I would do nothing. Just keep walking by. If they are not doing anything wrong or menacing then I would assume they are not a threat.
O shoot, I forgot my (whatever), get back to the car. Claude hit this one out of the park....
the part i am missing is i think you are doing an either/or. as you can not 3-throw keys and 4- retreat to car, with out keys.
as for the alarm feature--if i see 3, i look for the other one also--the look-out. and alarm noise may allow him to sneak up on me.
I was simply listing some of the good reasons to keep keys in hand vs pocketing them immediately.
Ok, I have to admit this one is tough for me. The reason being, I'm in similar situation all of the time. Because for the last several years I have driven an electric car, some I've made myself and more recently a Nissan Leaf, they catch a lot of attention. So it is quite common when getting out of my car for people to walk up to me and ask me about my car. I'm always very cautious but as long as they seem legitimately interested in the car and not just chatting me up about the time or asking for a light, I tend to be very friendly and helpful. In my martial arts training we've covered quite a few common "chat up" lines used by crooks who are trying to distract you or gain your confidence long enough to take you off of alert status. I've actually had a few people use such lines on me in the past and I've usually stepped back from them, quickly looked around for any accomplices and made sure they knew I was looking. One time I think I actually saw one, but I wasn't sure if they were just somebody else walking to their car. Then I attempt to answer their question. Since one guy was asking for a light I just told him I don't smoke (the truth) and I think he could tell I wasn't playing his game so he left.
As to the exact circumstances of this particular described event, it is still a tough call. I think if it were just me by myself, I'd actually be more likely to get on the elevator than if I had my daughter with me. If I had her with me, I'd do as Claude said and just say I forgot something in the car, then keep an eye on them as I walk off. If I were alone, and they guys didn't look too suspicious I'd probably get on the elevator. Again, this is assuming it is during the day, during working hours. I wouldn't expect criminals to be looking for victims during this time. I guess it really just comes down to my gut feeling. I'd have to be there to know for sure.
I wouldn't be caught driving a Cadillac Escalade in the first place so this scenerio has no significant reality for me.
I come up with an excuse and go back to my vehicle just in case. If it's nothing, then they'll be on their way quickly. If they advance or hang around I know it's somehting more and handle it approapraitely.
1. Does it look like the three individuals know and/or are working together? Are they making eye-contact or other subtle "communicative" gestures suggesting that this is either planned or rehearsed or are they simply walking in the same direction? We can pick up on these behaviors and indicators quite easily if we know what to look for and one of the most obvious tells is that there will more than likely be a leader that they are looking to who will either initiate the attack if the attack is coming or who they will communicate with even non-verbally with body language, eye contact, personal space, etc.
When people don't know each other and have nothing to do with one another or are not working together they have a much different demeanor unless their little act is so rehearsed hey have it down to an art on how to NOT look like their working together, in which case you have to take that into consideration as well.
Also, people who are gearing up for a fight or attack generally have far different body language than people who are innocently on their way. People who are just going from point a to point b with no intentions of fight will generally be focused on getting to their location, relaxed, perhaps a bit absent minded as they think about what they are about to do and if they are prepared. Their look is one of indifference or distraction. The stance will be relaxed or maybe anxious if they are nervous perhaps with nail biting, slouching, or, if an individual is confident, just standing erect with head up and shoulders back.
A person gearing up for a confrontation will be focused on the object of their confrontation (i.e. you, possibly). The stance will be slightly lower, more grounded, head down, sifty... unless, of course, as I said, they are very practiced in the art of deception and know what body language to avoid as to not make you suspicious and flee.
These non-verbal clues/body language would be a HUGE factor in whether or not I would continue on my way or retreat though I may play it safe and retreat anyway just in case.. then again, I may not.. it depends.
2. What is my gut telling me? If my gut is telling me something isn't right, what am I hurting to be extra cautious and hang back and see what happens? At very least, making a retreat to a vehicle will either entice them to act if they do have negative motives and reveal their real intentions or they will walk by and you will have confirmed that they are not a threat and continue on your merry way.. this time able to possibly ride the elevator by yourself. WIN!!
3. What is my own personal risk assessment? Some people are just naturally more confident and not concerned with these kinds of scenarios unless obvious aggression is displayed or other indicators that things could go bad. But there are those who choose to be a little extra cautious and I fault neither.
Some people might retreat just to avoid getting stuck on an elevator with a chatty individual who is going to grill you about your car the entire four-floor trip up to your meeting...lol.
In the context of this SPECIFIC scenario, as it is written, I'd go with claude clay's initial response. Make up an excuse to get back to the car: I'm "Castled" there if everything goes bad, but even if it doesn't, it offers me at least some more relative security, when facing pedestrian threats.
I'm a car-guy, and while I don't drive anything truly outlandish, I still get approached -and approach others- about my/their car(s) quite a bit more than the average folk would likely encounter. There's a specific set of unwritten protocol that most car-guys/gals stick to, on such approaches, that virtually never varies...and this particular scenario, as it is written, despite the fact that the kids start off commenting about the car, simply raises too many red-flags for me to ignore.
I'd be on the defensive.
Here's the thing that's out of place and gets my SA a bump up. It's an office building in the downtown area. Three teens dressed in jeans and t-shirts. One with a skateboard and one carrying a backpack.
They have no legitimate reason to be there. They obviously, or at least highly likely don't work or have any business inside the building. They are essentially loitering around the garage area. And that gets noticed.
Now maybe they are just using the area to skate around on the board and escape the summer heat with no nefarious intent on people. But they are out of place and that gives me pause. (Maybe the backpack has B&E tools and they've been breaking into parked cars?) Better to go back to the car and regroup than take on 3 teens.
As I stated earlier... Often times, when you turn around and actively try to avoid contact, it often makes them tip their hand if they have bad intentions. If they turn and follow you, and continue to harass you with "innocuous questions", then my alert level will be going up another notch and I'll be actively formulating a counter attack.
I would've asked for a different loaner car. Escalades draw too much attention. If you've ever noticed what big wigs buy for their families and wives to tool around in, they usually aren't Escalades. They're more often Suburbans or Expeditions, or maybe even a minivan, even though they could easily afford a high trim Escalade. They don't do that just because they are frugal.