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Time Well Spent | How the “Tricky People” Concept Saved My Boys

How the “Tricky People” Concept Saved My Boys

Note: I’ve recently noticed this post circulating under the headline of “attempted abduction.” Please know I have never asserted that my boys were nearly abducted. There is no way of knowing what these individuals’ intentions were in approaching my sons. I only know that it made my sons feel scared and unsafe.

Quick backstory. Actually, I’m incapable of condensing anything so it can be considered “quick” but I’ll try. Three days ago I was in the shower around 8:30am when it felt like I was shot in my left ovary. You didn’t see that one coming, did you? In short, it was an unbearable pain that had me doubled over, light-headed, and nauseous. Well, with the help of some unseen angels, truly, I somehow got enough clothes on my body to be decent, and drove my four kids and myself five minutes to our small town ER. (I realized after this all blew over how foolish it was for me to drive while in intense pain. Be smarter than I was–call an ambulance!)

In a moment of what I deem foggy-thinking “pain brain” I left my two oldest boys–CJ (10) and T-Dawg (8) outside the ER door on a bench to await our kind neighbor who said he was coming to pick them up and take them to school (thanks to my parents who arranged all this while I was driving to the ER). My younger two and I went inside to see if we couldn’t figure out what the heck was causing the pain. Spoiler alert: Ruptured ovarian cyst. Really fun stuff.

It wasn’t until my boys came home from school at 3:30pm, that I found out they had been late to school. I had wrongly assumed my neighbor was coming from his house (not somewhere farther away), so my two boys sat out front of the ER for forty minutes. Not the five minutes I had expected. Their story of what had transpired while I had stupidly left them out there alone made me simultaneously sick and grateful.

In that forty minutes of obedient sitting and waiting, my two boys experienced their first real-world experience with the types of strangers they’ve been intermittently warned about. While on that bench, they were approached by an adult female and two punk males who asked them if they’d “help them out by going into the bathroom where her boyfriend was hiding from the doctor and see if they could convince him to come out and get treated.” Even after CJ replied, “No, thank you” they kept at them.

“Please? You could really save his life if you’d just go in that bathroom and tell him it’s safe to come out.”

CJ said he returned all three of their pleas for help with a “no, thank you” (each stronger than the last) before they finally let up. Shortly afterward, the neighbor showed up and my boys jumped in his car, but, not before they saw another adult male come out from the ER, get into the car with these other individuals and drive off.

My mouth hung open the entire time they relayed this account.

My anger and shock turned to immense gratitude, however, when I heard CJ spout off a family “stay safe” rule we went over way too long ago that helped him know these creeps were up to no good. Most specifically, a tip for identifying a “tricky person.”

CJ: “Mom, I knew they were tricky people because they were asking us for help. Adults don’t ask kids for help.”

Have you heard of the tricky people concept?  Tricky people are the new strangers. Pattie Fitzgerald, the creator of Safely Ever After where the tricky people concept originated says, “Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day. Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe.”

One of her guidelines for knowing what people are unsafe is the rule CJ remembered in time of need–tricky people ask kids for help. If a safe adult needs help, they’ll ask another adult. Not a kid. Pattie includes many other tips and rules for staying safe under her “prevention tips” tab on her Safely Ever After website. This website also does a great job of re-capping her life-saving information.

Click on and read all that information if you haven’t already. Please. Hold family meetings where you talk about and role play these concepts periodically. This experience has made me grateful that we had gone over this in the past, but even more so, it’s made me determined to continue going over these stay safe rules. Regularly.

When it’s all said and done, the phrase “knowledge is power” undoubtedly applies to our kids keeping themselves safe. We know we won’t always be physically present to protect our kids from everything–I’m sure you lose sleep over this like I do. But, we can empower them and give them confidence by teaching them what they can do in these kind of situations.

I know our next family meeting will involve CJ teaching his siblings about identifying tricky people, and us interjecting information to fill the holes in our teaching we noticed from this experience. Like for instance, there is no need to be polite to an adult that is making you uncomfortable. Thank you Texas for teaching my boys your dreamy Southern hospitality but in the event adults are making my kids uncomfortable or are asking them to break their stay safe rules, a “no thank you” is not required.

Sigh. I shared this whole experience with you so you could learn from it. Like we have. If you haven’t already, take the necessary time to establish your own family stay safe rules–the links I’ve included in this post are a great place to start. If you’ve already got your family stay safe rules in place, re-visit them. And don’t forget the tricky person concept because let’s face it, our kids are growing in a world that’s replete with them.

I have compiled a list of resources and ideas for protecting our kids from predators in this new post. Check it out!


April 6, 2017: The Daily Beast article response


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  • Anonymous
    Posted at 19:19h, 07 May

    Um….YIKES!? So glad the story had a happy ending! Smart boys you are raising! I will be sharing this story with Sam and Ava. Thanks for the tips!

  • Liz
    Posted at 00:02h, 08 May

    This makes me feel terrible. I’m
    So sorry.

  • Brooke Franco
    Posted at 01:02h, 08 May

    What brave boys! I hope you are doing better? Thanks for the links. We definitely need to be going over this topic again, it’s been awhile.

  • KY
    Posted at 22:47h, 08 May

    Such a good read. Being a new mom a d all I forgot that I would need to coach my baby to know this. I feel even more so now that anyone can walk into any bathroom in some places. Tricky people is a great way to teach.

    • Evan
      Posted at 13:25h, 20 May

      Very subtle there, but I have to call this out. Because “anyone” can (rightly) go into a bathroom now (because bathrooms were otherwise completely tricky-people safe in the past?!) do not use this opportunity to wrongly suggest that LGBTQ people are “tricky people.”

      • Judith
        Posted at 14:34h, 23 May

        No onedid!

      • Cara R.
        Posted at 21:09h, 23 May

        Why does this have to be said EVERY time? Being concerned about “tricky people” in the bathroom is not necessarily a condemnation of LBGT people. It is about condemnation of creeps who will use the law to their advantage, thereby making bathrooms less safe. Please do NOT assume that every single person who is against these bathroom laws is also calling LGBTs perverts, pedophiles, rapists, etc.

        • Gaidig
          Posted at 22:43h, 23 May

          The idea that creeps were waiting for a law or bathroom policy before setting a trap in any gender bathroom is simply a made up fear to stoke certain people’s emotions and to boost certain people’s poll numbers. This kind of fear mongering is a manipulation tactic that is over 150 years old in America, though this may be the first time that the main losers are trans people.
          I understand that you want to believe that a public bathroom has always been a safe space, but affirming that trans people can select the bathroom they believe to be most appropriate does not change the actual safety level of those spaces. The sign on the door and a bathroom policy is not enough to stop anyone from going in. The penalties for rape, etc. are far worse than any penalties associated with going into the wrong bathroom, and everyone knows this. Predators who are not afraid of the one are not afraid of the other.

          • Brian Branch
            Posted at 19:25h, 30 May

            No, but what the new LBGT free to use any toilet policies do, is reduce the barrier between a certain class of pedophile and prey. Before, if a man was in a ladies toilet, you knew to run. Now, with the LBGT toilet rules, that isn’t a clear response. And with the reduction of the mental social barrier, it provides easier access. For course this only applies to one type of pedophile, because homosexual & bi-sexual male pedophiles have always had easier access to boy victims.

