It was August 28th 1998 and I had been back in Atlanta about a month. I had transferred from Maryland with my job and was thrilled to be home with my family and friends. The previous year had been a tough one. I lost a job and Robb and I had finally called it quits. I was still trying to sell a house in Maryland so Mom was nice enough to let me stay with her for the time being. It was the back to school season at work and I had been working long and very late hours.
My District Manager had asked if I would work the Alpharetta store. It was a large volume store and she felt I was experienced enough to be able to handle the crowds. From the moment I started at this store I felt like everything was out of control. We didn't have enough employees and we didn't have time during the day to search for people. We were desperately trying to keep enough merchandise on the floor to satisfy the throngs of students heading back to school. The General Manager had also transferred from Maryland and she understood my anxiety and frustration with this new store.
The night of the incident I had the closing shift and she came to me and asked if I had a plan to recover the store. I told her that we would stay until we were back in shape and ready for work tomorrow. We left around 12am and the store was in fair condition. I walked out with Jamal and I thanked him for all his help and then I got in my car and drove home. The drive home was uneventful but I had a feeling that I was being followed. When I turned on Sheridan the feeling was really strong but I was almost home so I ignored my better judgment.
As I pulled in the driveway those feelings went away and all I could think of was sleep. I opened the door of the car and stepped out. I was immediately confronted by a man dressed in all black pointing a gun in my face. I screamed but then I decided I didn't want Mom to wake up and come out. I didn't want her to get hurt and she might make things worse. So I became quiet and he told me to come with him. At first I thought he wanted me, but then he told me that we were going back to the store and that I was going to open the safe for him. I was calmed knowing that all he really wanted was money. I was also calmed by the fact that there was another presence or entity with me helping me through this.
My Dad had passed away in 1993 but I knew that he was still there watching over Mom. He was angry that this was happening at his house, I could feel his anger and at one point he took a swing at the guy with the gun. Then he stayed with me through the whole evening. The first man put me in the back seat of an old camaro or firebird. He then grabbed my car keys and took off. I was worried that he would go in the house and hurt Mom. I was also upset because I had an old church key that belonged to Dad on that key ring. Dad sat next to me and held my hand and the second man told me we were going back to the store and nothing would happen to me if I would be cooperative.
I was worried about Mom and so I started talking to the driver and asked why he took my keys. He told me that they needed to dump the car we were in and they were going to take my car. I asked if they had plans to go in the house. I was assured that all they wanted was the car. I could feel Dad assure me that everything would be okay. We got to the store and the man opened the door and grabbed my arm and told me to come with him. He had a gun pointed at my ribs and he told me not to look at him. I had lost a contact lens in the back seat of the car so I couldn't see much anyway.
Dad followed me and kept telling me to stay calm that this would be over soon. The man told me to unlock the store and then he directed me to the alarm panel. He warned me not to do anything stupid because he would use the gun if he needed to. I turned the alarm off and then he directed me to the cash office. He told me to open the safe and he also wanted all the laptops in our lockup area. He told me to unlock that room too. I did what he asked and he handed me a canvas bag and told me to open the safe and put all the money in the bag. I opened the top of the safe and put all the bills and some rolled coins in the bag.
What the robber didn't know was that most of the cash was in the bottom of the safe and I had no intention of opening it unless he demanded it. He then took the bag and tied my hands and feet together and told me to lay down on the floor and that he would be back. The minute he left I jumped up and hobbled to the door and slammed the door closed. He couldn't get in the cash office without the key. I then was able to wiggle out of the tape on my hands and set off the alarm. Dad stayed with me the whole time.
I called the police and I called my GM and DM to let them know I was OK. When I got home about 4am that morning I told Mom about Dad being with me through out the whole ordeal and she was not surprised nor did she think I was crazy or delusional. She knows he watches her and she feels his presence too. She feels that he wants to make up in death what he was not able to give us in life.
For me he has given me more in that one night than I could ever ask. Thanks Dad, I Love you.