Spring Break 2004, Cancun, Mexico: Many normal teenagers' idea of a dream vacation. For freshman art and Spanish double major Jennifer Schnell, it was a little bit weirder than that.
Schnell and her family were staying at a large resort right next to the beach. Schnell speaks Spanish fluently so she got to meet a lot of interesting people at the hotel. One person, whom she met through her mom, worked in the hotel's exercise room.
"My mom had been going in there every morning to work out and each day, this guy Abel would ask her about me. So one morning we started talking. I asked him if he knew about a club called Coco Bongo and he said that he was going that night with all these other people that I knew that worked at the resort," Schnell said.
Later that night Schnell took a taxi to a deserted strip mall in downtown Cancun. Instead of a lot of people being there, it was just Abel waiting for her.
"Then he grabbed my hand and I thought, 'OK, I'll just go with it, because I'm in the middle of Mexico and I don't want to be alone.' We eventually got on a bus headed to the club," Schnell said.
When she arrived at the club, Schnell was dragged off the bus and inside the club by her new acquaintance.
"He was grinding all over me as soon as we stepped in the door, which was really creepy. Then, for no reason the speakers started blasting the theme song to the movie "Beetlejuice." Then this midget dressed as Beetlejuice dropped from the ceiling and started drowning people in tequila," she said.
Schnell happened to be standing near the bar and was quickly drenched.
"I was completely sober at this point and I was not really into having some little dude pour tequila all over my sunburned face," Schnell said.
When Schnell had persuaded Abel to leave the club, he tried to convince her to go to a secluded beach with him. She finally convinced him she needed to get back to the hotel.
"So we were in a cab and he was telling me all this stuff about how he wanted to share his life with me. He started crying when I told him my flight was leaving the next morning," Schnell said. "Then he told me if he saw me before I left for my flight he was going to make me miss the plane so that he could marry me."
The hotel security would not let people who were not staying there to enter the front gates, so Abel had to get out. Schnell was glad to get rid of him.
"All I wanted to do was get back to my room and sleep," she said.
As the taxi drove down the mile-long road to the resort, the taxi driver started asking Schnell about what had been going on. She explained the whole story to him from the beginning.
"Then the cab driver stops the car and turns around. He says to me, 'So you know how Mexican guys love American girls, right?' The only thing I could think was 'Oh crap, not again,'" she said.
The driver then said he had never been kissed by an American girl before and that he wouldn't take Schnell back to the hotel unless she kissed him.
"I was pretty stressed from all of the crap that had happened, but I still kissed him on the cheek so I could get out of the cab," she said.
Schnell then walked up to her room and tried to sleep.
"I was just so weirded out by the whole night that I stared at the ceiling for three hours until my family and I left for the airport," she said.
She may have gotten on the plane safely, but that was not the end of Schnell's experience.
"I had given that creepy guy from the exercise room my e-mail address earlier in the week. So for three weeks after I got home I was getting four e-mails a day from him. I finally blocked his e-mail and I haven't heard from him since," she said.