I just returned from the States from what I’d like to think, was a well deserved vacation.  Because of the wondrous equipment United Airline uses, a flight was missed in Frankfurt, Germany.  In the meantime I happened across a good friend who was also returning from points far away, so we sat together having a few beers while waiting for our flight.  About 4 feet away, a young girl came and sat in a booth, pulled out a book and had a plate of pasta to eat.  About 20 minutes later, a young man with straggly hair and dreadlocks, came and asked her if he could visit with her.  He was the type of kid that young girls would find attractive; one of those things I don’t understand, like kids walking around with their pants hanging dangerously low.

I worked in Afghanistan back in 2004, and it was drilled into me to be aware of my surroundings.  This is something that I have hung on to since.  I am also in the process of reading a very good book that all people should read:  The Gift of Fear.  So as I sat with my buddy drinking, I do notice what is going around me.  I noticed the straggly kid was walking back and forth for about 30 minutes before visiting this young girl.

When she first encountered him, I noticed a moment of unease on her face at first, but after sitting with her and they talked, she relaxed and dropped her guard.  Even though they were only 4 feet away, because of the noise I could not hear what they were saying, but by her relaxed face and his smile I sensed something was not right.  He kept smiling, asking her questions and soon they were both eating the pasta.  This kid was good.  He lightly picked at the food just to be sharing a meal with her, which told me he was not hungry.

I would not have slept well that night, aside from the damn plane, if I did not do something to interrupt this.  Whether he was going to get money off her, or completely lead her out of the terminal forever, I do not know.  What I did know for an absolute certainty, was this kid was not good for this young girl.

So I took a napkin, and reaching into my bag pulled out a pen.  It just so happened to be red.  On it, I wrote the following:

Even seen the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson?  Think twice before you give him anything, even just information.

I stood up to leave and asked the young girl if she spoke English.

“Yeah, sure!”

Then I turned to the straggly kid who was afraid to make eye contact with me, and I asked him if he spoke English.  He made the little waving motion with his hand and said something about a little.  Then I asked him if he lived in Frankfurt?  He stumbled around with his words and never gave a clear answer.  I handed the young girl the napkin and walked away.  Later, while at the ticket counter, I noticed he was still sitting there with her.

I sincerely hope she was smart enough to politely tell him “No” for whatever he was after.  If not, she had been warned.