Recently, BuzzFeed spoke to Bee, a 36-year-old Louisiana resident who was living in a small apartment building when the hired maintenance worker sent her a series of messages saying he was "coming in" to her unit "just to see [her] face."
Maintenance man at my last apartment:
The viral exchange was unfortunately relatable to many across the BuzzFeed Community, and women began sharing similarly terrifying experiences where men abused their professional access to them. Here are a few of the most harrowing yet important stories, which we hope furthers awareness about the realities women often face:
1."The cleaner at my old student hall used to wait outside my flat's communal shower room and attempt to start up conversations with women when they were on the way to their room and wearing only a towel. We reported him but he didn't get fired or even sent to clean a different uni building."
2."I got Jimmy John’s delivered to me and the guy who delivered it kept my number and texted me that he wanted to go on a date. It was weird and so creepy, I never ordered from there ever again."
3."I changed grocery stores because one of the butchers always hugged me. He wouldn’t ask, he’d just put his arms out for one and go for it. I’d keep the cart between us and tell him I wasn’t in the mood for one. I tried avoiding the meat department, but if he saw me, he’d walk the store until he found me."
4."A few years back, I was shopping around for cars. One day, I got a text asking: 'Is this [my name]?' I responded, 'Who's asking?' A salesman that I never spoke to from a dealership I visited had pulled my information and used his personal number to text me. After a couple texts, I blocked him. Around 11:30 p.m. that night, he tried to add me on Snapchat."
5."I once had a cop pull me over for 'speeding.' He then started asking me questions about my personal life, which I found odd. Two weeks later, I was at the grocery store and this guy is following me around. He looked familiar but I could not place him until he stood behind me in line and said, 'Hey! Do you remember me? I pulled you over two weeks ago. How is it going?' I was so freaked out! I don't know if he was following me and saw my car at the store, but wtf?"
6."Got in a car accident when I was a teenager. Came home to Facebook messages from the EMT asking if I wanted to hang out later — the same day I’d been in said car accident."
7."When I was at the DMV, the guy who worked there asked what type of car I drove. So I responded. And he said something along the lines of 'I can be your ride,' then chuckled to himself and said he was kidding. I really regret not reporting him right there and then."
8."An employee from Verizon who was moving my information from one phone to the next also downloaded my phone for himself, including all of my pictures and contacts, then asked me out."
9."I really changed which grocery store I went to when I was in college because one of the guys that worked at the old one would follow me around the store. The terrifying part was that he was not a small man — like 220 pounds and 6'5"-ish. My last encounter with him was what did it. He snuck up behind me in one of the aisles and *PICKED ME UP* without my permission, and let me tell you, I SCREAMED and he acted shocked and put me down. The manager tried to excuse his behavior and say he was just overly friendly. No thanks! Buh-bye!"
10."Back in 1999 when I lived in a dorm, a college maintenance worker let himself in and went through my things. A couple years later, my friend had the same thing happen at an apartment complex with their maintenance guy, but he left her things she had on her grocery list as a present. Freaking weirdos."
11."I went to the bank once when I was like 19–20 and the teller got my name and information from my account. By the time I got home, I had a friend request from him on IG. Looking back, I should’ve reported him."
12."Man from a shoe store where I reserved a pair found my address and phone number and used them to find me online. He was married with children and 35. I was 20 years old. He asked me to be his side piece."
13."When I was 20, I was renting an apartment by myself from a 70-year-old man. At first, I thought he was like a grandfather type, but the day he unlocked my front door and just walked in, I found out he was a disgusting dirtbag. He did it multiple times, once while I was in the shower. I was too terrified to say anything. I made arrangements to move out and about a week before I was leaving, he changed the locks on the door. I had a pet bird at the time and couldn't get inside to get to him for two days. I eventually found a window I left unlocked and climbed in through there and moved my stuff out in the middle of the night."
14."I once got pulled over by a cop I passed while in heavy traffic, who told me he pulled me over because he thought I was beautiful and wanted my number."
15."I had someone install a work printer in my apartment. He was hired by my employer, so I figured it would be a professional. He was there while my husband and daughter were present, so he clearly knew I was married. After the installation, he took my number from his employer and added me on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook — anywhere he could find me. He later started sending me pictures I did NOT want to see and telling me he missed me. I blocked him on everything but felt grossly violated. This man had my phone number and knew where I lived. Not OK."
16."A former maintenance man memorized my dog-walking schedule and would ask me out every day, multiple times a day, even though I would decline every time. He only kind of stopped when I told him I was dating someone else. It only truly stopped once I removed myself from the situation and moved."
17."In one apartment I lived at, the maintenance guy would go into apartments and steal girls' underwear. He was so creepy, several of the girls had to report him and he got fired. Being a woman is so scary sometimes, especially when men abuse their power."
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. Contact your local police department to report stalking and stalking-related incidents and/or threats.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.