Babysitting and Perverts

When I was about 11 years old, I got my first babysitting job for our next door neighbor.  It was such a convenient thing for both of us since I could walk and I was happy to be earning more than a dollar a week in allowance.  I was paid $1.50 an hour and at one time was given a generous $20 in one night.  I was so excited!  Luckily they didn’t fire me after my first time when their 5-year-old locked himself in the bathroom and sprayed athlete’s foot spray in his hair.  Not my fault they didn’t child proof the cabinets.

Eventually we moved to another house in the neighborhood and they still wanted me to babysit.  I wasn’t thrilled with the new arrangement because the dad always drove me home and something just didn’t feel right to me.  It’s not that he did anything.  I just had a bad feeling.

When I watched their kids, I had a rule that they were never to answer the phone because the last thing I needed was someone knowing there was no adult there.  If I answered, I would just say the parents weren’t available at the moment . Then one night as the phone was ringing, the little boy ran towards it as I frantically yelled, “NOOOOOOO!!!!” Before I could stop him, he was blurting out, “My parents aren’t here, but my babysitter is.”

I couldn’t even believe my ears when I picked up the phone.  The one time Carl managed to answer, it really was a pervert?!  First the guy muttered something I didn’t understand – probably because I was quite innocent and didn’t even have certain words in my vocabulary.  I said, “Excuse me?”  If I recall correctly, he asked if I had ever been “felt up” and I didn’t know what that meant.  Again I said, “Huh?”  Then he asked, “Do you have big boobs?”  “BUZZ OFF, CREEP!!!” I yelled.

I started shaking and I immediately made phone calls to arrange a ride to my house with the kids.  My mom didn’t answer, so I called a family friend.  The man sounded exactly like the kids’ father.  Exactly.  I’m not sure I ever told my parents that because it’s a pretty serious accusation to make.  There was no way I was going to face him when he came home or get in a car with him.  I left them a note saying they would have to come pick the kids up.  I never babysat for them again and they also never asked me again.

Disturbingly, the same pervert called my house weeks later, only increasing my suspicions that it was the dad.  Whoever it was had to know me personally.  You see kids, this is what life was like before Caller ID and *69.  What’s *69?  We used to dial that for a fee to see who just called.

Years later when we hired babysitters, one in particular looked like she had something uncomfortable to ask me.  I didn’t have to guess.  I said, “I just want you to know, my husband will NEVER drive you home.  I know that feeling and I would never put a girl through that.”  She looked relieved.  Yes, that was exactly what she wanted to bring up.  It feels rude to say it, but it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask for.  When my daughters start babysitting, that is a rule I will have to make clear with the parents.  “If Mom can’t drive my daughter home, I will pick her up.”

I’m not sure what brought this story to mind, but I wanted to share.  Have any babysitting stories?  Or stories about obscene callers?

 

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