I was working as a visual merchandiser back in 2012. Our morning duties at this store involved cleaning, but we didn’t have a mop. I went out to find a mall custodian to see if they could help us with our issue. I eventually found a guy who then led me to the back room within the mall, where they kept all of the cleaning supplies stored. One might think, why would she follow this stranger into a room. Well the week prior the same guy helped out the store, but last time he brought it to our store, so I didn’t think much of it. Once we entered the room he went and grabbed the mop. He then handed it towards me then pulling it back immediately. He didn’t speak English well, so it was hard from me to make out what he was saying. He gestured that I kiss him for helping me out. I said no, and turned to walk out the room. He pushed me into the door and tried forcing himself on me. I remember leaving my body, not wanting to be a part of what may take place.

I could see the two older ladies exercising near the food court, but then something pulled me back in the room and I pushed him as hard as I could and exited the room. He walked with me apologizing so I told him it was fine and remained calm just in case he freaked out. Once I was out of the side hall, I ran back to my store and told my supervisor. Another merchandiser accompanied me to go see the police. Luckily, I was able to get him caught b/c he was working without any papers, he was undocumented. So if anything would’ve happened, I don’t think they would have found him.

This was a huge turning point in my life. I quit my job and decided to pursue my dreams. I always think back to myself about that day. If I would’ve been raped or even worse died, I would’ve died unhappy. I was looking for a sign to allow me to have the courage to chase my dreams, and in a weird way, I think it was my sign.