Last night I drove a rider from the Perry Hall area to the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. Waiting to make the left off Saratoga onto Liberty I saw a terrified looking young woman run up to the car in front of me and try to get in. The light turned green, the car took off, she ran up to my car and I said to my passenger “Sorry man, I have to stop.” I rolled down my window to ask what was going on but she jumped in the backseat and buried her head in my passenger’s chest.
He was cool, thank God, and tried to console her — she could barely speak through her sobbing — then got the hell out of the car at the Arena box office.
I gave her my hand, which she latched onto fiercely, and tried talking to her but the near-hysteria remained. “I’m going to get in the back seat with you and we’ll talk, okay?” which I did and gave her some water to break the sobbing cycle (it mostly worked).
“Let’s start at the beginning. My name’s Jim. Whats yours?” Between quick breaths I got a “Kaitlyn”. “How much have you had to drink tonight?” “I don’t drink.”
Then she buried herself in my chest, clutched on to me like she was drowning and said my name a couple of times between unintelligible words.
“It’s okay, honey, it’s okay” I said.
“Where were you tonight?” All I could make out was “basketball.” “Okay, who were you with?” Then she started whispering so low I couldn’t hear her even with my ear an inch from her mouth. All I could make out was “girls.”
“Kaitlyn, if we stay here someone is going to call the police because we're not supposed to be parked here. There’s a Royal Farms on Key Highway where we can stop and find out what’s going on. Let’s get in the front seat (I was afraid she’d jump out of the car in the backseat) and go there, okay?” “Okay” and she climbed through the car to the front, but landed in the driver seat. Somehow she slammed her hand in the driver side door trying to close it (I’d left it open) and the hysteria started to ramp up.
I tried to help her into the passenger seat and that’s when she lost it. It’s also when I realized how unhinged she was, called 911 and asked for the police and an ambulance. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recall that I was on Liberty — “I’m at the box office of the Royal Farms Arena between Lombard and Baltimore” — which seemed to be unhelpful to 911.
She laid on the horn, perpetually, revved the engine, turned the steering wheel, I guess trying to get away. I reached in to take the keys from the ignition — “No! No! You stop it!” — but it wouldn’t come out: somehow the gear shift was in reverse. Thank God the emergency break was on.
“No! No! Get away!” she screamed and tried to close the driver side door where I was standing. Then she grabbed what she could of the keys and dove out the passenger side. The car key was still in the ignition but my other keys were nowhere to be found.
(During all this not one person stopped to find out what was going on)
Kaitlyn ran north on Liberty to W. Baltimore, tried to get into other cars and threw herself at whoever would stand still. I was still on the phone with 911 giving them a blow-by-blow and Kaitlyn started screaming at me “No! You stay away! You stay away!” A security guard turned and looked at me. “The police are on the way,” I said, which was good enough for him.
Then, in succession:
- An ambulance roared by
- Kaitlyn started walking east on W. Baltimore, just south of hysterical
- I lost sight of her
- A detective called and I gave him the short version
- The detective arrived and I gave him the long version with a description of young Kaitlyn: mid-twenties, about 5’ 7”, husky, dirty blonde hair with two braids in the back, black short-sleeve shirt open in the front, blue jeans rolled up at the ankle, fare skin, a few freckles on her nose and cheeks, called herself “Kaitlyn”
“She may have been drunk” the detective said. “I drive for Uber and have drunks around all the time and I didn’t smell any alcohol on her. I think she’s either traumatized or high. My guess is traumatized, but I don’t have a lot of experience with high people.” He assured me they were looking for her and helped me find my keys.
Where we are now:
- I left a message for the detective asking him to let me know if they found her and if she’s okay. I don’t expect a response.
- My driver side car door closes but it doesn’t want to. No idea what she could have done to it.
Listen, don’t tell me all the things I did wrong or should have done. It was my first time with an hysterical person who, at first, I didn't realize was hysterical. And, after reflecting on the night, both what I did wrong and what I should have done are quite clear.
I’m just telling you all of this so that, if you think of it, you can say a prayer for her. She was pretty messed up.