After church last night Darling Daughter went into the corner gas station to buy her dad a Milky Way. I waited in the car, parked right outside the store. I watched Darling Daughter go inside, then turned to mess with the radio. And then I waited. And waited. And my phone rang, so I talked briefly, while waiting and waiting. I was looking around inside, through the windows and couldn't see Darling Daughter's curly head anywhere. The store was practically empty, except for the two cashiers, who kept taking nervous glances out the windows. It suddenly occurred to me that she had been gone for 10 minutes. To buy a candy bar. And I couldn't see her. Anywhere. And her cell phone was on the seat beside me.
A million thoughts went through my head as I got out of the car and headed toward the door. Had someone grabbed her and gone out the back? We she being attacked in the bathroom? Had someone snatched her and driven away while I was fiddling with the radio? Has she passed out by the cooler and no one had found her yet? Why did the cashiers looked worried? Maybe I was being silly, but when your 15 year old goes inside a store to make a 20 second purchase and never returns...
As I approached the door, one of the cashiers glanced at me and headed over to the store rest room. I saw her knock on the door, poke her head inside, say something, then out she came with my baby girl...who was visibly shaking and upset. No wonder. To my immediate left, between the cash register and the door, was a crazy person. Ranting, flinging his arms wildly about, a scary look in his eyes and strongly resembling Grizzly Adams, this man was frightening. The cashier stepped outside with us and explained that they (the two young women working in the store) had already called the police, but this man had been in the store for quite some time. When Darling Daughter had walked in, she hadn't noticed him at first. Then, as she went toward the candy aisle, he began screaming about how nobody really knew him and what he was capable of. He yelled that he may just be about to blow the store sky high and kill them all! He mumbled incoherently for a minute, then went on back to talk of shooting, killing, blowing things up. And he was standing, flailing, screaming, in between Darling Daughter and the door! The cashier had sneaked over to her, told her they had called the police, but she wasn't sure what to do until they got there and she didn't feel safe.
Darling Daughter didn't hesitate. She couldn't get passed the man. So she went straight into the bathroom behind her, and locked herself inside! And then dissolved into tears wondering how she would ever get out, how would I know what was going on, because he phone was in the car, wondering if she was really going to be blown up. My poor baby!!
In the end, we ended up staying, OUTSIDE, until the police arrived, just moments later. The girls working there were terrified, and I couldn't see leaving them all alone. Naturally, our small town force sent their answer to Barney Fife...our own 5 foot tall, 80 pound officer. But he's capable. And he has a gun. So we left. Quickly.
On the way home, Darling Daughter calmed down. We discussed how she did the best thing she could think of at the time...she got away from the crazy man. However, we also discussed that if she's ever in a situation that makes her feel uncomfortable like that, she should LEAVE, if at all possible. Run out the back and find an exit. Because, what if the place really had blown up? Also, she is NEVER getting out of my car without her phone again. At the very least, she could have called her mommy!