Filled With Anxiety
For more than an hour, they had been on the road. As she watched the trees pass by, the girl continued to be silent and kept her fingers hidden behind her legs.
He took a second look at her and noticed her anxiety. The train station was about to appear. His entire body was filled with fear. He realized that this was his only opportunity.
The Man Behind The Wheel
Satbir Arora had been a cab driver for the better part of his adult life. He enjoyed his job, seeing how much he helped transit people from one part of Oxfordshire to the other.
To Arora, being a cabby was more than driving. He saw himself as responsible for everyone who stepped into his vehicle. He had no idea how much this mentality would change his life.
A Dark Morning
That Friday morning began as normal and as any other for Arora. After a filling breakfast with his family, he drove around the streets of Oxfordshire looking for people in need of his services.
He hadn’t been on the road long when he saw a teenage girl waving for him to stop. The girl wore a school uniform. Arora smiled and pulled his taxi next to her, unaware that things were about to spiral.
A Little Far
“Where to?” Arora asked. “Gloucestershire Railway Station, thanks,” the girl answered. Even though she said it casually, Arora found it weird that the girl was headed that way.
“A little far, isn’t it?” he asked, and the girl gave a nervous chuckle. Arora looked back at her, and she avoided his eyes. Was something wrong?
He Gets Suspicious
Arora rarely drove his passengers for more than an hour. This girl’s destination was more than two hours away. It was even odder that she was traveling in school uniform and without adult supervision. Arora would have to get to the bottom of this.
“Do your folks know where you’re going?” he asked, to which the girl shifted uneasily and nodded. That was a good enough answer for Arora. Something was definitely amiss.
She Doesn’t Speak
The girl’s face was full of worry. Even though Arora never meddled in his passengers’ business, he saw the need to do so here.
“What’re you going to do at the station, traveling somewhere?” he asked. The girl nodded again, and when he kept his eyes on her, she revealed something that made his worry double.
Pushing Too Far
“I’m meeting a friend,” the girl said curtly. Her defensiveness indicated she was hiding something. “Do your parents know about this friend?” Arora asked. The girl said yes, looking to cut the conversation short.
Seeing that he’d pushed the kid into a corner, Arora kept quiet and focused on the road. An hour passed, and as they neared their destination, he noticed the girl was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
She Leaves The Cab
The girl grabbed her backpack as soon as the railway station came into view. Before Arora could park the cab, she’d hopped out, leaving his door swinging.
Arora stared at her as she went and stood at the station’s entrance. She was even more uneasy than she had been during the trip. He knew he needed to step in.
What To Do
Arora had spent the last two hours cooped with the girl in his vehicle. He’d been riddled with worry throughout their journey. But seeing her standing out there, alone and in possible danger, Arora decided to stay behind.
He pondered the best way to approach the girl in a way that wouldn’t spook her away. He’d already pushed too far with his questions, making her apprehensive. But what else could he do?
The girl had been closed off throughout the journey. Although she was uneasy, she seemed sure about what she was doing. That had been the only reason Arora kept driving to her destination instead of taking her back home.
But now, as he watched her through his taxi’s window, seeing how she stood in the growing train station populace, he saw something different.
Arora noticed that the girl was scared. Her eyes were wide as she stared around, searching for someone. There was a tremble to her fingers and a quiver to her lips.
She held her school bag tightly to her chest like she had not been used to such huge crowds. She felt and looked awkward and out of place. Watching her put a few things into perspective.
He’s Seeing Clearer
A few things became clear as Arora studied the girl. The first thing was that the girl had never been alone in such a crowded place. She wanted to appear like someone who had done this several times before but did the opposite.
The second thing was that whoever she was waiting for was someone she’d either never met before or was trying to impress. Each of these realizations only made Arora want to step in even more.
How To Move Forward
Arora’s fingers tightened around his steering wheel as he thought about the best way to approach the situation. It was already clear that the girl wouldn’t open up to him.
After all, he was a middle-aged man looking to connect with a teenager and get her to tell her what was worrying her. It was then that he had a brilliant idea.
His Best Half
In the years that Arora had been a married man, he had a weapon that had never failed in social situations. This weapon also doubled as his lovely wife, a woman Arora loved to high heaven and back.
Arora’s wife had her way of connecting with people. She was easy to talk to, with the most disarming smile on this earth. If there were anyone who could get the girl to speak, it would be her.
Arora knew his wife would get the job done. But there was only one problem. She was more than two hours away from the train station. She wouldn’t make it in time.
Arora thought about calling her, but that alone presented its own problems. First, would the girl accept to talk on the phone, and second, could his wife connect with her without being there in person and using her all mighty disarming smile
Half A Solution
Arora found himself where he began, with a half-solution to his issue. But he also knew there was no time to waste. The girl didn’t open up to him.
