Always be aware of your surroundings......this is something that Jamie has ingrained in my brain since the day we met. He says that no matter what neighborhood you live in or where you are, you are subject for a "jacking" at any moment if you don't pay attention to what is around you. This thought process comes from years of experience and growing up in the "hood" (as he says). He and I grew up in totally different types of neighborhoods which gave us very different perspectives on what goes on around us. I "loosely" paid attention to his advice, and then one day, low and behold, I was the one who got "jacked." I was grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon in our old neighborhood. As I was coming out of the grocery store I did look around, but as usual didn't pay a ton of attention to what was going on around me. I was standing at the back of my car loading my groceries and all of the sudden a young black man was standing next to me. He was so close that I figured he must know me to be acting soooo familiar. I looked at him to see if I recognized him as one of Jamie's friends. He looked really young so I thought maybe he was one of my nephew's friends. I just kept thinking, he must know me because he is so close to me that our hips are touching. Never, ever did it cross my mind that something really bad was about to go down. Clearly, I trust too easily. Mind you, this is all happening in a matter of minutes. Finally when I realized I didn't know who he was, I looked at the young "man" and said, "Can I help you?" He then lifted his jacket and pulled out a gun and said, "See this, don't move, and don't say a word, where is your purse?" I just stood there in shock thinking this can't be happening! I thought for a second and then said, "It's in the front seat." It wasn't, but I just needed him to get away from me, so I could have a minute to breathe. He then said again, "Don't move and don't say a word, while his eyes were "bulging" out of his head." He was not playing! All the while people are coming and going having know idea what was happening right in front of their eyes. When he didn't find the purse in the front seat he started getting very upset. He said, "Where is it, where is it?!" I could see he was losing it, and realized I just needed to give it to him or he might shoot me. I told him it was right by me and he grabbed it and said, "Don't you say anything!" Then off he ran to a waiting car. I just stood their for a second and then just started to cry and yelled, "Someone call 911!" A car pulled up to me that had seen the guy running and asked if I had just been robbed. I said, "Yes! Call the police!" I think the thought of a gun being involved and what could have happened just shook me to my core because I was just in shock. The police arrived and amazingly enough it was the SAME cop that told me at the infamous "Toys "R" Us arrest" themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2009/07/false-arrest.html that "I would be on the ground with my husband if I didn't shut up." Really? What are the odds that of all the cops he would be the one to show up to "my robbery!?" So he took my statement, as I stood there shaking, and then I said, "Do you remember me?" Of course he didn't, so I quickly refreshed his memory. He said, "We were just doing our job that day." Yeah, whatever. I was too upset at what just happened to also re-live that terrible day. After that I went home and when I walked in the door I just started to cry. Jamie said, "What's wrong!?" I told him what happened and he was soooo MAD he was ready to go find the guy and "kill" him. Okay not literally, but let's just say it would not have been pretty if he had found him. Needless to say the guy was long gone. After that, for an entire year I was too freaked out to go to the grocery store. It was the weirdest thing. But the worst thing that came out of this was I kept thinking I was going to run into him again, or that he would come back and rob me again because he had all my information about where I lived. I would see a young black man that resembled him and literally start to shake. How awful is that? Afraid of young black men and I am married to a black man! It was a horrible feeling. These are the things that create the hateful stereotypes that I am so against, and this time I was the one living it! I felt guilty because of the fear and I felt anger because of what he "created" in my life. Over time I got over it and realized that my purse was probably in a dumpster somewhere and I was the last person on this young "man's" mind. I am sure karma has caught up with him and I hope with all my heart that he has changed, but I can guarantee he has no idea that what he did that day changed my life forever. One thing is for certain, you can be sure that I am now very aware of my surroundings even in my "safe" little neighborhood.