One of the highlights of my educational career was getting to study abroad. For a few weeks one summer, I got to spend time immersing myself in English literature while actually in England.
I adored it, but one of my students had a less than perfect time. While walking the streets of London, she had a man come up to her and asked her to marry him.
She demurred, but he kept following her despite getting turned down. He continued to follow her and the situation quickly shifted from awkward to downright creepy.
I imagine that Tracy Nigh of Port Orange, Florida, felt much the same way on Sept. 30. According to the Huffington Post, she was sitting on a bench inside a Walmart with her 8-year-old daughter when an older man approached them.
His name is Hellmuth Kolb, and he is 81 years old. He began his conversation with Nigh by asking if she was married.
That’s an uncomfortable opener, for sure, but Nigh didn’t think much of it.
“It seemed like a friendly conversation,” she said. “He didn’t seem like a threat at first.”
The situation soon got weirder — much weirder. Kolb began paying inordinate attention to Nigh’s daughter.
WKMG reported that he told Nigh he wanted her girl for his own. Then he started offering to buy her for large sums of money.
“The first amount was $100,000, the second amount was $150,000 and then the final amount was $200,000,” Nigh said. “I then said ‘No, we have to go.’”
The creepiness didn’t end there. As Nigh stood to leave, Kolb suddenly lurched forward.
He grabbed the young girl by the wrist. Then he bent and kissed it.
That was the last straw for Nigh. She made a beeline for Walmart’s security offices and told them exactly what happened.
Police officers soon arrived and started trying to identify Kolb. Thanks to the fact that he made a credit card transaction and had a social media presence, they soon tracked him down.
It’s a good thing they did. According to WJAX, investigators discovered that another woman had reported a similar incident occurred earlier in the month with a man matching Kolb’s description.
The 81-year-old was arrested and ordered by a judge to stay away from Nigh and her daughter. For her part, Nigh posted her story on Facebook.
“I felt like it was a duty to my community that I needed to warn other parents,” she said, according to WKMG. “The more that come forward the better I think for this and for the community.”
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