An influencer has urged her followers not to walk outside with headphones in after she experienced a scary encounter where she was followed into her apartment building by a stranger.
Alyssa, a New York City-based influencer who goes by the username @lyss on TikTok and Instagram, recently shared the advice on TikTok, where she revealed that, because of the volume of her headphones and despite warnings from a passerby, she was not aware she was being followed until the man had entered her lobby.
“I have to make this video because it is so, so, so important, especially when you’re walking in a city like New York, do not wear your headphones while you’re walking somewhere, and if you’re by yourself, and you’re listening to your headphones and you can’t hear anything else going on around you, do not do that,” Alyssa began the video. “I made the huge mistake of doing that yesterday.”
In the clip, which was captioned with a trigger warning and “Upsetting story that happened to me yesterday, please watch,” Alyssa then recalled how she had been listening to a video her friend had sent her through her headphones, which were on full volume, while walking from Starbucks back to her apartment when a man started following her.
According to Alyssa, who explained that she does the three-block walk frequently and was not paying attention to her surroundings, a woman noticed that the man was following the influencer and attempted to inform her.
“This woman actually chased after the guy that was following me, and me, and I couldn’t hear her and I couldn’t see him and I had no idea what was going on behind me because I was so zoned in on my phone,” Alyssa continued.
The influencer revealed that she became aware of the potentially dangerous situation upon walking into the lobby of her apartment building, at which point she finally heard the woman, who was screaming to get Alyssa’s attention.
“The only reason I heard her was because she was excessively screaming: ‘Lady! Lady!’” Alyssa recalled, adding that she took her headphones out and was “so confused” at first, only to realise that the unknown man had followed her into her building and was standing in the lobby behind her and “holding something in his pocket”.
According to Alyssa, the man ran out of her building when she turned around, but she was able to report the incident to the police because her lobby has video cameras.
In the TikTok, Alyssa then said that the incident, which she described as one of the “scariest things that’s ever happened to me,” has left her fearful of walking in New York City alone, before she concluded the video reiterating the public statement announcement urging people not to walk around alone with their headphones in.
The video, which has been viewed more than 370,000 times, has prompted an outpouring of supportive messages, as well as comments from viewers who have thanked Alyssa for sharing the advice.
“I’m so glad you’re okay, thank you for sharing,” one woman wrote, while someone else said: “I’ve heard similar stories from Philadelphia and DC recently. It’s SO important to pay attention to your surroundings.”
In response to another viewer, who praised Alyssa for the transparency and said “we shouldn’t feel bad about making these mistakes but it’s so useful to share them,” the influencer replied: “It’s honestly not a mistake, it’s a lesson learned.
“It’s sad we have to guard ourselves as women this much.”
Speaking to The Independent about the incident, which she said occurred in the middle of the afternoon, Alyssa said that police are still gathering camera footage, but that it has been “really hard for me to walk outside without looking behind me every 30 seconds”.
“New York has not felt safe recently and many women feel the same way as me,” she added.