Ever so often, I will take my kids to McD’s for breakfast. It is usually when there are no groceries in the house because I’ve not gone to the store because I’ve not made a menu for the upcoming week and therefore do not have a list…so…we go to McD’s, the kids get breakfast for $1 and they play on the playland while I make a grocery list. It works for us.

One morning, the kids had finished eating and they were off playing on the playground while I was writing up a grocery list. I generally TAKE MY TIME when we do this. It is such a welcomed break! I noticed that an older gentleman had entered the playland and proceeded to sit down at a table directly across from the play area – where he could see all the kids at once. Immediately I became suspicious. What is this older man doing in the playland, by himself?? He must be meeting someone here – grandkid and son/daughter perhaps? But no – he really was just going to have his morning coffe and read a newspaper while sitting in the playland – as if it were a nice relaxing environment! Something was off, my mothering instinct told me.

But then again, perhaps I was just being a bit paranoid.

I kept my eye on him while I made my grocery list. Eventually I was ready to go and I gathered my 4 children up and we left. He was still in the playland – relaxing with his paper. Strange, I thought.

Two weeks ago we returned to this McD’s for breakfast. And, wouldn’t you know it, in walked the Mysterious Coffee Drinker. He again sat in front of the playland and watched all the children while drinking coffee and reading a paper. Definitely weird. I was really uncomfortable with him. When it was time for us to go, I took my little girls to the restroom. Our McD actually has a nice big restroom INSIDE the playland area, which is extremely convenient for me! Generally I’ll just take the girls in with me, and then send the boys in by themselves. But this time, I called the girls to the restroom – and then … had a funny feeling… and decided that the boys were going to come in with me as well. I didn’t trust the man sitting in the playland alone. He looked me square in the eyes when I opened the bathroom door up and called the boys in. He knew I was not going to leave my boys in that room alone with him. There weren’t any other parents/kids in the playland. It was a weird moment when we were looking eye to eye – it made my skin crawl.

When we came out of the playland I breathed a sigh of relief seeing that the man had left. I gave him the benefit of doubt and thought, “Well that was considerate of him. He knew I was uncomfortable with him, and he has left. Good.” When we walked out of the playland I noticed that he had simply moved to the other part of the restaurant to finish his coffee and paper. Of course he had strategically placed himself near a window. So he could watch us walk to the car.

Ok…I told myself…now I really AM being paranoid. But you know – something just wasn’t right.

Fast forward to today. My little girls spent the night with my sister, so it was just me and the boys this morning. I took them to McD’s for a treat before going shopping for soccer gear. We didn’t sit in the playland because we really were there just for breakfast today and I didn’t want to sit, without anything to do or anyone to talk to, in the playland. Plus, there weren’t any other parents/kids there this morning. And once again, in walks the Mysterious Coffee Drinker. The lady at the register greeted him by name. I’m assuming he goes there every morning for coffee and a paper.

Now here’s the strangest part of this story.

We were sitting in the general dining room – not the playland. And there were no other children in the dining room but my children. The boys and I were sitting at a little triangle table that had 3 chairs – perfect for us. There were only 3 other tables taken up by customers. So there were about 20 tables left for this man to sit at.

Where does he decide to sit and have his coffee and paper? At the table to my immediate R. And not only does he decide to sit there – but he sits in the chair that is directly next to my oldest son. He doesn’t sit in the chair farthest from our table – he sits in the one that is closest to my child. And several times I caught him looking at the boys out of the corner of his eye.

When the boys finished, I sent them off to the bathroom to wash up. I made a very obvious point by standing up at my table watching the mens bathroom door. I didn’t take my eyes off of it until the boys came out and were heading back to the table. I didn’t dare turn my back on that door or the Mysterious Coffee Drinker.

And then I made a huge mistake. I actually said one of my children’s names out loud. Right in front of him. Now he knows Ean’s name. When I did that – I immediately cringed and thought to myself, “IDIOT!”

The whole underlying theme of this story makes me nervous.

Who is this man?

Why does he seemingly prefer to sit near/around children?

Why is he so creepy to me?

He actually LOOKS like one of those crazy psycho child killers/molestors you see on TV. I’ve looked him square in the eye and I can’t put my finger on it…but something isn’t right. I can totally see him showing up at the park now and calling Ean over to him and telling him he’s lost his puppy and he needs help. I think Ean would actually fall for that.

Am I being paranoid? I feel like I should peruse the Sex Offender Database for Texas to see if his photo comes up. I may have to get clever about this. Next visit to McD’s I’m sitting near a window so I can see which car he pulls up in. Then I’ll have his liscence plate number.  It’s pretty easy to get personal information about people over the web. I paid $10 once to find out what information of mine was available to purchase and was BLOWN AWAY at what all was for sale.

Anyone else had an experience like this?