So, this is a pretty weird and I guess slightly sweet story in a way. Just thought I'd share it and see if anyone would have acted differently in my situation....
I had arranged to meet a friend in a nearby town as it was halfway between both our houses. We found a nice old pub for lunch but the restaurant was full so we were shown to a table in the corner of the bar instead. Now, the bar was really a small room with a bar in one corner and 5 tables scrammed in. It was certainly close enough to hear everyone's conversations.
Friend and I were talking about a mutual friend who has recently got engaged after meeting a guy online. The conversation then turned to internet dating stories etc, amongst other things. Throughout our lunch I noticed a man at the bar staring at us rather intently. He was old enough to be our Dad and to be honest, looked a little rough around the edges and it was a bit unnerving.
Anyway, as we were leaving I had to walk past him and he grabbed me by the arm and said 'Excuse me love, are you local?" I said no, and tried to extricate myself from his grip, when he said that he couldn't help overhearing our conversation and that the problem with people nowadays is that they don't speak to people in the real world. He then started to lecture about people not giving anyone a chance, and "look, we're talking now aren't we, you should get out in the real world and talk to people, none of this online stuff". I really wanted to get away and everyone in the bar room was looking and a few were laughing. He went on a bit longer and I was finally able to say, "ok, I'll try and remember that" and practically ran out of there!
So, friend and I looked around some of the shops for about an hour when suddenly my friend exclaimed "CRUD MONKEYS!, no way!" and I looked up to see the same guy heading towards us on the main street. There wasn't time to hide and he called out "stop, I have something for you!". As he got closer he looked straight at me (cigarette hanging from his mouth) and said "I knew I'd see you again, I wanted to give you something" and started to fiddle with the catch on his rucksack. My friend and I were stuck. I didn't want to appear rude and I thought if I walked away he might get angry as he had a very gruff manner, so I stood there very awkwardly and he produced a bunch of red roses from inside his rucksack and presented them to me, saying "I knew I'd see you again and I wanted you to have these. you ned to get out and talk to people".
My friend was almost dying with the effort of not laughing and I felt so so awkward. I didn't want to be talking to him, let alone accepting anything, but I didn't want to be rude and I guess it was a very sweet gesture, if done in a rather strange way! Oh and the fact they were in a supermarket wrapper with "£3, bargain" written on them!!!
So, I took them, said thanks and turned and walked as quickly as possible, wondering what on earth to do with this bunch of flowers I didn't want! We decided to cut our visit short as we didn't want to run into this guy again.
Once I got home it seemed a shame to bin them, so I put them in a vase and they do look cheerful. But, he made me feel so uncomfortable that it didn't come across at all as a nice and kind gesture, more like an agressive, slightly stalkerish much older man thing that I didn't like at all.
But, I don't really think there was anything else I could have done to change the situation...