“Many of us at one time or another have experienced a sudden burst of extreme clarity, a welcome flash of knowing exactly what to do…”
At age 16 I lived with my father in a middle-class suburb of Los Angeles and attended high school atop a hill a few miles from home. Sometimes after school I’d trek down the hill with my best girlfriend to her house to hang out and listen to music.
I hadn’t started driving yet, so around dinnertime Daddy would pick me up and chauffeur me back to our quiet neighborhood. One evening I stayed at my friend’s a little later than usual, causing us to arrive home after dark.
Daddy turned the key in the lock and opened the front door. We took a few steps inside our dimly lit home and then out of the silent darkness appeared two men armed with handguns, their faces disguised by dark nylon stockings pulled tightly over their heads, smashing their features into horrific masks.
At the sight of the intruders I felt an immediate rush of panic followed almost instantly by an inexplicable calm. Somehow I felt at peace and remained relaxed as the unforeseen events unfolded.
The monster-men led us into my father’s bedroom and held us hostage there. That’s when I found out Daddy had a safe hidden in his bedroom closet. The robbers wanted him to open it. They waited for the owner of the house to come home for just that reason.
These men meant business. They sat me on the bed and one of them held a gun to my temple and the other held a gun on my father. Daddy immediately identified the gun pointing to his chest as the one he kept in his nightstand; the one he kept loaded!
I sat still, not wanting to anger the man holding a gun to my head. I could have screamed or cried or pleaded, but I said nothing.
“Open the safe!” the robber demanded. Daddy had been dealing in diamonds on the side and I guess he had a fortune in the safe. Even with a loaded gun to his chest, he wouldn’t open it. “I can’t remember the combination,” he lied.
The gunman threatened, “Open the safe or I’ll hurt the girl!” Daddy still refused and then he launched into the best sales pitch I’ve ever heard.
He started talking to the men nonstop. He pleaded with them not to ruin their lives. At that point my father divulged a secret—he too had engaged in crime, “I’ve been in your position and it isn’t worth it.” “Believe me you don’t want to ruin your lives for this.” Then he repeated many renditions of the same warning.
The men listened in awe, mesmerized by his speech. While continuing his hypnotizing spiel and with a gun still pointed at him, Daddy slowly moved, subtly maneuvering the tranced robber out of the bedroom, down a short hallway and into our front room.
The drapes that stretched across the entire front wall of the room had gone to the cleaners the day before, so our bare picture-widows offered a wide-open view of the street. With a gun to his chest Daddy kept talking. Then something unexpected happened.
My armed captor and I heard the commotion from the bedroom—the wrath of a miracle manifesting. Through the exposed windows my father spotted a patrol car driving by our house. He took a chance, ignored the gun held on him and bolted out the front door flagging down the cop, “Stop! They have my daughter!”
The masked man quit holding his gun to my head and took off running, abandoning me safe on the bed. Both robbers dashed through our house and fled out the back door.
A neighborhood dragnet ensued. That night the police found one man hiding in the overgrown bushes near our house. The other man got caught a few days later. For their botched robbery both men ended up in prison.
We made local headlines. When the news came out, some people criticized Daddy for leaving me alone with the gunman, but I witnessed his genius, the subtle and critical decisions he made on the fly.
My father remained calm in a very dangerous situation. By taking his focus off fear he gained access to his innate clarity, empowering him to know the best action to take. Daddy used his gift of empathy and his honed skill of salesmanship to make the deal of a lifetime, securing the welfare of all his gems including his most precious, me.Share This: