I am just thankful I am sitting home able to write this blog post. When you face a situation like I did just this past Saturday, your whole life kind of changes course. First let me bring you up-to-date and give you the run-down of my near death, I-could-have-died-on-Saturday situation.
Saturday December 14th, I woke up about 5am thinking that I should spend the day getting my hair done since I had a neighborhood Christmas party to attend. And since I wanted to get my hair braided that meant getting up early enough to hit one of the braid shops really early because they are usually packed on Saturday. And to find a really good hair braider that meant going to Atlanta, because that’s where you can find a really good African braid shop and I knew they would braid my hair to perfection. See, I don’t quite live in Atlanta. I live in a small area outside of Atlanta. A nice, slow and easy little city but we don’t have the best hair salon options under the sun.
So after bugging my husband about getting my hair done in the wee hours of the morning, he told me to go and get it done, basically he wanted me to shut up and get out of bed and stop yapping about it! So I got up, showered and got dressed and headed toward Atlanta about 6:45 am to go to a braid shop that I had gone to in the past. I had my husband’s debit card on me and his bank was nowhere near where I needed to go. I saw a few gas stations but knew it was unsafe in Atlanta to go there by myself. So I reached Camp Creek Parkway and decided to stop at the brightly lit CVS Pharmacy. It looked safe to me!
Little did I know what I was in for.
I stopped in and parked right in front and jumped out my SUV.
When I got to the front door of the CVS the doors didn’t automatically open like they should have. So I stepped back and looked at the hours of operation posted outside the store. It said the store opened at 7am. I checked my cell phone and it was 7:04. So I walked back up to the door and motioned to the men inside.
I saw one man in a manager shirt and another man standing by him in a grey hoodie. The man in the manager shirt was acting frantic and waving his hands. I thought the man in the grey hoodie was an employee. First I thought I was frustrating the manager because maybe I was there too early or something. Just then I saw the manager run over to me at the door and I assumed that he was opening it for me to come inside. Instead this guy flung the doors open, screamed something in a THICK African accent and ran past me like he was Usain Bolt! I swear I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone run faster!
Just then my heart and my mind raced. I can remember thinking,
“Why is this manager running out of the store so fast?”
“Did he say he was being robbed?”
“What the hell’s going on?”
And then PANIC set in. The guy is the grey hoodie started to walk toward me. My sixth sense kicked in and I knew whatever was going on, it wasn’t going to end good if I stayed there. And there is an unwritten rule that all black people go by–If ONE black person runs, WE ALL RUN!
So I turned around, got my thoughts together and ran toward my SUV, heart racing and palpitating and feeling scared out of my wits, and unsure and PANICKED LIKE HELL!! I’m thinking Dear God, what have I walked into!!! Oh My God is today my day? AM I going to die? I can’t believe I’m going to get shot and killed!!!
I fumbled with my keys and jumped in the SUV. The robber came out of the store and stared at me as I backed out and skidded away. I messed up his burglary plans so I surely thought he’d want to kill me for doing so. I. WAS. SHAKING.
I pulled out of the CVS parking lot and headed down Campbellton Road. And at a red light I called 911.
I then pulled over and told the 911 operator what I had witnessed. I told her something was terribly wrong because the store manager ran out of the store and left me standing there with another guy. I was pretty sure he was being robbed but I couldn’t make out what he said because of his accent. After I finished explaining the ordeal to 911. I stopped and tried to collect my thoughts.
My God. Did I actually witness a robbery. Was my life on the line just now? Was I standing in the line of fire? Wait. Did that manager just put my LIFE ON THE LINE?
I then started to cry as I was sitting in my SUV. I thought about my kids who were sleep when I left home who I never even said goodbye to. I thought about my husband who’d have to raise 4 little kids by himself and grieve the rest of his life over the senseless murder of his wife. A man who still grieves over the death of his oldest son 5 years ago. I thought about my mom who’d lose her mind and would probably die of a heart attack if anything happened to me. All of my family. All of my friends. My life just gone for no reason. I thought about it all.
I was angry, upset, scared and concerned. I thought about that manager too because I’m sure he has a family and didn’t plan on dying on Saturday. So I turned my SUV around and decided to go home and let it all marinate. As I headed back I saw that the police were at the CVS so I pulled in to find out exactly what was going on.
Sure enough the manager was there and he saw me and said, “Were you the woman?” I said yes it was me standing there. He went on to explain that the robber demanded money from him and when he saw me approach he used that moment as an opportunity to run. So he ran out of the store and hid in the bushes. I recorded the moment when I went back and spoke to him. Here it is:
What upsets me even more is the fact that I found out that this particular CVS was hit several times by a robber, with one of the robberies resulting in the bandits driving a vehicle THROUGH the front door trying to steal the ATM.
I spoke to someone at CVS by phone but all they offered was a “I’m sorry.”
Yes my life was almost snatched from me right before Christmas and I witnessed a robbery and they did nothing more than say, Oh I’m sorry! No giftcard. No reward. No Christmas toys for my kids. Nothing.
It seems to me that I saved that manager’s life, if anything! I don’t know what the store policy is on burglaries, but I’m sure it doesn’t include putting a customer’s life in danger by leaving her standing in harm’s way while an armed robber approaches her and could possibly have shot her while you attempted to run away as she stood in the line of fire!
It’s upsetting that CVS refuses to put any precautions in place so that customers like me are less likely to experience things like this.
I’m thankful to God that I was able to walk away from this situation unharmed. But it still haunts me. It’s a day that I will never forget. I already live my life to the fullest and live each day like it’s my last but now that will be enhanced even more. And I will never take a day for granted again.