Is my paranoia about the situation described below normal?
A man at my daughter’s bus stop exhibits what I consider to be strange behavior, though I need outside opinions about whether my discomfort is unreasonable.
To begin, my daughter is eight years old in the second grade. At the beginning of the year my wife and I would walk her to and from the bus stop everyday. We see a lot of other parents because we live in an apartment complex, so we don’t really talk to other parents beyond a simple “hello” in passing.
My wife and I both immediately noticed a particular man who would not get out of his car to stand with his child or to meet him when exited the bus, he would only watch and wait for his kid to get on and off the bus. We thought this was strange as none of the other parents do this, and the bus stop is located near a busy highway.
About a month or so into the year he started standing with the other parents, and but his demeanor seemed to express discomfort or nervousness... it would explain his reasoning for staying in the car if he is a person who battles with anxiety, but the rest of his behavior is kind of peculiar.
My wife came home kind of creeped out and explained to me that he approached her after my daughter got on the bus and said, “your daughters really cute. I like her voice...the way she talks is cute.” Nothing to strange to me at the time, but my wife got a creepy vibe.
A day or two later, I was the one to take my daughter to the bus. I noticed the man kept glancing at me and my daughter (in the midst of all the other children and parents) as we waited for the bus. Once they boarded, he approached me and made the exact same comment as he made to my wife- almost like it was a script “your daughters really cute. I like the way she talks...her voice is cute.”
When he said it to me, I was torn between the thought “is he desperate for human interaction and is awkward at it? Or is he a creep that can’t contain his creepiness?” I simply said “Thanks man” and headed home.
Not long after that, I noticed the same nervous glancing at us from in the crowd. He made his way to me after they boarded and started asking me how old she was and what grade she was in. I kept my answers short and tried to give the impression I wasn’t interested in talking.
He never really spoke to any of the other parents.
In the next couple of months he would continue his anxious glancing, sometimes even staring at us from his car at times as we would walk to and from the bus stop. Sometimes he would drive past staring as we made our way up the stairs to our apartment. (I would often try to time it right to avoid him seeing where we went, but sometimes it wouldn’t work).
Then one day, it was necessary for my wife and I to put my daughter into the after school program because of work, so we quit going to the bus stop. But one day I stopped into a local sandwich stop and saw him working behind the counter. He quickly greeted me and without hesitation started asking where we went, if we had moved, and why weren’t we going to the bus stop anymore- almost as if we were friends, though we had only exchanged a few words.
Reluctantly, and maybe even stupidly, I explained that we were putting her in after care because of work.
A few weeks later, I drive to pick up my daughter and as I park he pulls in behind me. Suddenly, he now has his kid in after school too. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but when you are already suspicious of someone who is getting too personal with you, it sticks out.
So what do you think? Am I being outrageously paranoid or is my discomfort within reason?
Understand that what I’ve described may not sound overtly “crazy” or concerning, but it’s the vibe the guy gives off that adds to the weirdness.
Also, unless I’m friends with a person, I don’t care to know what’s going on with another man’s kid. I can be a bit of an antisocial person, but it would seem most men don’t really pay attention to what other people are doing with their kids, much less probing about their life and complimenting the “cuteness” of a kid they don’t know.