I was on my way to pick up my oldest daughter that night. About 10 days earlier, her car had been stolen from a parking lot. The police had called and said the car had been found and we could pick it up at the Impound Lot that evening. I was to meet her at the bagel shop she managed, help her close up and we would retrieve her vehicle. As I drove in traffic hitting every single stop light on the way, I became really frustrated. Our plan was perfectly orchestrated to get to that lot before it closed and these delays were throwing it all off. What I didn’t know was that I was driving toward the most frightening night of my life and the gods of time had their own schedule for the events about to unfold.
As I approached the bagel shop looking for a parking space, I saw the guy behind the counter with the ski mask on. I whipped my car into the first space I saw. I got out, locked the doors and started towards the shop thinking I was going to really lay into my daughter for joking around like that, someone might think they were being robbed for crying out loud. As I started to go through the door, my daughter looked at me with such terror in her eyes and mouthed, “No! Mom!”
“Holy Crap! It isn’t a joke this guy IS robbing her. Think quick, Bev. Don’t alarm him. Go get help but don’t be obvious. MOVE Woman!” I listened to the voice in my head and tried to act nonchalant backing away from the door like I had changed my mind about going in. I think I even snapped my fingers like I had forgotten something. So I walked out of sight and then I ran like a crazy woman to the bar a couple of doors down the street where cops were known to hang out on a regular basis.
I stormed through the door and did a quick scan of the place. Not an obvious cop in the whole joint! So I yell out, “Are there any cops in here?”
“No lady. No men in blue in here tonight. You got troubles?” the bartender yells back.
“Well then call the cops! The bagel shop is being robbed and my daughter is in there by herself!”
I see the bartender pick up the phone and I turn and start back to the bagel shop with about half of the bar behind me. As I get to the door, there is no one in sight. No guy in a black ski mask and no daughter, the place looks empty. I start to barge in to see if I can find her but two strong hands yank me back. I swear the guy actually picked me up and sat me down. “Now lady you need to stay out here! The cops are on the way, I can hear the sirens. Just stay here and let the cops do their jobs. If you go in there, they might hurt her and you too.” says the burly bouncer looking guy that is holding me in place.
All sorts of awful scenarios start playing in my head. They could have hit her over the head and she was bleeding on the floor somewhere. If the guy had a gun and he saw me run for help, he might have shot her. He might have decided to take her hostage. All I knew was I saw the terror in her eyes and now I couldn’t see her at all and I was more frightened than I’ve ever been in my life!
The cops swarm the place from the front and back with guns drawn walking slowly and clearly not seeing my daughter or they would have stopped. That is when I started to talk…
“Lord, you know I’m not strong enough to lose that girl! Listen Lord, if it is written in a book somewhere that she is supposed to go home with you tonight, take me instead! Don’t take her! I offer myself right now in her place, take me but not her!”
A woman with an angelic face stepped into my vision and said so very softly, “No one is going home with Him tonight.” I didn’t see her walk away, it is like she vanished. What I did see was my daughter walking out with the cops from the back. She was alive! She didn’t seem hurt, shaken but not hurt.
After what seemed like an eternity the police finally let me in to hold my daughter and they took my statement. I couldn’t stop shaking. The fear of losing my daughter to some punk with a gun had a solid grip on my heart! And then I realized that the gods of time had orchestrated the whole thing in perfect timing. They delayed me so that I would be able to get help for her and I had to be thankful for that. They knew that I would dig deep for the strength to get help. The going just a little crazy and offering myself as a sacrifice might have surprised them a tad. I still don’t appreciate having to face the mortality of my daughter like that, a mother shouldn’t have to see that sort of terror in her child’s eyes, not ever.