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TITLE: Escape From the Routine
By Loretta Leonard

This humorous account is based on a true story. Spiritual truths from the story are discussed and a challenge is presented for Christians who need to stay close to the Lord.
4:00 AM--- I was busy on the floor of the discount store working methodically to open the boxes of items on pallets that need to be put on the shelf. It wasn’t easy being on the late night shift and the work was tedious and monotonous. Music played through the store to help lift everyone’s attitude. The time between 3:00 and 4:00 was the hardest time of all. It simply was hard to stay awake. If I didn’t need the extra money I would definitely be at home in bed.

My name is Kevin and what I am about to tell you is something that actually happened one night while I was working. I am a senior at Tyler High School and I have a part-time job to earn some extra cash for spending.

With only a couple of hours to finish my shift I was looking forward to getting home. Most of the toy items had been restocked and I was almost finished with the health and beauty aid items when I heard the sound. I wasn’t completely sure what it was but it definitely wasn’t a “store” noise.

The sound appeared to be in rhythm and made an echoing sound on the linoleum floor. Wait, it sounds almost like a clip…clop… clip… clop. Nah! There couldn’t be a horse in the store. What exactly was I hearing? I didn’t check to see what was going on for a while but I did hear the sound of two voices coming closer to where I was standing. I couldn’t understand what they were saying but I could hear laughter. The whinny of a horse confirmed that I really wasn’t having a dream at all.

Just as I walked into the center aisle I saw two young men sitting atop two chestnut mares. The horses boasted of a truly ruddy color with a flaxen colored mane. The animals were absolutely amazing and quite well-behaved. They kept pace with each other and didn’t seem to be bothered by the unusual “racetrack”.

On one horse was a young boy about 21 years old with short blonde hair. He was wearing a purple and gold t-shirt and had a bright gold cap on his head. His friend was about the same age but with long dark brown hair. He was wearing glasses and had a black t-shirt with a wrestling logo on the back. Both of them were laughing and talking back and forth. They had an air of confidence although I saw one of them look back to see if anyone in security had spotted them yet.

I tried to figure exactly why the horses were in the store and I came up with three possibilities. Perhaps the young men had been challenged by their peers to pull this stunt just to prove that they could do it. It could be a typical fraternity initiation rite where if they pulled off the stunt they would become a pledge. Then there was always the chance that they were on drugs and didn’t realize exactly what they were doing. It seemed highly unlikely but the possibility was there nonetheless. The last choice was the chance that both of them decided to do something “wild” just to see if they could get away with it. No matter what the reason, I stood there in astonishment as the team made its progression around the store.

The whole event took no more than five minutes. The walk started at the loading dock in the back. The horses walked around the outer aisles of the store and then walked the center aisle towards the back of the store where they disappeared. Everyone on the night staff began to talk about the incident. By now anyone who was working had either seen the stunt or had heard about it from someone else. The initial reaction was one of shock but after the shock wore off, laughter emanated from different parts of the store. It just didn’t seem plausible that something like this could happen. Questions about the identity of the two young men were voiced and everyone had stopped working.

Using walkie-talkies the managers kept in touch with each other. The store manager made his way to the back of the store where the loading docks were located. The customer service area made a phone call to the police and it would only be a short time until they arrived. The floor manager walked around the store trying to get everyone focused on their task. Boxes had to be opened and merchandise had to be shelved before the morning crew arrived. It would be hard to stay focused but since I had a job to do, I slowly went back to work. This time my mind would replay the scene with the horses over and over again.

The police arrived shortly after the riders had departed. They had not spotted anyone on their trip to the store but certainly they couldn’t be that far away. Even if they had a horse trailer to load the animals into, it would be rather obvious going down the road. The officers took time to ask questions to see if anyone could give any pertinent information before they looked at the security tape.

