The Robbery

Snap your finger. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Did you do it? Liar…come on do it!

You’re the best!

That finger snap is the amount of time it takes for your life to change. I was robbed at gunpoint after work on Thursday, Sept. 1.

I work at a gas station so I suppose the concept of robbery is something that comes up. It always plays in the back of your mind but what are the chances right? Just a few weeks ago I was telling people how we never got robbed. I’ve been there 4 years now and our location is pretty good and it just felt safe all the time. After 4 years one tends to let their guard down.

I’m an Assistant Manager at my job and I usually work mornings or mid shifts. I was getting worn out with it and I’d asked my boss to give me more closing shifts. Closing is my favorite shift because the people are usually nicer and I can focus on none paperwork portions of my job. Plus I got to sleep in most days which, I mean, is the best. My mood has been a lot better and I have been in a happy place since the switch. I missed closing because there were so many people I hadn’t seen, old regulars that took me back to when I first started working there. I also enjoyed that I could actually talk to them for more than a few seconds since it’s a lot slower around that time. This was MY shift, I dominated it and even on my “bad” nights I still left work feeling good.

That night was like any other honestly. My boss and co worker before me both had awful days. It was the first of the month so it was very busy. Not the normal busy either and at my job things tend to break at the worse times. I talked a bit to my co worker and we have become great friends so I decided to go into work early to keep him company for a bit. I know how it can get up there sometimes and having someone to just talk it out with helps a ton. Besides, I was having a great day! I grabbed some grub and parked my car next to the dumpster where the few parking spaces for us  are.

He was having a rough day and there seemed to be a lot of people that we didn’t recognize up there this particular day. That isn’t odd though because around the 1st all the creeps come out to play. He kept telling me to “Get ready” because how the day was going I was going to have a crazy night. We switched shifts and I begin to work my shift, probably the last normal feeling shift I’ll ever have at this place.

The night came and things were a bit hectic. It WAS busy for a night shift but nothing I couldn’t handle. I mean come on…I’m pretty great! Still, I was running behind on store duties that I had to perform because of how busy it was. Now per company policy 30 mins before close, we are supposed to pull our car up next to the door before we leave. I do that, sometimes, and I remember thinking that maybe I should do that tonight. I didn’t because I was already behind and I’ve done this before, it was no big deal. My cell phone had died around 8:30 and I’d left my portable charger in the car, again I thought of going out to my car but I just didn’t for some reason.The phone rang at around 10 and a lady asked me what time we closed. I told her 11:30 and remember thinking that was an odd question. The phone never rings that late but again, it was the first.

I tend to make up things  in my head to keep me entertained at work and this particular night I was imagining I was on a late night talk show (a glimpse into my brain indeed) and I remember thinking ‘Constant Vigilance.” I was thinking about how easy we sometimes lose track of what’s important and that in life we must constantly stay vigilant to everything that was around us. I’m not sure if my brain was trying to warn me but looking back I find it funny that it was a bit on my mind to watch my surroundings more.

Earlier that day a friend of mine had her phone stolen. I remember reading that and thinking “Maybe I should turn my Find my iPhone feature on. Who knows I could lose my phone one day!” I actually picked up my phone to do it and then shrugged it off and sat it back down. I wasn’t going to lose my phone, I mean what are the odds?

I clocked out at 11:39. I remember because I just sat there. I’m not sure why but I just kinda stared at the screen for a while. Normally I’m in a hurry to get out but this night I was really calm. I’d got most of the work done and since my phone was dead I had no distractions for the rest of the evening. It was nice. I just sat there for about a minute soaking it all in.

“I think I’m going to go to Hey Joes tonight to see if my friends are working,” I thought as I sat there just staring at the screen. I took a deep breath and got up to leave. I locked the door behind me and grabbed the trash bag. I walked around the store one more time to make sure everything was locked and walked towards the dumpster. I threw the bag in and turned to unlock my car. As I did I thought I saw movement…no wait there was movement…there is a man standing in front of me. I was about to speak, thinking he was just another random walking by until I saw the gun pointed at me.

“Oh, here we go…” I thought as I locked my car door and put my keys in my pocket.

“Where’s the bag of money?” the man asked me. In his voice was a hint of anxiety. He was either new at this or just really really nervous.

He was a black male, shorter than me and he had on a ski mask. I remember looking to see if I recognized him but he didn’t seem familiar. As he rushed towards me and started patting my pockets is when I realized I was in the middle of a robbery. Of course. That’s what I get about bragging about not getting robbed last week, oh life you are hilarious.

“There is no bag of money man,” I said trying not to let the sarcasm seep to the surface. This guy had changed my night and I was nothing short of annoyed. He patted my pockets and asked me again where the bag of money was.

“I have no bag of money man.”

“Take me to the safe, get me the money!” he said as he grabbed me by the shirt and turned me around, shoving the gun or stick or whatever it was in my back. In all honesty I didn’t get a good look at the thing but I like to think gun since, hey, street cred!

