Friday, January 8, 2016


Even though I live near a large metropolitan city, I have hardly ever felt unsafe in my rural neck of the woods. That is, until now. On Wednesday, I ran my weekly errand to a nearby town (where they have an Aldi, Meijer, Target, and Big Lots - ha, the list of stores that draw me to this particular town makes me sound pathetic). I tend to shop out there once a week, even though it takes me 20-30 minutes to get there.

As I exited the Meijer, my purse dangling loosely from my shoulder, I looked to the right and saw a woman on the ground at the other entrance and a car speeding towards me. I stepped out of the way of the frantic car and thought perhaps it had been a domestic dispute and the driver had pushed the woman out of the car and raced off to leave her behind. Within seconds, shouts began to clarify things, as the car sped off out of the parking lot and onto the main road. The woman on the ground yelled "He grabbed my purse." (I'm guessing the thief leaned out of the passenger window, grabbed the purse, and then dragged the woman along until she released her hold on the purse.) A woman walking behind me yelled, "It was a black Kia. He was driving a black Kia. Call the cops!" I saw a man put a phone to his ear, but by that time the Kia was already entering the main road and speeding off. It sounded like the woman had placed her car keys in her purse, because she cried out, "He got my keys, too." She took up the hand of a small child and began entering the building.

When I walked to my vehicle, I was overcome with a mixed feeling of dread and relief. I was so shaken I had to call my husband to replay the events for him. It was just too close for comfort. Two thoughts stood out. 1) That could have been me in just a few seconds' time if the original target of the crime hadn't been there. 2) They could have run me over in their attempts to flee the scene quickly (I had jumped out of the way just in time).

I have to admit, I have no desire to return to that town. I'm fearful of walking into that store with my purse on my shoulder. If I return I will probably only bring my cash or card in my pocket or will clutch my purse to me as if my life depended on it. I wondered all day whether the woman was able to retrieve at least her keys so she could drive her small child home. Did she have children in school she needed to return home for or pick up? Did the criminals ditch her bag once they withdrew the money and credit cards they were after?

It reminded me of three other events that left me shaken even closer to home. One, when a lunatic driver came barreling down the road behind us and threatened to crash into us or run us off the road (I sped up and did get off the road only to find an accident later on down the road when we got back on). The second, when Trevor was almost hit (within a few inches of contact) crossing the street to board the bus by a driver who failed to slow for the bus stop sign on our street where cars zoom past at around 40 or 50 mph. I saw that from our front door and was equally shaken. The third time, Trevor was on his bike and his pant leg caught in the chain and he continued on across the road (thanks to his guardian angel, no cars were approaching). Near misses all. Too close for comfort. This world is a dangerous place!

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