Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Scary Event It Is When One Gets Robbed

Steve Smith

I have held off for a few days writing about this incident that took place at work Friday night. Mostly because I needed to just get it a bit behind me first.

The store where I work at was robbed. More specifically, I was the lone clerk working at the store when it was robbed. The store is a convenience store that is part of a locally owned chain.

The day had been going pretty good, too. Business had been fairly brisk, which is typical for a Friday evening. I had commented to a lady, one of the last customers I served, how I was surprised that it was almost 8:00 P.M. She left, and I decided since it was quiet, that time would be a chance to have a quick smoke.

I had been outside for a couple of minutes, when I saw someone slowly approaching the store on foot. It was a young man as it turned out. He was wearing a jacket with a hood, and he was looking down at the ground as he approached.

When he got up to where I was standing by the door, he told me “get back inside”. It was then that he was in the light and I could see that his face was covered with a black mask. The mask had holes torn into it for his eyes.

He then reached under his shirt and pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and then told me to lock the door behind me and that he wanted everything in the register. He said, “do what I tell you to do and you won’t get hurt”.

So I went in, he followed, and I locked the door behind me. The thing is, the door there is a double door, and to be truly locked, you have to flip the top lever on the one door up, and then flip the bottom lever down. I didn’t flip the levers, just turned the bolt on the "main" door into the locked position. As I was going behind the counter, he flipped the “Open” sign around to “Closed”, and then came behind the counter.

He squatted in the floor behind the counter so he couldn't be seen from outside, and handed me a black plastic bag to put the money into. I was putting the money into the bag, when a customer who had pulled up to the gas pumps came to the store’s door. The customer attempted to open the door. Because I had not flipped the levers as I mentioned above, the doors both partially “opened”.

The customer gave me a confused look, because he knew we don’t close at 8 o’clock. I mouthed the words “help” and “robbery”, but the customer didn't understand, even though I was obviously stuffing money into a black plastic shopping bag.

The robber was just as unaware of the customer at the door, as the customer was of him. The robber said to me. “I know for a fact that you have the combination to the top safe and I want it opened”. I replied, "no, I don’t have the combination to it. Only a manager does, and I have no access".

The robber then stood up, and took the plastic bag with the money. He and the customer apparently noticed each other at the same time. The customer ran to his vehicle and the robber ran to the door, unlocked it, and fled on foot in the same direction from which he had come.

Fortunately, I never got hurt.

The funny thing was, I didn’t really get scared, nervous, or shook up until after he ran out the door. I got a pretty dog gone good case of the nerves then.

Why did I not get scared or nervous during the robbery? All that I can attribute it to is God. He had to have been the reason for my staying calm and cool during the robbery, because He knows I am certainly not known for having “nerves of steel”.

Nope. Not by a long shot.

I guess it was really like I told my brother after I had my heart attack almost 9 years ago. He had said, "Steve, I’ve really got to hand it to you. You have taken what happened with having a heart attack really well. I would have been torn all to pieces".

I told him that "we can either learn to accept what happens to us in life and move on, or we can let it control us and our lives. I chose to accept it as a part of life and move on. God is in control of everything and we just have to learn to trust that".

Being frail, weak humans though, it is sometimes hard not to have worries...or dread...or fear. I should know. I am human after all.

In the end, I am OK. Nothing was taken from me, and I was right back at work the next night, although not alone this time.

I also got inspiration from the whole thing. I now have a new reason to stop smoking!


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