs to hit him.

“LISTEN, LISTEN TO ME” The attendant gasps through forced breathes.

“There’s a man laying in your back seat with a huge knife.”

The man sits up and shifts his body so that both himself and Sarah can’t be seen through the windows of the store. He then fumbles around the underside of the counter and hits the stores panic button. Something to instantly alert the cops that the store is in some sort of trouble.

The whole time Sarah is in a daze. Was there really a man in the car? Who was it and were they from the party? What did he want with her?

Within a few minutes the parking lot was flooded with red and blue lights, both cops and park rangers alike had showed up as I’m sure that was the first and only time that panic button was ever used.

Sarah watched, horrified as the police pulled a man from the back of her car that she had never in her life seen before. in his hands was a very large knife.

The attendee later told police that while pumping Sarahs gas he had seen a glint of light and looked into the back of the car to find the man laying down with the knife pulled close to his chest. He was grinning a mouth splitting grin and was staring right at the attendee, fearlessly.

The attendee was afraid that if he said anything, the man would go into a rage and kill Sarah right then and there, that’s why he had asked her to come into the store.

Afterwards, Sarah and her family were so shaken up that they preferred to just pretend like it never happened.

After profusely thanking the superhero attendee of course. Because of this, and because Sarah wasn’t actually injured, nobody figured out what became of the would-be killer besides some well deserved time in jail.

I heard this story shortly before turning 16, for a year or so while being a new driver I just HAD to check my backseats before getting into my car. It petrified me. I’m 24 now and will get very uneasy if I remember this while driving.

Constantly checking my rearview mirror to make sure I don’t see a glint of silver from a knife like the attendee did.

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