          • Bethanne
            Posted at 18:39h, 19 July

            Exactly. Bathrooms have never been inherently safe; in fact, they lean towards being quite unsafe. They are a fringe area, and caution and alertness has always been a good idea, as with anywhere else near but not in spaces with lots of people. Parking lots, stairways, and all sorts of other places are the same: close enough to public spaces to be frequented, but only by people passing through or for a moment. And isolated enough that it’s a very good idea to increase your situational awareness there. Ragging on scapegoats won’t ever change that.

          • Jenn Riedy
            Posted at 14:25h, 14 September

            Ummm…no Brian. LBGT people want to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with…which is also the gender they will go to great lengths to look like. Many women who happen to look masculine (short hair, androgynous clothing) have been assaulted for “being in the wrong bathroom” by people with the same mindset as you though.

      • Lani K.
        Posted at 12:47h, 07 June

        This has to do with educating children about the overall concept that adults don’t ask kids for help. Start your own blog to platform your own ideas, don’t use someone else’s blog to shift focus away from a very important topic of children’s safety to some other personal political agenda. It’s inappropriate and disrespectful of this blogger’s work and time. We’re discussing children’s safety here.; You’re comments are very self centered.

        • Warren W.
          Posted at 17:52h, 11 June

          “You’re comments are very self centered.”

          As are yours.

          • Warren W.
            Posted at 19:05h, 11 June

            Ooops, I think I misinterpreted who your remarks were directed towards.

        • Norma Desmond
          Posted at 01:00h, 23 August

          The person who introduced the “political” element was the person who insinuated that bathrooms are more dangerous now than they used to be. If you’re going to scold someone for derailing the conversation by inserting their own agenda into it, it should be that person, not the person who rightly called them on it.

          • Kimberley Hughes
            Posted at 18:01h, 24 August

            Spot on. They made this political by bringing up that they felt it was less safe now anyone can use any bathroom. Bathrooms are no less safe now because transgendered people can in some places use the bathroom that they identify with. Actually I feel that HB2 in my state of NC makes children less safe. There are signs up now in some public restrooms stating that anyone aged 6 or over must use the restroom of their gender assigned at birth. That does not make me feel that my two young boys are safer. My two boys will be accompanying me to the restroom if there isn’t a family room as long as I feel it is the safest thing to do. Maybe in some locations I’m ok with that but maybe not.

  • Chris
    Posted at 07:06h, 09 May

    Great read and great information!!

  • Angela E.
    Posted at 14:01h, 09 May

    You might mention it to hospital security and the police if you haven’t already. Id imagine theres a camera outside an ER, and tyese folks might try it again.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 18:02h, 09 May

    Just explained this concept to my step son. He understood it, and it really seemed to click. So glad I came across this! Thank you for posting this, and sharing!

  • Joanna Tate
    Posted at 19:14h, 09 May

    Jodie – this is incredible. I’m soooooo glad your boys remembered this lesson and stayed away from trouble! xoxoxo

  • Stephanie Evans
    Posted at 00:35h, 10 May

    Thank you thank you for sharing this!!! We will be teaching our kids these rules in our next family meeting too!

  • Aliesha
    Posted at 09:17h, 10 May

    Thank you for sharing this! I’ve never heard of the tricky person concept before. I will be teaching my two about this!

    PS- Ruptured ovarian cysts hurt like a mother!

  • anonymous
    Posted at 09:55h, 10 May

    Thank you for sharing this concept! I have a 6,4,3 and almost 1 year old. I have been really struggling to get my kids to understand “Stranger danger”. Without having them be afraid of the entire world! I love the Tricky person idea!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 11:49h, 10 May

    The hospital might be able to get the license number of the car with security camera footage.

    • Jodie Norton
      Posted at 22:27h, 10 May

      Thanks for your suggestion. I called the police department today and they were able to get that footage from the hospital. They are writing up a report and will see if they can take action from there.

  • Amy Marten
    Posted at 12:31h, 10 May

    I teach a safety class to 4K kids in my district in the summer. Are there any of the books that specifically touch on “tricky people”?? I see she has many books, and I’d love to incorporate this! THANK YOU.

    • Jodie Norton
      Posted at 22:36h, 10 May

      Hi Amy,

      I just purchased her book This is My Body–No Trespassing in hopes that it addresses the “tricky person” concept more fully. Thanks to Amazon, it’ll be here in a few days so I can look through it and see if it has the tricky person information you (and I) are looking for. Stay tuned–I will let you know!

    • Jodie Norton
      Posted at 11:12h, 12 May

      Hi Amy,

      I’m going to do a blog post about this specifically, but I contacted Pattie Fitzgerald (creator of Safely Ever After) and she said her book Super Duper Safety Patrol speaks specifically about tricky people, checking first with parents, and other safety tips. The book I purchased–This is My Body: No Trespassing–focuses more on good and bad touches. You can find both of them on Amazon, but I’m thinking the Super Duper Safety Patrol book will better cover the ideas you’re looking for.

  • Carla Cooper
    Posted at 16:06h, 10 May

    WOW! Can’t even begin to imagine how you felt after this event. Not only to be in agony, but to be healing from that and find out that the worst could have happened had you not prepped your kids. God Bless you. What a great concept. I’m going to be passing this on to my daughters, one of whom just does not seem to get that telling her son to scream and flail like a banshee will not necessarily make the perverts think he’s nuts and go away!!! EEEK!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 00:00h, 11 May

    This group of 4 visiting and camping out at hospital. Just trying to figure out at th ER where someone might be vulnerable. Predators like pre meditated. A job. I’m hearing more things about bathrooms. What is this business

  • Allison Lavery
    Posted at 01:28h, 11 May

    I’m so glad your boys stayed safe. I’m horrified by the thought of what could have happened if they’d gone into that bathroom! I think your son was correct in using the words he did, they kept him calm and in control. I think if he’d got sassy or aggressive it may have raised their defences and they might’ve responded in kind – I feel that many emotions are catching – and who knows, they may have got physical. Responding in a firm but civil way keeps things from potentially escalating in my opinion. I’ll definitely be going over this regularly with my kids. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tanya King
    Posted at 05:27h, 11 May

    Wow! How old were your kids when you introduced the idea of the tricky person? And yes, burst cysts…. the WORST! I think they’re worse than labour. I can’t believe you could drive! You must be hard as nails!! I’m not surprised you left your boys outside while going through that pain. I hope you don’t beat yourself up about leaving them outside. . . I’d probably have asked the creepy tricksters to watch my kids, and handed them my car keys, the pain was so horrific when I had a bout of burst ovarian cysts. I’m so glad things worked out OK for your boys. Geez there’re some skeevy wretches out there… Thanks for sharing. Xx

  • Tanya King
    Posted at 05:27h, 11 May

    Wow! How old were your kids when you introduced the idea of the tricky person? And yes, burst cysts…. the WORST! I think they’re worse than labour. I can’t believe you could drive! You must be hard as nails!! I’m not surprised you left your boys outside while going through that pain. I hope you don’t beat yourself up about leaving them outside. . . I’d probably have asked the creepy tricksters to watch my kids, and handed them my car keys, the pain was so horrific when I had a bout of burst ovarian cysts. I’m so glad things worked out OK for your boys. Geez there’re some skeevy wretches out there… Thanks for sharing. Xx

  • Hope Prince
    Posted at 10:37h, 11 May

    There’s a DVD called the Safe Side we watch it every spring when we start going to the park. It is a cute move and it covers adults not asking kids for help. It also talks about “kinda knows” adults who are are friends of the family and what they should do when these people ask for help. I love it!! As an Mom of 5 I know lots of kids and before watching this movie I would have said hey help me with these bags to my van after a pta meeting to kids I know. Now I think how unsafe that is for them and only ask adults for help. “The Safe Side” is great I would recommend it.

