It was December of 2003. Three days before Christmas. I was working as a customer service rep at the bank I used to be employed by. It was the usual Monday morning, customers walking in and out. Close to 10:00am after our cash shipment arrived, two men walked in the branch. I only noticed the one. He was the one who sat in the lobby with the people I help. But he did not look like a man. He was dressed in drag.
I worked in a part of town that this was very common. Men in drag. So I really didn't think much of it. Actually, the one thing that ran through my mind was, 'Grrreat. I'm gonna be the one who has to help him.' Yes, it was very obvious it was a man in a muumuu with a black wig.
As I stood up to call the next person on the sheet, I didn't even get the words out, 'Can I help you?' when the man in drag stood up, grabbed me, then proceeded to shove me down. The next thing that happened will be imprinted on my brain forever-----he pulled out a silver Glock pistol, grabbed the man next to me and put a the gun to his head. He started to yell, 'Open the vault or I'm gonna kill him!!' with plenty of expletive in between. The man who was being held down, in the softest voice possible: 'Please, don't.'
The second man, whom I never noticed, was in the teller line when the first man pushed me down. Immediately when the first man pushed me down, the second man ran out of line, to the first teller, and put a gun to that tellers face yelling profanity laced threats. It was the most maddening, chaotic mess I had ever seen.
The only thing that came flashing through my mind when I was sitting on the floor with my knees pressed to my chest sobbing uncontrollably was:
1) I'm going to die
2) I never got to have a baby.
My husband and I were only married two and a half years at the time, and were not planning on trying for another two and a half years for a baby. I have read that in a moment of panic during a life-threatening situation, the mind uses the defense of thinking on the most cherished of things: a parent, loved one or your mind dwells on things you wish you would have had/done.
The whole event seemed like it went on for hours, but before I knew it, the perpetrators ran out of the bank with only $600. Kind of like Einsteins Theory of Relativity: the perception of time is VERY subjective. According to scientific studies, when the brain is subjected to disconcerting or deviant stimuli, it actually causes the person to have an overestimation of time. In my case, what seemed like hours, was in actuality not even 20 minutes.
Later, we had this winner touchy-feely human resource counselor come in. He seriously made me laugh. He was coaxing us to talk about what happened, and when someone shared something, he ALWAYS brought up a Star Wars reference. For instance: I mentioned that I felt like really couldn't trust customers again. He responded; 'Its kind of like Luke in the Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader tells him he is his father. He did not trust him or his feelings. But in the end, when he decided to trust his feelings and his father, he did not fall to the dark side.'
I like Star Wars (as previously noted, I am a sci-fi geek) but this is NOT THE TIME OR PLACE, DUDE!!!!
In the end, after taking a few days off, I was ok. A little shaken up, but ok.
It's things like this that really put things in perspective.
It makes you thankful for being alive.