I had a rather strange encounter while shopping today. I had gone to the cosmetics section of this particular big box store and was looking at some products, doing some comparison shopping. I use a motorized cart because I have mobility issues, and I had "parked" my cart well over to the right of the aisle to look at some products and read labels. While I was there, another person came down the aisle to shop. I think it was actually two people, because I heard the one person talking to someone else, but I only saw the one that I had the "encounter" with (I had my head down, reading labels, and was in "the zone"). The woman got what she was looking for and went down a little past me and then turned her buggy around to head back out the way she'd come. When she started forward, her buggy clipped the side of the basket of my cart. It startled me more than anything else, as the jolt caused me to look up to see what had happened. She immediately apologized and I said, "It's okay. Don't worry about it."
Then she asked if she could hug me. I was just about to say, "I'd rather you didn't," when she threw her arms around my shoulders and bear-hugged me. I couldn't think of anything to say that would be even in the same area code as "polite," so I just froze and didn't respond in any way. I didn't make eye contact and didn't say anything at all. As soon as she released me, the woman grabbed her buggy and hurried out of the department. I was left wondering, "okay, what just happened?!"
I wonder if there was anything at all that I could have done to prevent her from grabbing me like that. As I said, I was just about to say something to let her know that I was, in fact, NOT okay with a hug from a stranger - I'd even said, "I - " when she grabbed me - but how could I have stopped her from grabbing me when she came in for the hug? I couldn't think of what to do other than just freeze like I did.