  • Michelle
    Posted at 10:38h, 11 May

    I absolutely hate that this is necessary in today’s world. Thank you for sharing. I will be working on this in the years to come. Thank God everything worked out for your family. Heal well!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 11:44h, 11 May

    I can’t believe you didn’t think to call the police?? Those were child predators, not tricky people!!

    • Jodie Norton
      Posted at 12:28h, 11 May

      I know it’s alarming that it took me several days to figure this out, but please know I did contact the police. They retrieved the video footage and are pursuing this as far as they legally can.

      Also, quick clarification–tricky people are child predators. The term “tricky person” is simply a way to help explain to a child what a child predator is and does. I’m not the person that coined the term “tricky person,” but as far as I understand it, the labels “tricky person” and “child predator” are synonymous. One term is just simply more child-friendly.

  • Camille Crist
    Posted at 11:57h, 11 May

    I’m teaching this to my grandkids! So glad you posted this – thanks!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 15:12h, 11 May

    you can say no without swearing and being polite is not bad. sometimes an adult will ask a child for help and I am one that often does. never would I ask a child to go into a bathroom or anything else. but often times I have asked a child to pick up something for me that I dropped or to reach something I can’t.. I have even asked a child to help open the door for me when I can’t and no adult is close by to help. teach your children to be polite and watchful. teach them to be observant and to keep their distance from strangers but that it is ok to help an adult when in plain sight of other people. my son never knew a stranger, he saw everyone as a friend he had not yet met. he would say hi to everyone he met and sometimes even talk to them. but at the same time he always kept his distance from them and watched them carefully.

  • Ellie
    Posted at 16:31h, 11 May

    Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 20:28h, 11 May

    I am so glad your son used his head and stuck to his guns. some kids would be afraid to say no. you gave him the tools to stick up for himself and keep him and his brother safe!! This is awesome information. My kids are grown, but I know many psople with young kids. Iwill pass this on.

  • Caroline
    Posted at 09:56h, 12 May

    “I never go ANYWHERE or take ANYTHING from someone I don’t know.” — I copied this from the website you linked and wanted to add that in addition to the concept of “tricky people,” kids need to also be taught to avoid the “pretender.” I think it would fall under this particular rule–I never go ANYWHERE with someone I don’t know, but the reason to specifically identify the “pretender” is that pretenders often take on the persona of someone in a position of authority. For example, I recently read the blog of a man who talked about being kidnapped as a child by a guy who pretended to be a bike policeman. The pretender told him that his bicycle brakes were in violation of some code he made up and that he was in violation of the law, could not ride his bike home, and was required to come with him so that he could take him to his parents. He believed the man because he believed he was a policeman and so he went with him. We teach our children to obey authorities like policemen and fire fighters, etc. so they may not be quick to identify a “tricky person” if they’re approached by a person pretending to be a police officer like this man was when he was a little boy. Thankfully, although the pretender did attack the boy in the parking garage,he took him to, a few people walked by the car and it scared the man enough to stop what he was doing before actually committing a sexual assault and he let the boy go. He shared his story on his blog as a warning to others. I think talking to children about “the pretender” could be as important as helping them to identify “tricky people.”

    • Jodie Norton
      Posted at 11:07h, 12 May


      That’s a great point. I’ve never considered teaching about “the pretender” but can see it’s a vital piece of the whole pie of info that can keep our kids safe. Thank you for bringing this up–I’ll be throwing that into the family stay safe mix at the Norton household. 🙂

    • Nicole H
      Posted at 19:46h, 17 May

      Great point about “pretenders”. Caroline .I will add this to my arsenal!
      A friend of mine recently told me that in their family, they have a “safe word.” If there’s an emergency or something unexpected comes up and the parents can’t be there to pick-up the child, they have a password that the child is supposed to ask for, before they can go with that other person. Something simple that the child can easily remember, like the dog’s name, favorite ice cream flavor, or their favorite restaurant.

    • Kathy Wereb
      Posted at 20:41h, 13 September

      When our son was little we taught him a ‘safe word’. In the event of an emergency, or if a teacher, police officer, fireman, or other ‘official’ approached him, as well as a stranger, and asked him to leave with them without telling him our secret word, then he was not to go with them, period. If they persisted, he was to scream, pitch a fit, run away, or do anything to draw attention to the situation. Thankfully he never had to use it, even though he was ready, but to this day he still remembers the word!

      Just make the word something fun, and unique, to your family. Something that would be easy for your child to remember, but not common enough for the average person to think of. And make sure to stress that it’s to be kept secret, just for the family. Most children love keeping secrets!

  • Nancy
    Posted at 10:47h, 12 May

    A bunch of sickos out there 🙁 I hope the police are able to do something about their attempts. It’s scary to think of how many kids have fallen prey to their tactics 🙁

    I still worry about my older son (now 20!) because he’s so kind-hearted, and, yes, naive even for his age. As a mom to a 2 year old as well, I am going to be putting this info at the forefront of my thinking to present to him as appropriate — I love the tricky people approach as opposed to the one I took with ‘don’t talk to strangers’ and such, as this seems more child-friendly, and poses it in language kids can more easily comprehend.

    Passing it along to family as well –

    PS – So glad your boys are safe!!! Looking forward to an update if/when the police provide one as to the perverts who tried to lure your little guys away

  • Sarah @ Foxy's Domestic Side
    Posted at 11:25h, 12 May

    OH my goodness, this is so smart! I taught my kids about people trying them to get them to go somewhere with them, but I never thought about this sort of situation! I’m going to have to chat with my kids about this. Thanks!

  • S
    Posted at 11:39h, 12 May

    Thank you ever so much for sharing. I hope you informed the Police as hopefully there would be CCTV outside a hospital and they could catch them

  • Buffie larocca
    Posted at 12:42h, 12 May

    I can’t thank you enough for this article and links. I always avoided stranger danger w my 5 year old because I believe some strangers are pure Angels in disguise. But this is a beautiful approach that feels right.

  • Jane Smythe
    Posted at 14:51h, 12 May

    I had to laugh at the comment about Fitzgerald being the “originator” of this idea. My kids are 18 and 15 and this was the exact strategy we used with them (I’ve never heard of the woman or the website before now). We also talked about how even if a stranger tells you their name, that doesn’t make them a friend and we talked a lot about how it didn’t make sense for a grown up to be seeking help or advice from a child vs. another adult. Interestingly, those discussions naturally lead to discussions about advertising and marketing with my kids making the connection that TV and magazine ads also try to trick people into spending money. I know a lot of my friends used to tell their little ones if they couldn’t find a police officer to go to for help (if separated, etc) they should find a mom with kids to ask for help. I was never sure about that one, but thankfully never had that experience with young children.

