A few days ago a Scottish lad in St. Andrew’s drowned out the words of a homophobic hate-filled priest with his bagpipes. It’s a good story about the power of intervening and his tactics and effort are praiseworthy.
Another intervention story came across my Facebook timeline last night. This one is scary as hell but had a good ending thanks to a couple of women who refused to remain quiet or look the other way. Friends Sonia Ulrich, Marla Saltzer, and Monica Kenyon were having a meal at The Fig restaurant in Fairmont (near Santa Monica, CA). Ulrich saw Kenyon staring behind her and making a funny face. She asked, “What’s going on?” After a few seconds Kenyon said “That guy just put something in her drink.”
Below is the full Facebook post. As of this writing it has been shared almost 20,000 times.
GUESS WHO STOPPED A RAPE LAST NIGHT?! THESE GALS!
Ok, so we’re still recovering from the events, but we wanted to tell the story. And if it seems like the photo is making light of a heavy situation, it’s because we know FB prioritizes pics AND we needed to get your attention. This is no joking matter.
Monica, Marla, and I were at Fig at the Fairmont for their delicious happy hour (“Fig at 5.” Treat yourself). I was going on about something and saw Monica staring behind and making a funny face. I stopped. “What’s going on?” After a few second she said “That guy just put something in her drink.”
Now, Fig is a nice restaurant. We were enjoying our charcuterie platter and some fancy cheeses. That type of place. They had a bottle of wine they were splitting. It seemed like a first or second or third date. After a few “Oh god. What do we do”s, I got up to find her in the bathroom to tell her. Warn her. Tell her to get up and leave this creep. Make him drink it. Something.
So, after feeling awkward hanging out by the sinks in the bathroom til she was done, I approached. “Hey! Um, this is kind of weird, but, uh, we saw the guy you were with put something in your drink.”
“Oh My God.” She said. Shocked, kind of numb, so I babbled “Yeah, my girlfriend said she saw him put something in your drink and we had to say something. Woman to woman…you know. We had to say something. How well do you know that guy?” I was expecting to hear “We just met,” but I got:
“He’s one of my best friends.”
Shit. Yeah. One of her best friends. They had known each other for a year and a half. They worked together.
I continued to talk for a bit and said she could ask “the one with the short blond hair” any questions since she was the one who saw it and then left her to return to the table.
When I got back, Marla was talking to the server about what happened. Seeing if he or the manager could do anything. Monica filled us in on more of what she saw.
“He pulled her glass toward him, kind of awkwardly, then he took out a little black vial. He opened it up and dropped something in. Then he tried to play it cool, like checking his phone and hiding the vial in his hand and then trying to bring it back down slyly.” He apparently saw Monica looking. Marla said she was just going to lean over to Monica and say “that guy is acting really creepy” when she saw Monica already looking. Witnessing.
It only took a minute for the manager to walk to their table, see if everything was ok, allowed the girl to order a sparkling water. All super cool. He stopped by our table and said he couldn’t do much because he didn’t see it. But he did let security know.
The poor woman had to sit through 40 more minutes, sitting across from “one of her best friends” knowing that he was trying to drug her. Marla noticed him several times chinking his glass to hers to get her to drink. She played it cool. Mostly, I believed, just stunned. The staff wanted to jump in and dump the glass, dump him, do something! I was going through fantasies of walking up and demanding he drink the tainted glass of wine. Eventually, they finished up dinner. There was a delay getting their bill “The computer is down” is what the waiter kept saying to him. Then, in walks Santa Monica PD. They say “Come with us” and he doesn’t protest. Doesn’t ask why. Doesn’t seem surprised.
The head of security came by and said that because we notified them immediately, they were able to go back and review the footage from the security camera.
They got him on tape. They had proof of him drugging this girl. They took the glass away as evidence. They kept us for statements. We asked the girl if she had a ride home. “My car is at his place. In his building. We came together.” Part of a plan. We were blown away. She was still in shock.
But it wasn’t over.
From every table In our section, from through out the restaurant, people came by to thank us for taking action.
“It happened to my sister…I’m glad I was there to take her home.”
“It happened to my roommate at a producer’s party. He’s still messed up from it.”
“It happened to me. At a backyard barbecue.”
“It happened to me. At a bar I worked at.”
“Some Heroes don’t wear capes. Thank you. It happened to me. Thank you.”
“Fuck yeah you guys! You fuckin rock!”
At least 10 stories of being personally affected buy someone like this. Something like this. Those were only the ones who knew what went down. I am sure there were tons more stories through out the restaurant and the hotel.
We kept thanking the manager for taking action. We are well aware how many people would not have taken what we said seriously. Not taken action. Said their hands were tied.
So thank you, everyone at Fig and Fairmont in Santa Monica for keeping this guy from harming someone.
And thank you in advance to everyone who sees this and shares this and reminds each other that yes, you SHOULD say something. Even if it’s awkward or weird or just uncertain if anything can be done.
Know that YOU did something. And that it helped.