Photo by Stacy Lutner Ritchey
Bernard Watkins was in for quite a surprise when he opened the front door last Saturday. The longtime Philadelphia resident has been yearning for a woman's gentle touch since 1983, when Sharon walked out the door for the last time. Hoping to find some companionship during yet another lonesome night, he dialed "215-898-WALK (9255)," the number listed on a poster on Locust Walk reading "FREE 24/7 PENN WALKING ESCORTS."
Turns out Watkins, 63, had mistaken the University of Pennsylvania's student safety initiative for a Pennsylvania escort service. He was disappointed to find out that the intentions of the young, neon vest-clad woman at his door were not to service him sexually for adequate financial compensation, but to help him stay safe while navigating the immediate West Philadelphia area. Classic mix-up!
Watkins remains embarrassed about the encounter, during which his offer to "give her 'the ol' razzle dazzle'" was gently but professionally rebuffed. Beet-red, he admits that while he "definitely should have thought twice when [he] saw the word 'FREE,'" he thought that the "WALKING" in "WALKING ESCORT" was simply clarification.
"Some of them can't," he huffed.