  • Tamandra Rose
    Posted at 18:11h, 12 May

    I knew from the description what was wrong before you even said ovarian cyst! Almost the same thing happened with me.
    I was hoplme alone with my almost 1 ear old Daughter, husband was on his ship (us navy) 3 mins away with no cell service. I left him a message to find on lunch break. Tried to take a shower and ended up having my sweet neighbor take me and DD to the ER, and watched my daughter till my hubby got the message on linch break and met us there!
    Havent had that kind of pain since child birth. Ill be checking these out as my daughter gets older!

  • Melissa
    Posted at 22:18h, 12 May

    Please tell us you called the police to report this. That hospital must have cameras all over the place and calling would help prevent this from happening again. Really scary. I’m glad your family is safe. I will definitely look into this info.

    • Jodie
      Posted at 23:42h, 14 May

      Hi Melissa,

      I did call and report this incident to the police. They retrieved the video footage from the hospital and said they are pursuing this as far as they legally can. Thanks for your concern. 🙂

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 00:50h, 13 May

    I just want to make sure that you’re including discussions about known adult danger. I know from personal experience that often the worst offenders are known, trusted adults. It’s very important that kids learn that it’s not just strangers that may make them uncomfortable or do things that aren’t ok and that it’s ok to tell their parents when something makes them uncomfortable- even if it’s done by a family member or friend.

    • Sharon G.
      Posted at 12:29h, 01 October

      That is so true, in fact children are hurt more by family members and friends than strangers, which makes it a much more difficult conversation, especially when other family members are in denial. It’s all needed, so I really appreciate this article. This is a crazy world for kids, and sometimes the tricky person is already in your house.

  • Junque Male
    Posted at 08:35h, 13 May

    I am an empty nester grandma and will be forwarding this to my children. One thing I find sad but necessary is to be mindful of how I interact with children I meet in stores, etc. By nature I’m a friendly person and enjoy interacting with children I meet But I am careful to never interact with a child on their own, and have even said that I am only chatting with them because they are here with their mommy or daddy. I don’t want our fun interaction to make them feel comfortable with someone else. If a child on their own strikes up a conversation I always ask where their parents are and have them go get them because I am someone they don’t know so Mommy or Daddy need to talk to me first. Just trying to support a pattern of being friendly without being too trusting. I don’t want these little ones to feel fear of strangers, just to be safe with them.

  • Peggy Berry
    Posted at 11:16h, 13 May

    Just wondering if your boys had thought to remove themselves from the situation by going inside to where safe adults were. Believe me, I am not criticizing them in their behavior. Merely offering another alternative to their polite “no thank you” when the tricky person had become insistent.

  • Alexis kim
    Posted at 14:07h, 14 May

    You should let authorities know. They can pull videos from the hospital and probably get these sick people. Who knows how many people they have kidnapped. Sounds like it was not their first rodeo.

  • Heywood
    Posted at 06:16h, 15 May

    Thanks for sharing. I have a 35 year old son and a 43 year old. I will definitely be going over these rules at our next family meeting!

  • Jamie
    Posted at 10:25h, 15 May

    How utterly alarming. I’m so very glad your children are safe. I hope that you’ve called the police on this as the kids can give a description, and a general time frame given to the police may have them able to pull security camera video from the hospital to catch a tag number so that other children out there can remain safe. Again, I’m so glad your’s had recall of your safety talk.

  • Karen
    Posted at 13:40h, 15 May

    I just ordered both books by Pattie Fitzgerald. With what is going on now as concens transgender restrooms, perhaps she could also write a book about that? I think we are going to need it.

    • Kat
      Posted at 17:49h, 21 May

      Hi Karen.

      I don’t usually comment on blogs, but I feel I have to this one time to call out your comment above. I’m not 100% sure what you mean by needing a book about transgender restrooms, but it looks disturbingly as though you are implying transgender people are ‘tricky people’ or dangerous in some way towards children – which is blatently untrue. Firstly – transgender people are the same as everyone else. Namely, they are individuals, with feelings and values and morals. (And bladders that require bathroom usage!) They are persecuted enough in society without ignorant and prejudiced comments directed at them in blog posts. Secondly – accusing all transgender people of being ‘tricky people’ (as your comment above sounded like you were doing) is the same as accusing all men of being pedophiles – unfair, untrue, and extremely hurtful and disrespectful.

  • Cynthia Duell
    Posted at 14:12h, 15 May

    I’ve also been really grateful for a book called “The Swimsuit Lesson” written by a former police officer who dealt with the bad outcomes of these situations. The author is Jon Holsten, it’s available on Amazon.

  • Colette
    Posted at 16:30h, 15 May

    Glad youve resourced your children in how to deal with an untoward situation!

    The politeness of their response possibly helped diffuse the situation.

    Glad they are ok

  • Beverly Eads
    Posted at 19:00h, 15 May

    My husband, a high school teacher, shared this post with me (we’re always looking for ways of presenting various “issues” to kids – young’n’old)

    I remember well the discussions that I had with my children when they were tykes (they are now 46, 40, 38 and 33) Seems like an eternity ago! But it did provide each of us with a little bit of relief – knowing various methods of dealing with an array of off-the-wall situations. And having a few “solutions” verbalized and demonstrated over time – empowered the kids and eliminated anxiety levels for them.

    I’ve ordered 2 copies of each of Pattie Fitzgerald’s books …. One set will be sent to my husband’s youngest daughter – a new mommy of a now 5-month old; the other set will be sent to my grand-daughter who’s mommy to a 3 1/2 year old (we’re a blended family.) I’m certain that both young families will benefit from reading these and will implement the methods in appropriate ways as the grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter grow up.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences – so that others can benefit from what you’ve learned!
    (and YES! ovarian cysts are horribly painful!!!!)

  • Jessica
    Posted at 19:42h, 15 May

    Did you contact the arbor kites??

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 09:54h, 16 May

    just a little edit…it should read, “drove my four kids and myself five minutes to the ER.”

  • Debra Chiarello
    Posted at 10:07h, 16 May

    Love the “tricky people” alternative to stranger danger. Children should always be taught that responsible adults NEVER ask children for help. As a First Responder, mom and grandmother, may I give you some sage advice? When you are in severe pain, do not place your precious children in the car and drive yourself to the hospital!! Since you don’t know what is causing the pain, you are placing yourself, your children, and other people in danger should you pass out, or just find yourself doubled over in pain and unable to drive. You could have ended up with yourself AND your children in the hospital! Instead, call 911!! The paramedics will help you, and will not leave your children unattended. They will assess your vitals, and transport you to the hospital much more quickly. Additionally, this is a perfect example of how important it is to KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS! With a husband who traveled often, and worldwide, I was left at home with 3 children to care for. Had I not gotten to know my neighbors, I would have been “up a creek without a paddle” on several occasions. Mom’s need support systems, people you can turn to in the event of an emergency, for situations just like this one. Do not put yourself in the position of having to leave your precious children alone in a hospital emergency room. It is NOT a safe place, too many people travel in and out of ER’s. Please, I urge you, make a concerted effort to find one or two people who you trust, who can respond relatively quickly, in the event of an emergency..

    • Julie Borkowski
      Posted at 11:28h, 16 May

      Great advice! I totally agree! There are many lessons to pass on with this story than just the ones about strangers.

