Part 3: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, Are There Angels Among Us?

I was living in North Carolina when I worked at the kiosk. After leaving my marriage, I moved into my first apartment with the custody of my three boys. When I say that starting over was tough and money was tight, I mean it. It was always a struggle to meet all of our basic needs. I worked hard and there were times when I had no idea how I was going to pull off paying all of the bills.

One particular morning, I woke up worrying about how I was going to pay a bill that was due the following day, in the amount of $50.00. Fifty dollars! That’s how tight it was.

I said a small, yet powerful, prayer I had said many times before, in various situations…

“God, make me a way when there is no way.”

Then I went off to work.

I was alone, working the 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM shift at my friend’s water massage kiosk.

It was after 8:00 PM when a man approached the kiosk and asked about purchasing a massage for his wife.

“Would your wife like to try the water massage?” I asked.

“She isn’t here,” he replied.

When it was slow, we often gave someone a free massage so that people would see the water massage machine in action. This would lead to a small crowd forming and ultimately other people wanting to try the massage machine too.

“Would you like to try a free massage?” I asked.

“Sure,” the man replied.

As we talked, I was overwhelmed by a sense of his kindness and compassion. I liked the way it felt to be around him. It was a strange feeling, one that I still can’t fully explain.

He was interesting to me. I couldn’t place his age or put a number on it at all. His hair was very short, even shaved, and light in color. His most outstanding feature was his eyes. They were very different from anything that I had ever seen before – they were almost clear.

He took off his shoes and I set the massage for fifteen minutes.

It was then, while he was getting his massage, that I realized that the mall was almost vacant during the time we had spent together so far.

What time was it anyway? Everything felt very surreal… yet I had no idea why.

The water machine stopped and I lifted the lid.

“How was it?” I asked.

“It was great!” He replied with a smile, as he put his shoes back on.

I couldn’t stop looking at his eyes.

“Would you like to be on our mailing list?” I asked. “Maybe you could bring your wife by one day. We have specials.”

‘Okay.” He said.

“What’s your email address?” I asked, handing him a pen.

He didn’t take the pen, but blurted out an email that ended with icloud.com.

I wrote it down and thanked him.

When he turned to leave, he looked me in the eye and said, “It was nice to meet you Erin,” as he slipped a tip into my hand.

“Nice to meet you, too,” I said, as I watched him walk away… wait, I didn’t even get his name.

I looked down at the paper where I had written his email address. Generic. No name there.

As if on cue, the traffic in the mall picked up.

I slowly uncurled my hand to expose what I thought was a dollar bill.

Fifty dollars.

I glanced up and I saw him standing quite still watching me from the landing before the stairs, with the busy shoppers circling and passing by.

He had a presence, I thought as a tear slid down my cheek.

I didn’t want him to leave.

I wanted to thank him again.

I left the kiosk unattended and ran up to him.

I hugged him and whispered, “Thank you.” in his ear.

It was like he knew.

He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me back.

It didn’t feel weird to hug a stranger… especially not this one, it felt like home.

I turned and walked back to the kiosk, questioning my own sanity, what had just happened and why I ran to embrace a total stranger who stood there in the crowd like he was waiting for me, like he knew it was exactly what I needed.

Back at the kiosk, I looked toward the stairs.

He was gone.

My eyes searched the crowds in every direction, he was nowhere to be found.

When I told my friend about this experience, she said, “Check the email. I bet you it doesn’t exist.”

I did. She was right. It didn’t.

Take from this story what you want.

I know what I believe.

And I know I will never forget those eyes.

 

The grand finale.

Part 4: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, The Psychic

 

Spoiler alert: I’m about to explain it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, I See Dead People

Call me crazy, but I kept the job at the kiosk.

It was fun, I was performing a service… and I just love people. What can I say?

On a rather slow afternoon, two men around nineteen or twenty years old, approached the kiosk.

“So how does this work?” asked the younger of the two, who was wearing a kick ass pair of cowboy boots.

“Well, you have to take off your boots and your belt.” I replied, “Then you lay on your stomach as I close the top, but your head is outside of the water massage machine. I give you a headset and you listen to music. The water massages you from your neck to your toes while the machine’s lining keeps you from getting wet.”