Maybe his wife would have a better chance, even if it was over the phone. With that thought in mind, Arora dialed her number. He was running out of time and options.
Bringing In The Big Guns
Arora’s wife picked up immediately, and Arora wasted no time in filling her in on the situation. He explained everything from the start, detailing where he picked the girl and how she’d acted in the car.
He described her answers and where she was right now. Arora’s wife agreed that there was something off about the whole situation. So what could she do?
A Simple Plan
“Can you go and ask if I can talk to her?” Arora’s wife asked. Her plan was simple, Arora would approach the girl with his phone out, telling her that his wife wanted to talk to her.
Of course, she would be apprehensive at first. But her walls would lower when she saw the phone and not Arora needing to talk to her. Once she had the phone in her ear, Arora’s wife would handle the rest.
Relief In Her Eyes
Arora hopped out of his taxi with the plan set and casually walked to the girl. She seemed to recoil when she saw him, although there was something else that Arora had caught.
At the moment that the girl realized she knew Arora, there was a fleeting look of relief that flashed across her face. She even smiled for a microsecond before taking a step back.
I’m Here To Help
Arora didn’t let the reaction get to him. All he needed to do for now was hand over the phone and stand aside as his wife did the rest.
His lips curled into a loving smile, and he waved at the girl as he walked up the curb and onto where she was standing. It was now or never.
A Trustworthy Soul
Arora lowered onto one knee and said, “I have someone here who’d like to talk to you.” His lips curved again, “It would mean a lot to me if you talked to her. Please.”
The girl hesitated for a second, then took the phone, placing it in her ear. Arora heard his wife’s voice change when she began speaking. It was more soothing. The girl nodded severally and started talking.
The Wife Delivers
If the girl seemed nervous before, now she looked terrified. She passed the phone back to Arora and stepped closer to him, her eyes darting all over the station.
Arora didn’t know what to make of the situation. But it was clear that whatever his wife had said to the girl in the few minutes she had her over the call had made her trust them. He put the phone in his ear.
“Hello,” he said casually, hoping not to spook the girl with his eagerness to know what was happening. The girl was now standing too close to him. Her fear was almost palpable.
“It is bad,” Arora’s wife divulged over the phone. “She’s meeting someone she’s been talking to over the internet. She’s anxious about meeting him because she’s a minor. Call the police, Satbir.”
Calling the Police
Arora didn’t hesitate to call the police. His sight tried to follow the girl’s, to see who she was looking for. This morning, the station was busy. So, Arora couldn’t pinpoint any suspicious person in the crowd.
The police arrived shortly. The person that Arora’s passenger was meeting was nowhere to be seen. Maybe he came and saw the cop cars and got spooked. Arora had a genius plan to corner him.
A Genius Plan
“Mind giving me the lad’s number,” he asked the girl, and she handed it over. Arora called the number, and the man picked up before immediately canceling.
Although the man canceled the call, Arora got him where he wanted him. He told the police what he’d done and asked if they could use the railway’s surveillance system for the next part of his plan.
The Surveillance System
With the help of the railway’s surveillance system, Arora and the police tracked down several individuals staring at or using their phones at the exact time Arora made his call.
But the problem with the plan was that the station was flocked with travelers and loved ones seeing their friends and families off or receiving them. How would Arora and his team pinpoint one person out of this staggering mass?
How To Tag Him
Arora and the police were still wondering how they would tag the right person when Arora had another brilliant idea. Since the man had been talking to the girl, there was a possibility she would recognize him from the rest. The girl stepped up and pointed at one of the camera stills.
A man was standing inside a parked train, a seemingly harmless-looking individual in his twenties. It’s him, she said, and the police sprang into action.
Revealing True Evil
The police identified the man as Sam Hewings. He was a dangerous twenty-four-year-old predator who’d made a habit of luring children and kidnapping them.
More was discovered about the man, revealing his intentions with Arora’s passenger. His online chat logs were incriminating evidence that helped the jury make a sound decision about his sentence. But there was more to him than the investigation had first revealed.
The Truth Comes Out
After further investigation, it became clear who Mr. Hewings truly was. He was part of a bigger ring of offenders who made a name for themselves by hurting minors all over the United Kingdom.
Their conversations revealed sickening things that could make any man hurl. Each of these discoveries made everyone thankful that Arora had helped apprehend the man.
The Hero Of Oxfordshire
Arora shared that he’d attended safeguarding training some months before the incident. What he’d learned then helped him save the little girl.
Gloucestershire Police granted him the highest honor in the police. To Arora, knowing that the girl reached home safely was a good enough prize. He only hopes that more cab drivers will undergo the training to defuse these dangerous situations before they escalate.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.