    • Jodie
      Posted at 20:57h, 16 May

      Hi Debra,

      Your advice is spot on and I totally agree in hindsight the decision I made to load my kids into the car and drive while in pain was irresponsible. I’m fairly certain now that severe pain has a way of altering rational decision making as I made a slew of stupid decisions that morning that I would never have made in my right mind. God bless guardian angels. We had just relocated to this small town from several states away just under a week prior to this incident happening, so I had yet to meet my new neighbors. Having done all the wrong things this time around, I’m hoping to do it better next. Thanks again for your concern.

  • Julie Borkowski
    Posted at 11:25h, 16 May

    I am wondering how the sicko’s knew to be there in the first place? I think your story is still important to pass on though. The ER staff should be informed if people are stalking the waiting room like that. Many hospitals now employ full time police officers in the ER because all kinds of patients tend to come in and some try to gain access to the hospital to finish the job that brought someone in the ER in the first place. That is also why you see security glass and doors separating the check in desk and triage areas from the public area. I applaud your initiative to inform others though. I say this as a nurse who worked in many level one trauma centers during my career. The ER was probably the least safest places to work out of all the departments, and they were well aware of the need to protect the patients and the staff from the riff raff. Perhaps the smaller towns don’t have that kind of security?

  • Nichole
    Posted at 11:46h, 16 May

    My husband and I are Den Leaders for my sons Cub Scout group and we recently role played situations like this to teach our boys “safe and smart”. I’m so glad we did. Even though we’ve talked with them numerous times and role played over and over I still like to revisit it! I think the more you do the more confident they will be in a tricky situation.

    We’ve talked with our son about staying safe with strangers since he could talk but I love the tricky people idea. I’m definitely going to use this with our boys!

    Ps I almost cried reading about how these people tried to manipulate your children. There are scary people out there. Thank God you and your husband had prepared them so well!! You did an awesome job Mom. We can’t always be there to keep our kids safe, we just can’t. Your story is a perfect example of a that. All we can do is do our best to empower them with knowledge so they know what to do and your boys did exactly the right thing, you should be very proud 😀

  • Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama
    Posted at 15:08h, 16 May

    So scary! I will be using this language with my girls.

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 07:08h, 17 May

    Great read! So clever of your kiddos! Thank you for this. I will teach this to my daughter.

  • Vern Lovic
    Posted at 07:42h, 17 May

    I missed it. What happened when you had the police look over the hospital’s video records to find these people that attempted to “probably” abduct your kid(s)??

    • Jodie
      Posted at 14:34h, 17 May

      Hi Vern,

      The officer said he was going to pass the video footage onto the detective department to see if those four people matched up with anyone that’s currently on their radar. Haven’t heard back from them in about four days. :/ I’m not sure what’s going to come of it?

  • Allison Musick
    Posted at 09:41h, 17 May

    Oh man. I don’t know you but I’m SO GLAD your kids are safe. I can’t imagine. And I hope you’ve recovered well. Thank you for sharing – I’m sure you’ve given many, many people some important tools here.

  • Karen Johannessen
    Posted at 09:56h, 17 May

    Blessings to you for this story! Hope you’re feeling better now. Forwarding…
    The “Tricky people” concept is so much more useful than the blanket “stranger danger”!

  • Joy H
    Posted at 13:10h, 17 May

    Be sure to notify security. The person(s) harassing might be sexual predator and in violation of parole. This was the case with the man who tried to trick my 4 yo son into leaving with him. Happened on Dad’s watch, he assumed police would do nothing ( man had fled when he saw my DH). Police used video footage.

  • Porter K
    Posted at 20:11h, 17 May

    So glad this article found its way to me! I’m always telling my little ones that they can talk to strangers, but not go anywhere with them…I like the “tricky person” concept. In the back of my mind I’m always thinking that one day my kids may have to “go with a stranger” like a police for help or in an ambulance, etc. and my teaching falls short. This is great. Thank God you taught your boys and they were so smart and stayed safe! Sharing this on my blog’s FB page, Our Beautifully Messy House. Thank you!!!

  • Linda Pratt
    Posted at 02:36h, 18 May

    When my girls were young….stranger danger… was the catch call! I asked my, what I thought were clever, girls…’what does a stranger look like?’ One of them replied that strangers wear masks! I was gobsmacked that she thought ‘bad’ people were walking around with masks! This is a GREAT concept to teach and as an early childhood teacher I will certainly be advocating for the purchase of these resource books! Thanks for sharing….child safety is a necessary part of life these days and the responsibility for ALL of us!

  • Lori J. O'Connell
    Posted at 08:29h, 18 May

    Thank you so much for sharing this story, including the valuable information about purchasing the two books. I went through 13 years of Fertility treatments, 7 miscarriages, and I won’t even mention the money or the hormonal lay enhanced depression and despair to finally have my dream come true. I gave birth to twin boys, perfect and beautiful in every way. I had hired a woman for help, when I broke my hand three week later. Un-be-know set to me, at the time, she started making, “anonymous” phone calls to CPS! The Boys were,”Legally Abducted”, at 16 months old. Through this corrupt,” Industry”, it took me 2 1/2 years to get my children home. For many months, I heard, “I want to go home”, from one or the other, they were not referring to MY home, but the home they spent in those ever so important bonding and developmental years.
    Yesterday marked 1 year of thier return. They are, deep down, the “good boys” at heart that I was originally raising exceptionally well. However, they are a mess inside, emotionally and behaviorally void of all trust, truth, loyalty, caring, and listening. I fear taking them anywhere because dangers, which lurk everywhere, not only by other people, but also by simply not running in the street, hiding in places such as malls, restaurants, and Chuck E. Cheese! They will loosen a hold on the hand and run without looking in busy parking lots, etc. I fear that they may, if the wrong person or person’s watching,picks up on this, they will e easily be lead and/ or lured into danger. This reading, the “Safety Books”, and whatever I can get my hands on are my tools of hope for my children. I grasp and grab anything and everything, especially prayer, to help me redevelop them. It is extremely wrong that this append to good people every day. The Government takes your children. If you are Lucky enough to get them back, they are dumped back to you scathed forever. There is no help offered in undoing what has been done to them. If you dare ask for it, there is a 98.9% chance you will lose them for good. Thank you for the information here.
    If you read this and anyone would like to learn more about the worst danger to our children, the following websites can be a great eye-opener to what most Americans do not want to know about “thier” Country, which only helps serve to perpetuate this Governmental destruction of children, families, and lives.
    Look up: The CPS “Industry”, “Statisics of children in foster care”, “Donnelly Justice”, “The Nancy Shaefer Story”. More readings will be mentioned on these sites, I word you, this is not for the weak at heart! It is REAL, and it is a Horror. It is very scary and it is happening every day!

  • Nancy Smith
    Posted at 10:05h, 18 May

    I see a couple others have already mentioned it, but please press the issue with not just the hospital security, but with the police! Make sure the police follow through and look for these guys, even if they were already on a “list.” They need to get PUT on a list if they weren’t already! There is NO WAY that was a legitimate request they were making, especially working in a team like that.

    • Nancy Smith
      Posted at 10:07h, 18 May

      Spelling correction to my message: “Make sure the police follow through … even if they WEREN’T already on a list.”