“Okay, I want to do it!” He said, “Give me forty minutes.”

He paid and began taking off his boots and belt. After he climbed in, I handed him the headset and set the water massage for forty minutes.

I turned to his friend.
“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Dave.” He replied.

“I’m Erin, Dave. Do you want a massage too? You can get in the other machine. Forty minutes is a long time to wait.”

“No, I’ll wait.” He replied, “I’m very claustrophobic.”

“We actually have a lot of people who are claustrophobic try it. It’s really not as scary as it looks.” I said.

“Ma’am, you don’t understand. I removed all the doors in my apartment and I had to lower the shower curtain rod in my bathroom a quarter of the way down.” Dave confessed.

“Wow, that’s really claustrophobic!” I agreed.

“I never talk about it.” Dave said, “My best friend Ben, here (Pointing to his friend in the massage machine) is the only one that knows.”

“Who knows what?” I asked.

Dave paused, “I feel that I can tell you. You have a light.”

“A light?” I repeated.

“I see dead people.” He continued, “My friend Ben is the only one that I told. Well, besides you, now.”

“One night, Ben and I were driving on a road that had fields on both sides… we were on our way to Taco Bell… anyway, I knew that someone was there.”

“Where?” I asked.

“In the car with us.” Dave said, “I looked in the rear view mirror and I saw the spirit of a girl in the back seat. That’s when I told Ben. I had to, he was with me but he couldn’t see her.”

“You have a gift.” I said, “But I bet it also seems like a curse.”

“You have no idea.” Dave replied. “I felt that the spirit of the girl that I had seen, died in a car accident. Ben and I looked it up and sure enough, she died on that road.”

“That’s quite a story.” I said, “I believe you. You shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.”

“Ma’am, you have a strong light. That’s why I knew that I could tell you, but I never tell anyone. I tried to tell my father when I was little and he ended up putting me in a mental hospital.”

“Why did your father put you in a mental hospital?” I asked.

“Well, my family bought a new house. I was only seven at the time. When my father took us to see it, I tried to tell him that there were spirits there…  that someone had died in the house. He called me crazy and we moved in any way.”

“So, what happened?” I asked.

“It got worse from there. I heard noises, slamming doors, I saw spirits, I couldn’t sleep and I was afraid to go into the kitchen.” Dave said.

“That must have been so frightening for a small boy.” I stated.

“It was.

It was also the reason that my father put me in a mental hospital. They told me that I was crazy.”

“Then one day, my father hired some contractors to put in a new kitchen floor. They showed up early in the morning and started pulling up the old tiles. My mother and father left to go to the grocery store. When they returned the contractors weren’t there but they left their tools all over the backyard.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“My father called the floor guy up and asked him the same question.” Dave said.

“What did he say?” I asked, feeling like I already knew the answer.

“He told my father that he wasn’t going to do the job… to get someone else… that they heard screaming coming from the house when they started pulling up the tiles in the kitchen… he told him that his house was haunted… he’d send someone to get the tools and he hung up.”

“After that my mother and father got me out of the mental hospital. We eventually sold that house and my father apologized to me. He also told me never to speak of any of it again. So I don’t, but I see spirits and now sometimes I hear them. I removed all my doors so none of the doors would open or close for no reason. I lowered the shower curtain because I’m never alone and I like to see who else is in the room. I don’t know what else to do.”

“Dave, you have a gift, you need to connect with other people who share your gift so you can learn how to manage it and use it for good in this world. It’s possible. There are plenty of Mediums who can connect with spirit and use it to bring their loved ones closure or to help the police solve crimes.” I said.

“Thank you, Erin.” Dave said, “I’m glad that I met you today.”

“Maybe, it was just meant to be Dave.” I replied.

Forty minutes had passed and the water massage machine ended its cycle.

Dave and I sat in silence as Ben put his boots and belt back on.

“That was freakin AMAZING! I feel GREAT!” Ben exclaimed.

Before we parted ways, Dave gave me a big hug and thanked me again.

I felt great too.

 

Coming up,

Part 3: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, Are There Angels Among Us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, The Stalker

He always wore a large straw hat.

