DEAR READERS: Helpful mail has poured in with tips for Evening Shift Terror, the woman who got off the bus at a very late hour coming home from work, and was scared stiff when her neighbour and dog came up behind her, and then offered her a safe walk home. Here are their suggestions:
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: As a good boss in a workplace that also requires some employees to work late, I find a safe way for that employee to get home, whether it's finding a ride with another employee or paying for a taxi to safely get them home as soon as it gets dark, and especially if I know those employees live downtown or the North End. Read the labour laws online. Know your rights. If you can't find another safe way home late at night, get your employer to help you find a safe way home. -- Employer Who Cares, Winnipeg
Dear Employer Who Cares: The Manitoba Labour Board says regulations state all employers must help with "options" for safe ways home for people whose shifts end between midnight and 6 a.m., such as employee carpools or people picking them up, or even providing a bus schedule. But, they are not obligated to hire cabs to get everybody home during those hours.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Taking a self-defence course would help empower you as well as keep you safer. Day or night, be more aware of your surroundings, who is around you, where you could go for help and what you could do. After my self-defence course, I was surprised to learn that men were actually following me in broad daylight. Walk with confidence and even if you are scared, don't show it. No one wants to touch a pissed-off cat ready to scratch your eyeballs out. Learn your area, have a safe place to go midway -- 24-hour store or a neighbour that knows if he hears knocking at 3 a.m. there is danger. If someone wants your wallet, throw it in the opposite direction and run! I even go as far as calling a friend or pretending to be on the phone and say things like, "Yup, I'm almost outside your house, do you see me? Is the whole gang there?" That saved my life one time, when I was out of town in a bad area. -- Wanting To Help
Dear Wanting To Help: Nothing like the voice of experience -- thanks for writing.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg R2X 3B6