  • Jennifer Annis
    Posted at 06:15h, 19 May

    #1 Rule that I say to my kids OVER AND OVER…Adults do NOT ask kids for help. I don’t care if our best friend next door neighbor comes by and says he needs help finding his dog. He wouldn’t do that bc HE DOESNT NEED YOUR HELP, but if he did you say nope sorry and run off to safety. My family laughs at me when I go over and over this. Your story gives me hope that maybe amongst all of them laughing at me, the real danger and information is sticking with them. So thankful your kids did the right thing, hats off to them and you should be so proud of them and of you, for this!

  • Hm
    Posted at 08:05h, 19 May

    Thanks so much for sharing this story and the resources. I will be reading this with my kids.

  • Linda Stevens
    Posted at 08:52h, 19 May

    I intend to not only share this for my Facebook friends but I will also send myself an e-mail which I will title GIFT IDEAS TO KEEP KIDS SAFE. Thanks for the names of those two books.

  • Julie
    Posted at 08:59h, 19 May

    I love this!! As a Mom of 5 ages 11 to 6 we also talk a lot about temptations. People, including other unfamiliar CHILDREN, trying to.lure them to another location or nearby vehicle with anything enticing….puppies, kittens, etc. with their promises to ‘see more’ of whatever they are using. Have you seen the trending Target post? Sex trade individuals use CHILDREN to get other children away from adults, because they know we as Parents teach the Stranger Danger about adults, not children. Too often we neglect to teach them that an unfamiliar child can be just as dangerous! This too should be commonly taught. Thanks for the book suggestions!!

  • Sue B
    Posted at 21:13h, 19 May

    Thanks for the great information. I will add this to my teaching and check out the books listed. I have a five year old that I have had to teach about personal safety. There is also a great book called “My Underpants Rule” which has really helped him know what to do if he is touched inappropriately by anyone.

  • Linda
    Posted at 17:13h, 20 May

    Wow. That is scary. I’m glad your boys are safe and that you taught them early enough about tricky people so that they recognized those tricky people for what they were. I shudder to even think of what could have happened to them if they went into that bathroom. I need to teach my four-year-old about tricky people. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Ethan
    Posted at 00:06h, 23 May

    Good job! Another major point that I try to keep at the top of my kids’ minds is that people who seek out an interaction with you must be put through a much stricter filter than people who you seek out an interaction with. You can pick someone at random out of a crowd and, no matter how scary they look, you are highly unlikely to be in any immediate danger from them. Those are just the odds. But when someone picks YOU those odds are out the window.

    • Jodie
      Posted at 21:51h, 23 May

      That is a great suggestion Ethan. I’ve never thought about teaching it that way, but it makes complete sense. Thank you for sharing that–I’ll definitely be adding this to our stay-safe mix.

  • Hope
    Posted at 09:30h, 23 May

    What a smart boy,so glad things turned out well,unfortunately tricky people or predators same thing I think,are not always strangers but can be members of your own family or someone close to you who is trusted and loved by all therefore can be even more dangerous,you can never trust anyone with your precious children except God.Keep eyes on them and pray that they will be as smart as C.J.Children have built in intuition by God that can protect them in some cases.God bless and keep all God’s children and the tricky people too because they also are God’s children gone terribly wrong.Romans chapter one verses18 through chapter2 of Romans shows what’s happening.Many blessings to you.

  • Jessica Traeger-Link
    Posted at 08:44h, 25 May

    Wow – so glad your kids are safe! We got Pattie’s books a few years ago for our kids. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her style and approach to being safe and that she writes in a way the even young kids can grasp. Thank you for sharing this frightening story.

  • LIsa Josephsen
    Posted at 10:22h, 25 May

    Did this really happen though? What are the chances that in your extremely specific case of your boys waiting outside of a hospital ER (and why were they waiting outside rather than inside?), some random bad guys happened to be patrolling this particular ER for unaccompanied children? This story is story is either made up, or you just have the worst luck in the entire planet and should go buy a lottery ticket immediately. Plus, most ERs have CCTV or some type of security coverage-did you file a report and did they release stills of the videos to identify these alleged abductors?

    • Jodie
      Posted at 14:43h, 25 May

      Hi Lisa,

      When I published this post, I fully expected to receive criticism for various aspects of our story, but I didn’t expect to be accused of fabricating the whole thing. That’s a new one. Haha. If I made this story up, I for sure wouldn’t have thrown myself under the bus and admitted to the world that I stupidly left my boys on a bench outside the ER. Alone. Nor that I was irresponsible enough to put my kids in the car and drive while in crazy amounts of pain. 😉 I can’t change whether people believe this incident actually happened or not.

      What I can do, I already did. I shared this very real event that happened to my sons in hopes that families could use it as a jumping off point for their own stay-safe discussions.

      As a side note, when a past neighbor got wind of this event she told me that Oprah did a show on child molesters years back and the ER was one of the places they’d go to find victims? I haven’t watched that episode to verify this because I personally can’t hear about child abuse specifics without losing my mind, but if it’s true, I guess it’d make sense in that the ER is definitely a place where parents are largely distracted. Just throwing that out there.

      P.S. The police retrieved the hospital’s video footage that backed up my boys’ story 100%, so I guess that makes us one very unlucky family.

  • AC
    Posted at 20:38h, 26 May

    I’m calling BS on your claim that strangers tried to lure your child into a bathroom in a hospital (show me a hospital ER that doesn’t have a heavy police presence at all hours of day/night and multiple security cameras).

    When you embellish small facets, you detract from the larger message that is actually valid. Shame on you.

    • Lorraine
      Posted at 15:39h, 29 May

      I’ve actually never seen police at the ER in our small-town hospital, believe it or not!

    • Brenda Shell
      Posted at 21:16h, 29 May

      It can be easy to overlook and/or misread information sometimes when we are reading blogs and online posts. You may have missed that the hospital security department verified the incident via video footage, and the police department is attempting to identify the car and the individuals involved. Also, regarding police presence at emergency departments (I have spent considerable amounts of time in and around ED’s in multiple cities due to work responsibilities) the unfortunate reality is that most of them simply do not have this.

  • Kaley K.
    Posted at 07:06h, 29 May

    Wow. I do not doubt your story, and for those who do, what makes it so impossible? Emergency rooms are perfect for predators – everyone is distracted. I hope that the naysayers do not have children, because they are unaware that a story like this can, does, and may happen to any one of us.

  • Jennifer page
    Posted at 13:29h, 29 May

    Thank you so much for sharing. We do tricky people but I never once considered to tell them adults don’t ask kids for help only other adults.

    Again thank you!

  • Brian Canavan
    Posted at 07:51h, 31 May

    Bloody scary. Thank you for posting and sharing

  • Jacob Goforth
    Posted at 10:03h, 31 May

    Good info, except you inadvertently bring up an important semi-unrelated lesson: if you’re having “unbearable pain that had me doubled over, light-headed, and incredibly nauseous,” then you MUST NOT drive yourself to the hospital! Next time either call an ambulance or have a neighbor drive you. By driving yourself, you put yourself, your kids, & other motorists in immense danger–arguably just as much danger as the tricky people placed your kids in! Had you passed out driving, the result could’ve been death or vehicular manslaughter. As an EMT myself, you could’ve had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy which requires immediate surgery due to catastrophic internal blood loss. Fortunately it was just a burst ovarian cyst. If an ambulance comes & transports you, they’ll have a police officer watch your children until a trusted neighbor, friend, or your parents arrive. Please call an ambulance next time.
    You also need to call police & report an ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING–a Felony. Every hospital now has lots of cameras, which most likely caught the attempted abductors in their act. Time is of the essence because that security cam footage will only be present for a few days before it is taped over. With video & your kids’ statements; there is more than enough for probable cause to affect an arrest of those punks! If you’re still debating making a police report, think of this: if that woman & two men were that brazen with your sons, then they absolutely will try that again on other kids. I’m a former police investigator & those punks need to be stopped before they hurt someone! Please don’t delay in calling police now.