I didn’t think it was strange at the time, but as I write this now, I guess it didn’t make much sense to wear a straw hat indoors to walk the mall.

One of my closest friends had purchased a kiosk. She owned two large machines that gave patrons water massages while they listened to music piped in through a headset.

The concept was ingenious and the massage powerful. The idea of having a water massage without getting wet drew many curious people to our kiosk.

Working at a kiosk also drew a lot of other attention.

It put you right in the middle of all of the action, the crowds of people, and front and center in the public eye.

The were no doors to close, no walls to protect you and no option to leave your location.

We called them the “Mall Walkers.”

They were there every morning with their sneakers and water bottles, to walk the mile of mall flooring to get their daily exercise.

“My name is Harry.” He said with a smile.

“Nice to meet you, Harry.” I replied.

That’s how it all began.

As simple as a greeting.

At first Harry would stop by daily to say hello and make small talk.

“How are you doing today?”

Then his visits become longer and more frequent.

His conversation, more questions about me than the small talk of the past weeks.

“So do you like sushi?” He asked me one day.

“Yes, I do.” I stated.

Harry began walking at the mall more than once a day. His walks had become scheduled around my shifts at the kiosk… although it took me a while to figure that out.

One day Harry brought me sushi for lunch. It was a nice gesture but he refused to take the money that I offered him to pay for it.

My friend that owned the kiosk was starting to become concerned.

“He’s just a lonely old man.” I said, naive to the danger that was about to ensue.

I started to dread seeing the top of that straw hat sticking out in the distance above the mall crowd.

Harry started to come to the kiosk for water massages.

Now he was a paying customer and that presented a new problem instituting boundaries with him.

He started to bring me random things that we may have mentioned during our conversation when he frequented the kiosk.

Photos of some roses that he made out of bent metal.

A Costco sized, ten pound jar of artichokes.

A bottle of Pinot Grigio.

I refused every gift, but after becoming visibly angry with me, he left them anyway.

Maybe Harry wasn’t so harmless.

One day, an employee from a store near our kiosk approached me.

“Erin, that guy with the straw hat is circling the parking lot trying to find your car. He asked me what kind of car you drive. I didn’t tell him.”

“Thanks for the heads up.” I said, feeling more uneasy about Harry and not knowing what I was going to do.

Harry started coming to the kiosk for water massages three times a day.

He was a paying customer, but no one needs three massages a day.

He would make excuses about a new ache or injury and linger at the kiosk both before and after the massage.

One night after the mall closed, he tried to follow me home.

I stared at the headlights in my rear view mirror as the vehicle behind me mimicked my every turn… Is it my imagination, or is the driver wearing a straw hat?

I finally lost him in traffic but my heart continued to pound.

Okay, my friend that owned the kiosk was right.

We had to do something.

When Harry showed up saying that he wanted to meet my parents and walk off into the sunset with me, that was about all I could take.

“Harry, you have to leave me alone!” I said firmly. “You can not talk to me or come to this kiosk anymore.”

“Ya know, I pleasure myself thinking about you every night.” He said.

“That’s it! Get away from me! I’m calling mall security!” I screamed.

Mall security told us it was our right to ban Harry from being a customer. They told Harry that he was no longer allowed to frequent our business or to come near it at all, for that matter.

Harry was furious!

He began writing me letters and following me as I walked through the mall on my way to work.

I parked my car in different locations each day, making sure that I didn’t enter or leave the mall through the same door.

Harry would hang around the location of the kiosk and watch through the glass windows of nearby stores.

In the end, Harry approached the kiosk with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine.

We contacted mall security and they escorted me to the safety of their office.

Harry ran through the mall after us yelling, “Please, I just want to talk to her and give her these flowers… and this bottle of pinot grigio…”

Two security guards grabbed Harry by the arms and took him out of the mall.

I never saw Harry again, but I continued to be on the lookout for a straw hat…

In fact, to this day, when I see a man wearing a straw hat, my anxiety level skyrockets as adrenaline pulses through my body.

Even with time, that hasn’t changed.

Join me for Part 2: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, I see Dead People

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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