Just don’t answer the door. (Another story-time post!)

This is more a cautionary tale than a story-time post.

“If a stranger knocks on your door, don’t answer it.”

Almost 10 years ago, I was alone at home when there was a sudden and violent knocking on the door. The guy on the other side was shouting for “Anna.”

For some reason I’ll never know, I did the really stupid and uncharacteristic thing and answered the door. The guy got into my face and pounded out the questions: Where’s Anna? Are you Anna? Are you sure you’re not Anna? Is Anna there? [**looks over my shoulder to see if anyone’s there**] No Anna lives here? Are you sure? Do you know where Anna lives? […]

He went on for probably a full minute while I simply stood and asserted that I was not Anna, that there was no Anna on the premises, that no one called “Anna” lived there, that I did not know of an Anna who’d ever lived there, that I was the only one there and the only one who lived there. (<– I still can’t believe I said that!)

Then he stopped shouting and looked at me, and just as I was realizing that he was looking at me with too much intensity, he said something like, “Okay, if you ever do find out about an Anna who lived here, you can give me a call.” He sounded more reasonable and less loud, which I appreciated.

He produced a business card and a pen. “I’ll give you my cell phone number.”

He scribbled on the card and handed it to me, repeating that I could call him. I had the impression that he would be interested in me calling him for personal reasons, not necessarily for Anna.

After he left and I closed the door, I looked at the business card. The name of the business strongly suggested that he was a bounty hunter… a conclusion backed up by his behavior. Poor Anna, I thought to myself, though the entire incident sort of amused me. This is a first. Also, bounty hunters have business cards?!

Fast-forward past a decade to last week when I found the business card in a pile of old business cards. Out of curiosity, I went looking for the “business” online. A URL and a phone number were printed on the card.

  • No business by that name exists on the internet.
  • The URL for the business contains the name of the business, but it pulls up a different business. Since it’s the same URL, the same person or people must be behind the two businesses, I guessing. Also, the phone number for the different business is the same as the one printed on the card. It was like they changed the business, but put the site under the same URL and kept the phone number, too.
  • However, the name of the new business seems to have nothing to do with bounty hunting.
  • But it also has an eyebrow-raising name. (I wish I could tell you the names of these businesses.)
  • When I searched for the person listed on the site, I found his arrest record and mugshot.
  • When I searched for the other guy (who’d pounded on my door), I came up with his arrest record and mug shot.
  • More sleuthing revealed that the name of his current workplace is very similar to the name of the business printed on the card – it does not appear that he works at the business whose site lives at the original URL.
  • When I searched for that business, I came up with a page showing that it exists, but with no information about what sort of business it might be.
  • After my interest in the whole thing dwindled, my brief investigative efforts left me at this bottom line: the two guys had done time for violent crimes (the charges are listed on their arrest pages) – both the guy at my door and the guy connected to the business that lives at the URL printed on the business card.

All of this to say, Why the hell did I answer my door?

Maybe I got lucky. Maybe, had I responded to his intimidation tactics, he would’ve capitalized on my visible fear, as people do. He could’ve shoved past me, busting in and doing any number of unpleasant things. Or maybe he was genuinely looking for Anna and would’ve left as peacefully even if my reaction had been more than a non-reaction.

In any case, because of this experience, I’m here to repeat the general wisdom and common sense regarding strangers at your door: “Don’t answer the door.” You never know who’s on the other side!

[I would insert an image here, but I don’t have one; I’m not going to post the business card!]

I hope you’re all having a great week so far.

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