    • Jodie
      Posted at 10:36h, 31 May

      Hi Jacob,

      You bring up a very good point–one that I’ve kicked myself for multiple times since. I did not make the brightest choice while “under the influence” of pain. Hopefully I never have a chance to do this over and get it right!

      Also, I did contact the police and they retrieved the necessary surveillance footage to pursue this as far as they can.

      Thanks again for your comment and concern.

  • anonymous
    Posted at 10:52h, 05 June

    If they had been tricked then you would be getting charged much like the mother whose son went in the Gorilla cage for not keeping a close watch. In my opinion your lack of attention towards the children is far worse than the few seconds lapse at the zoo.

  • dawbln sullivan
    Posted at 11:33h, 06 June

    Please ignore the negative comments. You are obviously a great mom or your kids would not have been educated about this kind of danger. People lovee to think tthey would “never do that.” Having never been in your shoes, they have no clue what they are saying. You are so brave to post this story and by doing so you have been exposed to the darker side of commenters…but more importantly you have educated so many families and I firmly believe that your post saving lives. My kids have watched “Safe Side Super Chick” which made them laugh while they were learning. But I want to add this “tricky person” information. We can never arm them with enough information. On a side note, my parents came upnwith a code word that a friend or neighbor picking us up would know. If someone said they were picking us up because mom couldn’t come, they had to know thee code word. This was before the days of cell phones. We never needed it but it felt safer knowing there was some level of protection between us and a tricky person/aka bad guy. And kudos that your kids knew that women can be tricky, too. I can’t thank you enough for your post.

  • Tina Sabo
    Posted at 12:37h, 08 June

    ALLLL these back seat drivers…must be nice to be perfect. Might want to pull the wood out of your eye before trying to pick the splinter out of this blogger. Glad everything turned out and I’m sure IF you could have a do over…but there is no such thing and we learn from our experiences. I will be incorporating this information with my youngest. Thank you for sharing your experience so that I can learn from it too.

  • Tricky, tricky - Trending Parent
    Posted at 03:59h, 09 June

    […] their knowledge of ‘tricky people’, two boys avoided a potential abduction outside of an ER. Three adults approached one mom’s 8 and 10-year-old sons and asked for […]

  • Rachel Booker
    Posted at 11:49h, 09 June

    I have never told my son not to talk to strangers. I have taught him that he can certainly approach strangers if his parents are right there and give him permission (for example, to ask if he can pet a dog), but that if he is ever separated from us in public, he is to ask a police officer, a firefighter (his addition) or a mom WITH KIDS for help. And under any circumstances, if someone ever tries to take him somewhere, he is to yell and scream and kick, bite, punch, hit with hard objects and whatever else he must do to escape.

  • Viral Parenting Posts of the Week - Fullact Trending Stories With The Laugh Mixture
    Posted at 06:30h, 12 June

    […] 9. HOW THE “TRICKY PEOPLE” CONCEPT SAVED MY BOYS Sneak Peek: Quick backstory. Actually, I’m incapable of condensing anything so it can be considered “quick” but I’ll try. Three days ago I was in the shower around 8:30am when it felt like I was shot in my left ovary. You didn’t see that one coming, did you? ???? In short, it was an unbearable pain that had me doubled over, light-headed, and incredibly nauseous. Well, with the help of some unseen angels, truly, I somehow got enough clothes on my body to be decent, and drove my four kids and myself five minutes to our small town ER. (I realized after this all blew over how foolish it was for me to drive while in intense pain. Be smarter than I was and call an ambulance should you find yourself in a similar situation!) Read more on Time Well Spent here.  […]

  • Mila Senn
    Posted at 06:33h, 16 June

    This is great story I like the use of the term “Tricky People” The facts are for parents of boys public bathrooms have always potentially been an unsafe place for them. Not because there are gay men in there waiting to turn my son gay, but because a pedifile (usually a man that identifies himself as straight) might prey on my unsuspecting innocent boy and expose himself. I have never run into a creepy women in the bathroom. Pedifile don’t go to the trouble to dress up as another gender to offend in a bathroom, that’s dumb, they are way too smart for that. They pose as coaches, camp counselors, ministers, priest the kind of people you hand your kids over too thinking there safe.. Little girls are in more danger of being molested by family friends not by a stranger in the bathroom

  • Sarah W
    Posted at 02:04h, 21 June

    I am alarmed and ashamed that so many people (often coincidentally and bravely named the same “Anonymous”) are so eager to shame, correct, blame and generally do the exact behavior they are condemning you for. Namely: not making a perfect decision. These types of people are reacting — and carelessly. Even themselves acting in predatory behavior as they so easily give obvious “advice,” as if they are . Even you commenters who patronizingly weigh-in, congratulating the author while sharing your disbelief that something like that could happen, or giving a “you oughta” lesson like you made up the rules of life. People: WAKE UP! What will happen if someday YOU make a mistake and that mistake turns out with actual, terrible consequences. Living by your condemnation, there will be no recovery! And no one there to stand by you to sympathize and try to learn a lesson from your oversight.

    Jodi, I’m utterly impressed (amazed?!) by your respectful answers and patience and response to all the uncouth, ignorant, and frankly disgusting displays of human reaction in these comments. I understand we all react with disbelief and maybe horror when we hear of simple mistakes of others that do/can have terrible consequences. But if we don’t realize the horror is in the reality that bad things can happen through innocent mistakes, and like another commenter said above, we can stop shaming/blaming and condemning others to assure our fears that terrible things could never happen to us. Instead of being grateful for a lesson learned not at our own expense. Bless you for your bravery in sharing so candidly and responding with such a good-natured humor! I’m sorry this is so scathing and angry, but people seem to have lost all sense of civility, and are spending it on someone willing to be vulnerable in order to help other people. Sounds like the definition of a predator to me!!

    • Jodie
      Posted at 18:46h, 29 June


      Thank you for your kind words and support. I seriously needed it! You and most others have been very supportive and have taken this post for what it was intended–a learning opportunity. I really appreciate all the commenters that have reached out in kindness and gratitude for the information provided, especially when some of the pieces of this post left me wide open for criticism and judgment! Thank you.


  • Mike
    Posted at 02:12h, 25 August

    You did good parenting. And your boys showed good sense. I don’t think any rational person would or could blame you for their encounter with these creeps. And honestly you now know your children better and know more of what they can handle.

    I spend a lot of time with kids in the 4H club I work with and some kids older than them would have been tricked.

    • Jodie
      Posted at 21:05h, 31 August

      Thank you Mike. Thankfully my boys did show good sense in the situation I unintentionally placed them in. We’ll be forever grateful for that!

