Updated: Jun 5, 2021
Several years ago, when our children were toddlers, my wife and I encountered a suspicious person in the Detroit Airport, one of the largest and busiest airports in the United States servicing more than 32 million passengers annually.
We were hurrying to make a connecting flight to Florida. I had a four-year-old daughter on one hand and a three-year-old daughter on the other. My wife was carrying our 1-year-old son.
We both were surveying the area and assessing it for safety, knowing that we sure did not want to lose our children in the large rushing crowd of strangers.
As we were hurrying through the terminals, a man seemed to be stalking us. It did not seem to matter whether we were walking on a moving sidewalk or walking without one, he kept the same pace.
According to Flex Safe USA, situational awareness is most accurately defined as, "The ability to recognize any possible issues once you arrive at the scene and act proactively to avoid a negative impact." In this case, my wife and I recognized that there seemed to be a stranger tracking us that might cause an issue with our children. Was he interested in kidnapping one of them? Was this man evil? My ‘spidey sense’ was telling me something was not right. The so-called 'spidey sense' generally refers to an extraordinary ability to sense imminent danger, a kind of 'sixth sense' attributed to the well-known superhero Spider-Man. As a Christian, I would better describe it as a gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit. I was discerning whether the man had an evil spirit. I knew I wanted to alert my wife, but I did not want to cause her or my children any undue anxiety in the event I was reading too much into the situation. It could result in a negative impact or outcome. It could cause quite a scene at the busy airport.
The man continued to keep pace with us on our right side. We stepped onto the next moving sidewalk, and he stayed adjacent to us on the carpeted area of the hallway but moving at a quicker pace to keep up with us. It was creepy. I finally turned to my wife and said, “There’s a guy…” She interrupted me and said, “I know.” Her response told me that she felt creeped out as well. At that point I knew I was not imagining the situation. It was real. I needed to act proactively without causing a scene. Inside my heart I prayed a deliverance prayer. In the Lord’s prayer we pray, “Deliver us from evil.” Similarly, I was praying inside, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, Satan begone!” I repeated this over and over interiorly but directed it towards the stranger.
As we neared the end of the moving sidewalk, the man turned towards us. He was about to step in front of us as we were stepping off when our eyes locked. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. I looked into his eyes and with a sense of boldness and zeal I let my body posture and face communicate my deliverance prayer, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, Satan begone!” Instantly the man turned his face from me and walked sharply in the other direction. He disappeared into the crowd. I wanted to alert the authorities about the suspicious person, but we had to board our plane right away. He did not harm us, but I prayed he would not do something evil to another unsuspecting family with young children, unaware of what we just experienced.
In this personal example of situational awareness, I had to properly and accurately recognize what was going on in the mind of the stranger but especially in the minds of my wife and children. Yet no one is a mind reader. Emergency medical specialists and law enforcement also need to be aware of the situations of all parties involved when they arrive at a scene. They need to consider situations and issues that might affect the outcome. If they are alerted to special mental and behavioral health conditions and needs of persons, especially children, they too might know how to avoid any undue anxiety that might result in an unintentional escalation of the situation. Placing an identifier such as a sticker on a backpack, car window or house window is an effective way to alert authorities of these special situations. First responders would be better able to avoid a negative outcome.