Woman says man stalked and tampered with her water bottle at Pilates class: ‘Disgusting that this happens’

·4-min read
Woman says man stalked and tampered with her water bottle at Pilates class: ‘Disgusting that this happens’

A TikTok user based in California is using her platform to warn of a frightening brush she had with a man who followed her into her home Pilates studio and allegedly tampered with her water bottle.

“I just want to take this as a reminder to be hyper aware,” TikTok user and actor Jenn Cooke began in the two-minute video. “I was almost trafficked, or taken, or abducted or whatever you want to call it from my Pilates class,” she said in the clip from 31 August that has since amassed more than 1.1m views and attracted hundreds of people, mostly women, to flood the comment section sharing similar accounts.

“It’s just disgusting that this happens,” she said before diving into the harrowing account of the close brush with a man, who she claims to have never seen before that Sunday morning Pilates class.

“I don’t know where he started to follow me, it scares me that I didn’t know this and didn’t notice,” she said. Once inside the studio, however, Ms Cooke did register the man’s presence as out of the ordinary. She notes in the video that he was dressed for the class in cargo shorts – a choice of workout gear that she characterised as not being typical for that kind of exercise.

What set her off next was how after she’d placed all her workout gear beside her mat in the studio, the man proceeded to follow her to the bathroom and began attempting to make “weird conversation” with her.

@thejenncooke

I told the Pilates studio what happened today & they had security footage confirming everything and are taking action with police. 🚨BE AWARE🚨

♬ original sound - Jenn Cooke

“He was very forward, very bold,” she said, adding that he wanted to know “where I’m from, what classes I go to, how long have I been going to the studio, do I come here a lot.”

Ms Cooke, though admittedly perturbed by the encounter, says in the video that she decided to ignore the man’s somewhat aggressive attempt at making conversation.

“I just wrote him off, I just didn’t think anything of it,” she said.

What finally tipped her to the breaking point was when she returned to the studio and the person at the station next to hers asked if the gear sitting there was hers, which she confirmed it was.

The woman then explained that while Ms Cooke was out of the studio, there was a man tampering with her belongings.

“Some guy was like messing with your water bottle … it was weird,” the woman said to Ms Cooke when she returned to the studio. “My gut instinct was right,” she added.

And it was that gut instinct that she attributes to keeping her from harm, noting: “I didn’t drink out of my water bottle anymore, which I think was the big thing that saved me.”

TikTok user thejenncooke describes a harrowing encounter she had at a California Pilates studio where a man reportedly followed her inside and tampered with her water bottle before attempting to follow her home after the class (TikTok/@thejenncooke)
TikTok user thejenncooke describes a harrowing encounter she had at a California Pilates studio where a man reportedly followed her inside and tampered with her water bottle before attempting to follow her home after the class (TikTok/@thejenncooke)

“Don’t leave your water bottle anywhere, ever. Even in places you feel safe, like your home Pilates studio,” she adds, emphasising with visible dissatisfaction that this whole thing is “so stupid”.

“It just really pisses me off that us as women have to deal with this stuff,” she says.

After the class, Ms Cooke explains how she got on the phone with her mother immediately and stayed on the phone with her until she got home that day.

Though, as she began making her way home, she realised that she hadn’t completely shaken off the strange man who had approached her earlier in the class.

While on the sidewalk, she said the man – who was at this point behind the wheel of his car – peeled across two lanes of traffic to pull up beside her and ask: “You’re single, right?”

She shouted back at the man that she was on the phone with her husband, though she acknowledges in the video again that it was in fact her mother. From there, she ran home in a route that his car wouldn’t be able to trace.

“He wanted me in that car now,” she says while staring into the camera. “I ran.”

The Independent reached out to Ms Cooke for comment on the encounter but did not hear back immediately. She wrote in the caption of the video that she had reported the incident to her Pilates studio, which is not named, and they informed her that “they had security footage confirming everything and are taking action with police.”

The outrage at Ms Cooke’s close brush with a potentially dangerous man arrives at a time when women have been using social media to voice their frustrations about the dangers they face in their daily lives. Notably, Ms Cooke’s story comes amid news continuing to develop in the wake of the death of Memphis business heiress Eliza Fletcher who was violently abducted and murdered while out on her regular morning run earlier this month.