TRIGGER WARNING. Do not read if you have issues with child predators.
This is a true story, something I actually experienced as a child and its stayed in the back of my mind till this day. This is a story about selling chocolate. The ones they made you sell in elementary school. This story is about the last time I ever sold chocolate.
I had to be in either the 4th or 5th grade at that time, just a kid. It was my second time I would be selling chocolates. I don’t know exactly what made me so confident in selling, but I did know whoever sold the most would get some kind of prize and I somewhat remembered doing fairly okay my first go round.
Now, I was a very independent kid. I think I got it from my father. Nevertheless, by first grade, my parents had let me walk to school on my own, which was about 5 or 6 blocks away from my house. This takes place in the 90’s so there wasn’t as much fear about letting children walk alone. I was a smart kid and my parents trusted me to stay away from danger and to not talk to strangers.
Anyhow, I tell my parent’s I’m selling chocolates again. They actually aren’t too thrilled because they didn’t want to help me get all of the chocolates sold. I still begged them to let me do it and they told me I would have to sell most of them by myself. I agreed. Again, I was independent, so they trusted me to go out and actually sell the chocolates on my own.
I remember it clear as day. I had my chocolates and I decided to go down the grocery store, which was a bit further than my school, but still close by, north east of my house. It was a grocery store called Top Value. Not sure if they are popular elsewhere, but it was sort of a little off brand chain in our city. I walked down to the grocery store, mind you, I couldn’t been any older than twelve at this time.
When I got to the store, I was a bit nervous. I was by myself, just some black kid, selling chocolates. I stood just besides the entrance and tried to get people’s attention.
“Who you like to buy some chocolates? They are only $1.”
Some people would bite, others would ignore me or say no thank you. Eventually an attendant came out and told me I needed to get permission to sell there, but since I was just a kid, they would let me stay. This made me feel a bit better, so I decided to stay and up my game; put on a big smile and get more animated.
I didn’t notice at the time really, but I wasn’t alone. There was a man there in a white suit and hat. It looked a bit cultural, Latin. I thought it was odd but was so into selling chocolates that I hadn’t even noticed him till he came up to me and said hi. I was a shy kid but when you talked to me, I would at least pay attention and respond back out of respect. So, I said hi back and tried to focus on what I was doing but noticed he came to stand right beside me.
“What is a little girl doing out here all alone?” he asked me.
I told him I was selling chocolates for my school, which must have been obvious. The man in white had some sort of donations box in his hand. I looked at it and up at him. He had a thick mustache and dark eyes. I thought maybe I was ruining his business by being there, but I really wanted to prove myself to my parents by selling at least half my box.
“For school?” he asked. “I used to do that when I was a little boy.”
I just smiled and nodded and tried to get more people’s attention so I could hurry up and sell my chocolates but knowing the man was sticking close to my area was becoming a distraction. Every time I looked at him, he gave me a small, weird smile. Looking back, I’m surprised no one questioned what was happening.
Con’t to Part 2