Saturday, January 28, 2012

Yay, Pepper Spray!

Given the drastic rise in crime here the last couple of years, I'm almost surprised it took more than 8 months for someone to attempt to rob me. Funnily enough, it happened the same week I decided to stop worrying and running potential scenarios in my head.

10 year old boss's daughter took the order. I think I was subconsciously suspicious from the call. They placed a $47 cash order from an apartment we'd not delivered to before, in a crime ridden area, giving a number that didn't match our  caller ID. Had anyone else taken the order, they'd have confirmed the phone number before handing it off to the cooks.

Like I said, subconscious, so I didn't speak up then.

I left the restaurant with the order and a much smaller, credit card, order from a regular in the same complex.

When I deliver to houses, I often leave the engine running and the car unlocked. For apartments, even the nicer, safer ones, I turn off the engine and lock up. Either way, I usually leave the phone in the car.

Last night, something said to keep the phone on me.

The older gentleman who answered the door said they had not made an order. I showed him the receipt and confirmed it was the right address. I thanked him and apologized for the interruption then headed back. To the car.

I unlocked the door, set the bags in the driver seat, leaned back against the open door and started dialing the number on the receipt. I heard leaves crunching in the wooded area behind me as the gentleman from the apartment came out of the building. I assured him I would get the mix up taken care of as the phone played the "not a valid number" recording. The gentleman went back inside.

I turned to move the food to the passenger seat while simultaneously calling the restaurant. That's when four kids between 16-19 came out of the woods and headed towards the building. They split up and surrounded the car as I was stepping in. I hit the lock then shut the door as my co-worker answered the phone.

As I was explaining the situation, two of the kids came to the passenger side, blocking me from backing out. One of them knocked on the window while trying the door. "Hey, you got food?"

I turned to him and shouted "No!" then told my co-worker someone was trying to get in the car. They saw the glow of my phone in my hand and took off running. I hung up, backed out and saw the two who didn't approach the car leaning against the building, just around the corner.

I rolled down the passenger window and asked if they had placed an order. I got an emphatic "No ma'am!" in response.

All this happened in the space of maybe 2 minutes. It wasn't until Charlie informed me he wanted to ride shotgun for the rest of the shift that it hit me how serious it could have been.

Boss said next time call the police right away. We've made some policy changes in hopes of preventing a similar situation. Charlie wants to join me after 9 on the weekends. We picked up pepper spray this morning and he's chosen a 1.2M volt Tazer (not a stun gun) to purchase next Saturday.

Given that nothing ever happens when I'm worried about it, I have to admit I'm praying that learning to use these safety devices and being prepared means I'll never have need of them.

Either way... at least I'm a bit more prepared.