What could have been a peaceful night turned into a hectic scene that had consequences for many people. Although the entire event was hilarious everyone knew that the two pranksters had to be apprehended and held accountable for their actions. There were several legal and safety issues that had to be considered. The risks that these two young men took put the safety of everyone in the store in jeopardy. Health concerns had to be dealt with and it was no small task cleaning up before more customers arrived. (Thankfully, I wasn’t part of the clean-up crew!) The news media would surely hear about the story and it was almost certain that an article would appear in the next evening’s edition.

By now, adrenaline had taken over and I was fully awake. My intentions of leaving the store and going home to relax wouldn’t happen, at least for a while. And it would be rather neat to tell everyone that I was in the store when everything happened. Something like this is a once in a lifetime event. I don’t think anything else could top this stunt. I definitely will remember it for quite some time.

Kevin’s story shows me that I can do things that are amusing or may cause others to laugh but that there are always consequences. I may say something in jest without thinking about what I am doing or I may fail to take things seriously and hurt someone feelings. My attempt at joking about certain circumstances can have the opposite effect. If I make fun of others because of their appearance, the way that they walk or their inability to understand a simple concept, I have neglected to remember that God loves everyone.

Everything in life has a cause and effect. If I don’t always think ahead of what could happen, I can have extra problems that require my attention. I have to admit that I have been one of those drivers who dash into traffic and cut off other drivers. This was especially a problem when I lived in the area near Washington, D. C. Everyone seemed to be in such a rush and it was not uncommon for people to forget to be polite since there were so many people living in that area. It’s not as much of a problem now since I live in a small town, but a mistake in judgment can cause an accident. I was one of the lucky ones who escaped an accident.

I know of people who have decided to drive through someone’s lawn because they’re angry or because they don’t want to take the time to ask someone to move their car. In one case I know about the owner had just reseeded his lawn and the deep tire tracks ruined all the hard work. The result was that a friendship was broken and hurt feelings destroyed the bond that once was there.

I have had my mailbox knocked down because someone decided to ride around in a car and do it for fun. It’s frustrating to find the mailbox damaged and causes extra work for the home owner. In one area the prank was to ride around and use a baseball bat to break the windows in any car parked on the curb. It was an extra inconvenience for the car owner since not only did the car window have to be replaced but the expense had to be paid out of the owner’s pocket. In many cases the perpetrator can’t be found. Even in the smallest towns there are problems. Where I am currently living I have had my car damaged because someone who was drunk backed into it.

Other people may take a chance at hiding unpaid items they picked up in a store just to see if they can leave without getting caught. Others may steal cable TV or come up with a way to bypass paying for electricity. The risk of getting caught and having a criminal record is a serious issue and is a federal offense. Setting up drug laboratories to produce illegal drugs may initially reap monetary gain, but once the lab is discovered each person who is involved is arrested and faces criminal charges. What seemed insignificant at first or was a way to make extra money changes a life forever. In each of these cases dealing with the consequences is much harder than the person thought they would be.

From a spiritual aspect Christians can compromise their beliefs or move away from the teachings of the Bible. Cults may entice Christians to move away from the Lord and the faith of some people can be tested so much that they no longer accept God as someone who cares for them. And at times Christians may even think that the principles in the Bible do not apply directly to them in today’s world.

People who are not Christians may refuse to believe in Jesus as the Son of God because they feel that there is plenty of time to make a decision to serve Christ. Procrastination is the easy way out. Other people may turn away from serving Christ because other Christians have not made a positive impact on others. In Luke 6:25b we are admonished “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” Yes, living in this world and takings risks has consequences.

In the end, all of us will have to stand before God and give an accounting for the way we have lived our life. For me, I need to look carefully to be sure that my daily routine includes spending quality time with the Lord. When I stay focused on Him, others will notice a difference. My walk through life will keep me on the right path and I can be a testimony to others who are seeking guidance. Living day by day may be filled with routine tasks that are boring but escaping from the problems of this world with a time set aside for studying God’s word makes each day take on a new meaning.
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