She then revealed how warnings from her dad — who told her to ‘question everything, question everybody’ — led her to notice a man following her around in a store and ultimately escape him when he approached her in the parking lot.
Tips! Lauren Bell, owner of Cardy Couture Boutique, has gone viral on TikTok after sharing safety-minded quotes from her Secret Service agent father
Safety first! Her dad said ‘someone you trust should know your whereabouts at all times’
‘Start worrying about what’s in your head and not what’s on it,’ he told her
Ward them off! If you think someone is following you, make four right turns — ultimately going in a circle — to make sure. If they make all those turns too, they are definitely following you
To relay her dad’s advice, Lauren employed a popular TikTok trend in which people write quotes from loved ones on scenic, tranquil backgrounds, dressing them up as faux-inspirational quotes.
But Lauren’s dad’s advice is anything but common, with the Secret Service agent preaching hyper-alertness at all times.
One piece of sage advice he offered: ‘Nothing good comes after 11 p.m.’
By that same token, he warned to ‘never take a jog before 8 a.m.’
When out and about, he told her to ‘Keep your head on a swivel,’ ‘Never ever turn your back towards the door,’ and ‘Start worrying about what’s in your head and not what’s on it.’
On a practical note, he told her to only ‘order drinks that come in bottles’ because ‘they are harder to drug.’
Mace, meanwhile, ‘is meant to be kept in your hand, not your purse’ — as it would be totally useless if it can’t be reached quickly enough.
‘Never ever turn your back towards the door,’ he told her
Have it ready! Mace, meanwhile, ‘is meant to be kept in your hand, not your purse’ — as it would be totally useless if it can’t be reached quickly enough
Cute: Lauren employed a popular TikTok trend in which people write quotes from loved ones on scenic, tranquil backgrounds, dressing them up as faux-inspirational quotes
‘If you think you are being followed, make four right turns,’ he told her.
Her dad also advised her that ‘headphones should never leave the house’ and ‘someone you trust should know your whereabouts at all times.’
One tip that has since earned attention on TikTok is that generally, ‘men don’t ask for help’ — the implication being that if a man is flagging a woman down for assistance, it might be a technique to get her to come close and lower her guard.
As for traveling, Lauren’s dad warned that ‘no one in Miami is your friend’ and ‘there is no such thing as a safe place in New York City.’
Finally, he told her, ‘If you are shopping and you are bumping into somebody multiple times, it is most likely not a coincidence.’
That last bit of advice proved especially useful to Lauren, and she went on to share a story of the time that nugget of wisdom saved her life.
Danger in the dark: He warned her not to go running too early in the morning
Lurking: By that same token, he warned her that ‘nothing good comes after 11 p.m.’
Pay attention! Headphones can provide a distraction and make it more difficult to discern a threat
‘When I was growing up, my dad was always grilling into my head spacial awareness. Know where you are all the time,’ she says. ‘Question everything, question everybody.’
During Labor Day weekend of 2014, Lauren was shopping at Marshall’s when she noticed a man whom she ran into in several sections of the store.
She also noticed that he didn’t have a shopping cart or basket, which she thought was ‘weird’ and decided to pay closer attention.
While in the checkout line, she got a ‘weird feeling’ that someone was staring her down from behind, and turned around to find the man two people behind her — with just ropes for tying back curtains in his hand.
‘I just turn around and just start staring him down. I make eye contact with him. And one of the things that my dad taught me was [that] clothes can be removed, hair can be changed, but birthmarks and tattoos are always permanent.
‘So I literally look this man up and down to see if I can find anything on him at all that if something happened to myself or somebody else, I would be able to identify him,’ she said, noting that she spotted an eagle tattoo on his right calf.
Smart! Drinks in bottles make it much more difficult for strangers to slip drugs in
‘Men don’t ask for help’ — the implication being that if a man is flagging a woman down for assistance, it might be a technique to get her to come close and lower her guard
Stay safe! As for traveling, Lauren’s dad warned that ‘no one in Miami is your friend’ and ‘there is no such thing as a safe place in New York City’
Brilliant: Lauren also described a time that her dad’s lessons likely saved her life
The man ended up checking out before her in another lane and appeared to be gone when she finished her purchase — but she was still feeling wary.
‘Parking lots and parking garages are one of the biggest places that women are usually taken from,’ she said.
When she left the store, she discovered that he was hidden nearby, and was soon following behind her. He started talking to her, asking her to come to his car because he wanted her to model for him.
At this point, Lauren was afraid to go to her own car because he would be able to see her license plate, and if he was friends with someone in the police department, he could get her address.
Luckily, at that moment another car drove into the empty parking lot, and Lauren sprinted toward it — spooking the man into running away
‘It just goes to show, guys, this kind of stuff can happen anywhere, any place, any time of day. This was a Sunday, 4:45, super close to home, and thank god that I was aware,’ she said.