  • Norma Napier
    Posted at 01:32h, 14 September

    I am praising God for keeping your children safe and for taking care of you as well. WE all make mistakes throughout our lives and some are more costly than others.. I read through every comment and I stand with those who are in gratitude to you for sharing your story in hopes of helping others keep their children and/or grandchildren safe.. I am a retired nurse but I have been in charge of ER. I can tell you honestly that a security guard is not always present at the exact location and time that he/she is needed the most. There are many reasons why they can’t always be at the right place at the right time to prevent an abduction or even a murder.. Today, our children aren’t safe ‘anywhere.’ They are even being abducted from their own bedrooms at night.. Newborn babies have been taken from the hospital.. The list goes on and on and now we even have people dressing up as clowns trying to lure children into the forests among other places.. It is my prayer that people will stop attacking others who are humble and caring enough to warn of new tactics and wordings that are being used to try to get our children.. This world is over flowing with perversion and pure evil.. We need to stand together in love and compassion and offer support instead of more hatefulness and cruelty.. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing yourself to be on the chopping block in order to offer an alertness through your story. I pray God will richly bless you and continue to protect you and yours… In warmest Christian love to you and your children…

    • Jodie
      Posted at 21:27h, 26 September

      I can’t thank you enough for your comment Norma. So sweet, so Christian, and so needed. Thank you.

  • Marzo
    Posted at 10:21h, 16 September

    This is such great advise! Thank you for sharing.

  • Mum's two sons were 'saved from potential abduction' thanks to two words she taught them | London News
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  • Mum's two sons were 'saved from potential abduction' thanks to two words she taught them - UK News
    Posted at 09:18h, 26 March

    […] Norton explained on her blog, Time Well Spent , how she had been in the shower in the morning when she felt an unbearable, stabbing pain in her […]

  • Utah mom reveals how her children were saved from potential abduction by remembering what she had taught them about ‘tricky people’ | Breaking News Time | Live News | Current News | Fast News - US, UK & World
    Posted at 03:05h, 27 March

    […] ‘It wasn’t until my boys came home from school at 3:30pm, that I found out they had been waaaay late to school,’ she wrote on her blog Time Well Spent. […]

  • Mum’s horror at hearing her two sons were almost abducted by THREE people within 40 minutes… but were saved after remembering her safety advice | Bingo Byte
    Posted at 04:42h, 27 March

    […] on her blog, Time Well Spent, she said: “It wasn’t until my boys came home from school at 3:30pm, that I found out they had […]

  • Mom’s Certain These Two Words Saved Her Kids From A Near Abduction
    Posted at 12:06h, 28 March

    […] school at 3:30pm, that I found out they had been waaaay late to school,” Norton wrote on her blog Time Well Spent. “I had wrongly assumed my neighbor was coming from his house (not somewhere farther away), […]

  • Mum's sons saved from abduction thanks to 2 words she taught them - Ice Trend
    Posted at 05:13h, 29 March

    […] at 3:30pm, that I found out they had been waaaay late to school,’ she wrote on her blog Time Well Spent […]

  • Two words that could save your child from abduction - KidStart - a little help along the way
    Posted at 10:24h, 29 March

    […] of four, Jodie Norton explains in her blog, Time Well Spent, the safety rule she taught her children that may have saved their lives! Her approach could help […]

  • Every Parent Needs to Teach Their Kids This Mom's "Tricky People" Rule ASAP
    Posted at 11:09h, 29 March

    […] sat out front of the ER for 40 minutes. Not the five minutes I had expected,” she wrote on her blog. “Their story of what had transpired while I had stupidly left them out there alone made me […]

  • La peor pesadilla de los padres: ¿Qué hacer si un extraño acecha sospechosamente a tu hijo?
    Posted at 16:57h, 29 March

    […] encerrado y no quería ir al doctor.” data-reactid=”103″>Como la misma Norton narró en su blog, sus hijos experimentaron entonces un acoso muy real de una mujer y dos hombres que se les […]

  • La peor pesadilla de los padres: ¿Qué hacer si un extraño acecha sospechosamente a tu hijo? – ATB Argentina
    Posted at 21:19h, 29 March

    […] la misma Norton narró en su blog, sus hijos experimentaron entonces un acoso muy real de una mujer y dos hombres que se les […]

  • La peor pesadilla de los padres: ¿Qué hacer si un extraño acecha sospechosamente a tu hijo? – Radio Metropolitana 99.7
    Posted at 00:50h, 30 March

    […] la misma Norton narró en su blog, sus hijos experimentaron entonces un acoso muy real de una mujer y dos hombres que se les […]

  • La peor pesadilla de los padres: ¿Qué hacer si un extraño acecha sospechosamente a tu hijo? – Masi Radio – 92.7 Mhz
    Posted at 01:00h, 30 March

    […] la misma Norton narró en su blog, sus hijos experimentaron entonces un acoso muy real de una mujer y dos hombres que se les […]

  • Mom saves her kids from being abducted with one important lesson | Celebrity Peak
    Posted at 23:11h, 30 March

    […] a moment of what I deem foggy-thinking ‘pain brain,'” Norton wrote in a post on her blog, “I left my two oldest boys–CJ (10) and T-Dawg (8)-outside the ER door on a bench to await […]

  • To små gutter unngikk potensielle kidnappere på grunn av at de husket mammas tips - Sosialnytt.com
    Posted at 16:43h, 31 March

    […] Innlegget er skrevet av Jodi Norton, og publisert på bloggen hennes Time Well Spent.  […]

  • These Kids Avoided A Potential Abduction After Using Three Words Their Mom Taught Them – Natural Healing
    Posted at 23:54h, 31 March

    […] the strangers eventually gave up and drove off. Then, “Shortly afterward, the neighbor showed up and my boys jumped in his car, but, not before they saw a third adult male […]

  • Teaching kids about ‘Stranger-Danger’ is NOT enough – MOMSPRING
    Posted at 01:41h, 04 April

    […] he was coming to pick them up and take them to school [sic],” Norton recounts on her blog, Time Well Spent. “I had wrongly assumed my neighbor was coming from his house (not somewhere farther away), […]

  • Young Boys Evade Potential Kidnappers After Remembering THIS Tip From Their Mom | Carlo Royalty
    Posted at 09:11h, 04 April

    […] Norton, a mom of four, recently wrote a blog post that gained a lot of attention. As the old “stranger danger” rule goes, strangers are dangerous […]

  • Les garçons vont être kidnappés devant l’hôpital – mais ils s’échappent grâce à un truc simple de leur mère - MEDIAVOR
    Posted at 14:02h, 04 April

    […] maman de quatre enfants et a récemment partagé un post  sur son blog Time Well Spent racontant le drame qu’elle aurait pu vivre il y a quelques […]

  • These Kids Avoided A Potential Abduction After Using Three Words Their Mom Taught Them
    Posted at 12:40h, 05 April

    […] as Jodie explained on her blog Time Well Spent, the boys “were approached by an adult female and two punk males who asked them if they’d […]

  • Every Parent Needs to Teach Their Kids This Mom's "Tricky People" Rule ASAP - Kaif Anli
    Posted at 06:11h, 15 April

    […] sat out front of the ER for 40 minutes. Not the five minutes I had expected,” she wrote on her blog. “Their story of what had transpired while I had stupidly left them out there alone made me […]

  • Mom Reveals The Two Words She Taught Her Children That Saved Them From Being Abducted
    Posted at 14:45h, 18 April

    […] so my two boys sat out front of the ER for 40 minutes. Not the five minutes I had expected,” said Jodie. This is when things started to get troubling… […]

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