Angie Martinez leaned forward to lock the door of her shop at Harwood and Vines. It wasn't quite dark yet. Just dark enough to cause her to remember all the warnings she had heard about women walking to the car alone. It made her nervous and she had difficulty with the lock. Finally, she heard it tumble and click.
As she turned to make the short half block walk to her car, she noticed that the street lights were on and the darkness had crept up on her. She whispered a little prayer about angels protecting her as she increased her pace. The rhythmic click of her heels on the sidewalk made an erie hollow sound and contributed to her edginess.
Angie was almost at the drivers side with the keys in one hand and cell phone in the other when he dashed out of the shadows of a nearby building, right towards her. He was wearing a pullover jersey with the hood up to obscure his face and brandishing a small gun. She screamed and dropped both her cell phone and her keys.
"PICK 'EM UP!" he shouted. And she could see the gun pointed right at her. "Hand over your money, NOW!"
Angie was shaking badly and could not speak or move. She had always thought that if something like this happened she would be calm and collected. Make all the right moves...even witness to the offender. But instead, she found herself paralyzed with fear. She closed her eyes and began to call on her Saviour.
"Jesus, help me", she prayed silently.
The assailant demanded again that she hand over her money. And that's when she remembered she had left her purse in the shop. She very gingerly looked back towards Vines Avenue and saw the little sign over the shop, lit up by the street light - "Vines Gift Shop".
She turned back to the gunman and said with a calmness she had not possessed before, " I don't have much money, but I'll give you what I have if we can go back to my shop. I left my purse inside."
"You better not be lying, girl." He threatened, as he used the gun to motion her back toward the shop. "I'm watchin' every move you make, and I aint got nuthin' to lose."
"I need my keys" she said, as she slowly bent to pick them up.
The phone and the keys had slid under the car and slightly behind the tire, out of the robber's view. As she reached for the keys she hastily pressed the phones red button, programmed to dial 911. Standing up again she held the keys out to the gunman. He didn't notice that the phone still lay on the street. He silently motioned with the gun for her to go first. She knew she needed to say something that the operator could hear. So she began to tell the gunman that he was making a mistake, and that God loved him and had a plan for his life.
He shouted to her to shut up and start walking. She did.
She was placing the key in the lock when a patrol car rounded the corner and approached the shop. The gunman panicked and ran. The officer gave chase.
Before long, Vines Avenue was filled with squad cars - red and blue lights flashing and radios squawking. Then, a very out of breath policeman returned, pulling along a young man in handcuffs.
Angie was relieved but sad for the young man. After they placed him in the squad car, Angie approached him and said, "I told you I did not have much money, but what I had, I would give you. He looked away from her but she continued. I give you this, "Jesus Christ loves you and wants to give you a second chance. Just trust Him. He died for you. He is your hope. He's waiting for you to call out to him right now."
The door to the squad car closed. As it began to pull away from the curb, the gunman turned toward her with a look that told her he would be calling on the Lord before the night's end.
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