I wanted to tell him to shut his ugly mouth, but instead an uncomfortable laugh came out. It’s what we do, you know, when a man much bigger and stronger has you trapped in his car while telling you just what he wants to do to you.
The entire drive back from San Francisco to my house in Napa, I kept up a nervous banter with the drunken guy driving me home. The second he pulled into my driveway, I flung my car door open and ran out.
I was shaking when I locked the door behind me and watched him drive away.
The first person I called was John.
I told him what happened and for some reason was fixated on the fact that I hadn’t stood up to Matt. Why did I let him talk to me that way? I should have told him to shut up and leave me alone.
John listened and said I had done exactly the right thing because getting home safely was the only thing I could do at the time. Once the anger at myself subsided, I started crying.
I was so mad I wanted to scream.
I was mad at the creep who treated me that way, and mad that I was put into that situation because of a job. But I was also afraid to say anything.
John listened to me work through it out loud. But when I said I didn’t want to tell my boss because I was worried Matt would lose his job, John stopped me. He asked how I would feel if some other female co-worker was next.
I knew I had no choice.
After I got off the phone with John, I called my best friend, Estelle. She wasn’t as nice as John was. She wanted me to call the police right then. I’m pretty sure if she could have gotten her hands on Matt she would have strangled him.
She said the exact same thing John did; that I had to tell my boss.
So I called him next and told him what happened. I was surprised when he said I would need to talk to the manager about it, as he didn’t handle “These sort of things.”
My next conversation about it would be face to face with the winery’s manager, my new friend Anya. I was so nervous, I was shaking.
She listened to every word and asked a lot of questions. Then she held my hand and said how sorry she was that this happened to me.
Then she fired Matt.
I honestly felt bad for him. He had kids and this was a job he’d had for several years. I was the new kid on the block and just destroyed his life.
Then I remembered something.
This was his choice. He was the one who decided to drink and drive with me in the car. And his words were the ones that were vile and inappropriate. He brought this on himself and maybe, just maybe, I saved some other woman from the same experience.
But things weren’t the same for me at the winery after that.