Hannah Bunker »

Destin Vacay: Part 2, Holdup

Read Part 1 of this story here.

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You know that feeling when you have to put your dog to sleep because she has severe heart failure and you’re standing there giving her kisses as you watch the life drain from her eyes while they’re euthanizing her…and you begin to see stars and all of a sudden your vision fades to black like a vignette at the end of a movie from the 1930s…and before you know it you’re being picked up off the floor and fanned by a stranger while everyone is asking if you’re okay?

Sorry to sound so morbid.

That really happened to me and that’s the feeling I had after Aaron talked to his bank manager friend who was relaying the details of Aaron’s bank being robbed while we were on our way to Destin, Florida.

We were sitting at a gas station in Slidell, Louisiana after just having a traumatic episode of almost running out of gas in the middle of the Louisiana swamp when we learned that Aaron’s bank branch at home had just been robbed at gun point by two men who jumped behind the counter and demanded money. As soon as Aaron hung up the phone from his coworker, I couldn’t breathe. Like, air was physically not getting to my lungs and I started to hyperventilate. Then I started to cry. Not just cry, sob. Sobbing and hyperventilating are not a good mix. You need air for sobbing and hyperventilating prevents that. Before I knew it, I was in full-blown panic attack.

Aaron quickly jumped out of the drivers seat, ran around the car, opened my passenger door, pulled my shocked and stiff body of my passenger seat, and hugged me. He pulled me tight into his chest, wrapped his arm around my head, his hand stroking my hair, and continued to whisper, “I’m here. I’m here.” over and over again until I was able to catch my breath.

“Yeah, you’re here with me but it still happened. People were pointing guns and threatening lives! It’s too dangerous to work there. You can’t go back. You have to quit. And then you won’t have a job…and then we’ll lose our house…and our car…and we won’t be able to afford a baby…we’ll be homeless asking for food under a bridge…and we’ll have to sneak into a Starbucks bathroom to take baths in their bathroom sink…and you can’t get the medication you need for your hurt shoulder…and where will I find sanitary products for that time of the month…and I need an internet connection to write blog posts…and another homeless person will try to steal my laptop when I’m not looking…and I need to finish writing my book…and we’ll never be able to go on another vacation SO ENJOY THIS ONE WHILE YOU CAN!”

I tend to get irrational when I’m in panic mode. Don’t take me seriously.

Running out of gas 7 miles from the nearest gas station is nothing compared to the thought of your husband’s life being in danger. His bank being robbed in those circumstances is a nightmare that crosses my mind every day and I pray with all of my earnest heart, God’s divine protection over his life when he goes to work. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And I pray for Him to protect my mind from the fear that is waiting to pounce on my thoughts. Which He did protect him in this situation by allowing him to be on vacation. But it still happened. It happened to his coworkers. And my heart breaks that anyone had to go through that.

The shock wore off. The panic subsided. The anger started taking over.

“And excuse me but is this the wild west?! Who friggin’ robs a bank with a gun any more?! You might as well be wearing chaps and covering your handlebar mustache with a bandana like a stupid monkey. Robbing a bank with a gun is so barbaric and immature. Show some smarts and do it like they do on TV and be smart and use a computer. At least that’s somewhat classy, even though computer thievery is also pretty jerky. And what idiot robs a bank an hour after it opens? Of course he got mad that there wasn’t any money. You don’t plant a garden and get pissed that the vegetables aren’t grown the next day then stick a gun in the vegetable’s face and force them to grow by scaring them. That’s what an idiot does. And why do you have to be mean?! Why do you have to threaten to kill people? If you’re going to rob a bank, don’t put anyone’s life in danger and BE NICE!”

Remember, I’m irrational when I’m in angry panic mode. Don’t take me seriously.

Sidenote: I would also be the worst bank robber ever.

I would also like to note that I’m pretty much yelling all of this in the middle of a gas station, so there’s that factor. There weren’t many people around because it is Slidell, Louisiana, after all. Hopefully, if someone was thinking of robbing the gas station at that moment, my tirade dissuaded them and helped them turn their life around. Or they thought I was reading their mind but was just substituting “bank” for “gas station” as code and they were scared the cops were on their way so they got so scared that they decided never to rob gas stations again.

I like to think my tirade made me a hero that day.

I was able to calm down and we sat for a few more moments to gather our composure. As we took off I was still in a little bit of shock, feeling incredibly horrible for his coworkers, and praying away the fear that was trying to creep its way into my mind. We didn’t want to talk about it but we were also too distracted to focus on the audio book we had been enjoying. So we rode with worship music playing until Mobile, Alabama where we stopped at a Zaxby’s for lunch.

For lunch we enjoyed some chicken and fries and sweet tea that helped settle our uneasy, hungry stomachs. We got in the car and left our lunch place. “Only a few more hours until the beach.” we proclaimed, with an air of hope in our voice that the beach’s waves would wash away our distractions. As we entered the freeway to head East toward Pensacola and soon, Destin, Aaron was making his way up to the posted speed limit.

We looked into the rearview mirror and out of nowhere….flashing lights.

Cops.

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Epilogue: I just wanted to let you know that everyone at the bank is okay and no one got hurt. The robbery turned into a police chase and the two men were caught. Suckers.

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Come back tomorrow for Part 3!

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