Kidnapping is one of the things we're trained to fear from a young age.
Don't talk to strangers. Don't go to unknown places by yourself. If someone you don't know is offering you something? They're trying to kidnap you. It can't happen as often as you've been trained to think, right?
What about when it does?
Here were some of those stories.
Fun For You, Not For MeGiphy
My old teammate got kinda kidnapped. Nicest guy you'll ever meet. Told me a story about when he got kidnapped. Mind you he was a 190 lbs college athlete at the time.
Essentially he got car jacked and shoved in his own trunk. But the perpetrators just wanted to use his car for a joy ride. So after a night of speeding, smoking blunts in his car, and doing whatever else, they got pulled over by the police. He said the looks on the cops was something else thinking they were coming up on a routine traffic stop only to find the owner was in the trunk of the car.
I lived in Cambodia. I was at the local market with my then 2 year old daughter. I turn around and she was gone.
I was in a complete panic, rushing around searching for her.
I had to pay to local police $200 to do their job. Thats how it was back then.
My daughter turned up around the border, the person who took her was trying to take her out of the country.
The only reason she was noticed was because she had a distinctive yellow t-shirt on.
This was 13 years ago. She wasn't traumatized by the event. Thankfully, she was too young to remember.
The man who took her got sent to prison for 15 years. Thats the last we heard of him.
This Could Have Been BadGiphy
When I was around 7-8 years old, my Mom took me to a karate lesson for the first time. The "dojo" was in a strip mall. The lesson ended and as I was leaving the room (for whatever reason I was the last one out), a man approached me asking if I enjoyed the lesson. I told him I did and asked if he was a friend of my Mom. He was dressed normally (not an instructor) and didn't have a kid with him, so I was confused as to his interest in me. He told me he was not a friend of my Mom's, but that He and I would be friends. He put his arm around my shoulder and started walking towards the front door.
As we approached the exit, I saw my Mom chatting with the instructor in his office through the small window on the door. The office was right next to the exit and the handle within reaching distance. I quickly reached for the door handle, turned, and pushed. The man left my side and walked out the front door before the door to the office fully swung open.
I walked in and the instructor/my Mom start asking about the lesson, if I enjoyed it, etc. As we talked, I asked about the man. Neither the instructor or my Mom seemed to know who I was talking about and shrugged it off. After we left, I told my Mom it wasn't for me and never went back.
It wasn't until a decade later when I finally grasped the possibility of the situation.
A New Installment In "Taken"
I've posted this story before, but here goes:
I was in Turkey for a while in my early twenties with two friends. We had made quite a few friends in the coffee shops. They were mostly Kurdish and I was pretty oblivious to the racial tension there.
One day walking through the market, 5 men walked up to us. The four beefiest surrounded us while the fifth told us we were invited to tea at his place and to come. He was all smiles but the beefy dudes and general posture of them all made it clear what the score was.
We were escorted back to a shop with a few more scary guys and the patriarch of the family. The doors were closed and bolted, and the window shades drawn down.
For the next 5 hours we were "guests." It started mostly outwardly polite and utterly terrifying with polite veiled threats. When they served us tea, we were sure it would be drugged, but couldn't refuse and escalate the situation.
It culminated with them trying to hand the three of us swords, while the rest of them stood around us with swords in hand smiling and talking about how some of them had been in the family for generations and been used to take the heads off of Western Europeans in the crusades (BS I'm sure, but the point was taken).
I was absolutely sure if we took the swords they offered, we'd be cut down and they'd have plausible deniability and could claim we attacked them or tried to rob the place.
We remained calm and kept declining the swords politely as they got angrier and angrier. They finally let us go with a warning to mind who we associated with because "sometimes people disappear."
Scariest five hours of my life and I have no idea how it ended well for us.
Divorce Does Awful Things
I was kidnapped when I was younger, but I didn't realize it at the time. My uncle and my aunt were going through a divorce, and he was staying at our house with my cousin. One day he said we were "going on a trip." I was young, and I loved going on trips, so I didn't think anything of it. He took us from Connecticut to Minnesota, and we stayed there for a few days. What I didn't know was he was about to lose custody of my cousin, so he took us and ran. I think he also took me just because I was there and he didn't want to leave me home alone. He was arrested shortly afterwards and sadly he killed himself in jail.
Not me but my room mate at the time.
We lived in Johannesburg, and studied at the local university. One day I'm at class and he is at home. He steps outside to get something from his car (it's a typical SA block of flats with tall walls and a motorized steel gate)
Some guy climbs over the gate, runs up to him and throws him inside the house, demands he gets the keys and drags him outside to his car that was waiting on the street. He then takes my friend on a trip around Johannesburg, collecting debts owed to him (can only imagine he is a drug dealer)
After a good 6 hours of driving around, my friend is now terrified, the guy takes him home, drives into the driveway, strolls into the house and locks him in his room while he casually takes a shower. He comes back out and steals everything from my friend, clothes and all. Makes himself a sandwich and leaves like nothing happened.
My friend is still traumatized and this happened around 5 years go.
Lesson to learn, always keep your house locked, even if you have fancy security, electric fences and all that jazz. Sometimes this country amazes me.
I was almost kidnapped once.
I was visiting the mall with some others and left alone to go to the bathroom, which was down a long isolated hallway.
When I came out of the women's bathroom, a dirty old man rushed out of the men's and pinned me up against the wall.
There was an emergency exit at the end of the hallway, and he was dragging me toward it when another dude came out of the bathroom. He was big and bald and looked like a biker, complete with vest.
He yelled "HEY!" and the old man dropped me and ran.
I was 15 at the time.
When I was like 10, a friend's mother abandoned me in another state while she kidnapped her own children.
I was spending the weekend at a friend's house. The friend's mother had a manic episode and decided to leave her husband and move in with her recently deceased sister's widower. He lived in Vermont, we lived in Georgia. She packed us into the minivan at five AM and took off. Her two oldest children (13 and 15)got pretty upset so she left the three of us with an aunt in Pennsylvania.
It was pretty terrifying for my parents.
A friend of mine, not me.
So my pal goes to Bolivia every year and always tries to convince us to come with him. We never do, because he casually mentions to bring kidnap money with us.
Long story short, drugs are dirt cheap in the rural area his family lives. (A big round of drinks at certain bars will come with two/three grams of complimentary coke). And he loves the white stuff.
Anyway, every year he goes he gets kidnapped. They treat him good, no harm, gets a semi decent meal etc. And the ransom is like £150 or something equally irrelevant, apparently they once accepted £50 for his release.
After A Stunt Like That???
I was 10 and (half)sister 8, stationed with (Step)father and Mother in Europe at the time (military from the USA). I was told by my father that we would eventually be going on a Sunday school trip. My sister and I had pictures taken weeks before, and were told they were for the same trip. Turns out my mother had hidden our passports and the pictures were for new passports...
Sunday rolled around. As we were driving my Dad had us guess where we were going. We kept guessing tourist attractions in Europe. "farther!" he would say until we guessed correctly. It was to my grandmother's house in the USA.
At this point I still did not realize we were being kidnapped. In fact I didn't realize it until days after our arrival, when I kept seeing our picture in the papers (the front page in many cases). "CUSTODY BATTLE TURNS OVERSEAS". A reporter had showed up shortly after our arrival to grandmas house and I couldn't understand what the fuss was about.
The crazy part is that my (step)Dad ended up with custody of both me and my sister.