As we walked back to the kiosk I remember looking over at the Wal Mart parking lot. There were three 18 wheelers parked there facing me and I remember thinking, “If anyone is seeing this do something please.”

“I can’t get into the safe but I can give you what money we do have,” I said as I unlocked the door.

We walked in and I handed him the money that we hide every night.

“Here, this is all we have man.”

“No, open the safe.”

“I can’t open it, here I’ll show you.”

I put in my code and the words “SAFE LOCKED! CANNOT BE OPENED!” flashed across the screen.

“See, I can’t open it man…”

“Open the safe! You want to get shot nigga?!”

“No, but I just…ok…let me show you again…”

SAFE LOCKED! CANNONT BE OPENED!

I remember gesturing my hand at the safe in a matter of fact kind of way. Could this guy not read or what?

“I want that money, you want to get shot?”

“No.”

“Get on the floor nigga, get on the floor. Yeah, you want to get shot huh. Open the safe, where’s the money”

I lay on the floor and I hear these sounds. I’m not sure exactly what but it was metal on metal. Maybe he was loading the gun or just doing that so I knew he had something. What I did know was that he was nervous. Once he saw that the safe couldn’t open he got more jittery.

“Open the safe….you want to get shot nigga?!?!”

“No.”

Now at this point I’m more annoyed than anything. Stop asking me if I want to get shot, you know the answer. Sorry that I’m not acting all scared but dude, you’re the most annoying robber ever.

“I gave you all we have. Now if you want more money than there’s some in the coin tray.”

“Where is it?”

I motioned towards the register and he reached over and grabbed a few coins and muttered something about it not being enough.

“OPEN THE SAFE!”

“I JUST showed you that I can’t do it man, what do you want from me? Fine…”

I tried to get up to show him, again, that there was nothing I could do.

“GET BACK ON THE FLOOR NIGGA, DON’T GET UP. YOU WANT TO GET SHOT”

I sighed and got back on the floor. As I was there, looking at some swishers that were on the floor, I felt my first feeling of fear. At that moment I realized that this guy could really shoot me. He was desperate and he didn’t get nearly as much as he planned. Man…I hope he shoots me in the leg at least…

He started patting me down. He pulled out my wallet and then went for my pockets.

“Oh you got an iPhone 6 huh nigga?”

“Yep…”

“Don’t you move nigga…”

I hear the door open but I’m not sure if he’s gone yet. I waited a few more seconds, jumped up and locked the door. I turn around and there is a customer standing there outside of the window. Our eyes met.

“Hey, can I get $25 on pump 12?”

All I could do was shrug and I said ‘We’re closed man.”

Afterwards, I called the cops, my boss and my co-worker, all who came up as quick as they could. I noticed that he’d left my wallet there on the floor. Nothing was missing but my cash (of course I’d cashed my check yesterday!). The police came and we watched the video and saw that the customer may very well be the reason he left. The customer was walking up, right as he ran out and looked at me on the ground. The rest of the night was re-telling the tale, re-watching it and laughing at the luck I seem to have. Things keep happening to me but I always make it through somehow.

Afterwards I told my roommate and called my parents and told them what happened. I then posted about it on Facebook and proceeded to watch some YouTube videos. Once all the comments started pouring in is when I think I finally realized how big of a deal that was. Instead of “We’re glad you’re alright,” it could’ve been “R.I.P.’s” and it slowly sunk in what I’d been through.

The next day I woke up early to go and see if I could get my phone suspended. Right as I was about to hit the highway my car died. Of course it did. I managed to get it back on and yesterday it died again. I needed help to get it back on this time. My car had been doing fine but apparently it didn’t want to be one-upped. That was the first moment I felt really upset about everything.

“You trying to break me life? Is that what you want?!?!!”

I was very upset but thank God for friends. I really do have some of the best people in my life.

I just woke up from a dream about a potential robbery. Apparently, this runs deeper than even I thought. The aftermath has been a whirlwind but I had to let those closest to me know that I was alright. Each day it seems to sink in more. I’m glad it happened to me and not one of my other coworkers. I’m glad to still be here to write this and tell those I love that I appreciate them. I’ve been back to my job multiple times since Thursday and I always seem to glance over at the dumpster.

It’s too early to say how this has impacted me. I don’t know if I can work there anymore and feel comfortable. I don’t want to be one of those paranoid people who are always looking over their shoulders. That isn’t me but I just keep glancing over at the dumpster…

One snap of a finger is all it takes. One second and your life is changed. Appreciate the now. All of my plans could’ve ended that day, I know that now. As I looked at my FaceBook page I realized that this could’ve been how I was always remembered. I am thankful for all the love and support that has come my way. I am blessed and highly favoured and I know that there are people out there praying for me. Constant vigilance friends.

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