06 May 2016

Julie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Tuesday started out like any other day in the work week. I went to the DeVargas Center to mail a package, buy cds for some family photos I took, and to get a cup of coffee. One weird thing was that Starbucks was out of "grande" sized cups, so they gave me a larger one. Next, I went home and took pictures of some quilts I'd recently finished and posted them on Etsy. I also had to call Fabric.com, because while I was working on a baby bedding order, I discovered that my foam pack for the bumper pads had only 5 of 6 pieces. They were very nice and agreed to send me a new pack of foam immediately.

That afternoon, I was supposed to help my friend Jen cook a meal at church. Before I went to church, I stopped at Sonic to get a coke and the gas station. My Sonic trip was successful and I saw my usual carhop. At the gas station, I successfully got gas, but after I got back in my car a man approached my driver's window. He proceeded to start banging on my window and asking me for money for about 30 seconds. I kept calm and told him I didn't have anything. I guess he noticed the person pumping gas at the next pump and moved on to them. My next stop was the church, but on the way there, there was a red Mercedes just sitting in the middle of the road while trying to make an illegal u-turn. As I approached I hoped they would move- no one was coming in the opposite direction, but alas they did not so I had to lay on my horn and slam on my brakes. Luckily no one rear-ended each other.

I made it to church, but was locked out and had to wait for my dear Mrs. Susan to let me in. I sat on the stairs in front of the gym entrance I needed to get into and waited. I have no recollection what happened, but I knocked my coke over and spilled it everywhere. Mrs. Susan let me in the church, propped the door open for the other workers to come in and we got to work in the kitchen with Jen. While I was setting the tables, Emily called me and I missed her. I called her back as soon as Mrs. Susan let me know I'd missed a call. So to not be in everyone's way, I stepped outside to the porch to talk to Emily. This is the same porch where I spilled my coke.

While I was talking to Emily, I see this young man walk from behind the church's dumpster in the parking lot. I did not recognize him, but also did not think that he shouldn't be at the church, because we had a bunch of strangers coming and going on Tuesday. Our church was hosting a Baptist men's singing group that night and I don't know any of them. While I was suspicious, I did not stop him as he entered the gym door that was propped open right in front of me. I even smiled at him as he went in.

I continued talking to Emily for a couple of minutes, but my stomach sunk and I got a bad feeling. So, I hung up with Emily and walked back into the gym area. As I was walking down the hallway, Jen was coming out of the bathroom. I asked her if she had seen a kid just walking by. She said no, but we went and checked on Mrs. Susan, who was still in the kitchen. She was fine, but I was still suspicious, so went to check the gym. As we were walking the hallway, Jen and I heard one of the outer gym doors close. Herman, the church janitor, happened to be coming down the stairs from the upper part of the building. We all went into the gym to look for the kid, but didn't see anything. Then, we went back into the kitchen and got back to work. I still had an uneasy feeling, so I kept looking around the kitchen and out of the kitchen serving window. Then I noticed my purse was gone.
I immediately panicked, assumed it was this kid I'd just allowed in the building, and everyone that was in the kitchen (Jen, Susan, Herman) started helping me look around the kitchen, in the gym and in the Sunday School rooms around the gym. We didn't see anything or anyone. Then we went outside to look around, but couldn't find anything. I was worried that this kid was going to steal my car since he now had my car keys, so Jen drove me over to the landlord's house for our spare house key and then over to my house for my spare car key. I was able to cancel my credit and debit cards within 30 minutes of realizing they were gone, so I wasn't concerned about this kid using them. I also had spent my last two cash dollars the day before, so he really didn't have access to any of my money.
When Jen and I got back to the church with my spare keys, Mrs. Linda, the church secretary, had a Santa Fe Police officer waiting for me. And Fiesta was still in the parking lot! I gave him my statement on what I saw, what was missing and what the kid looked like. I was able to give a very detailed description of this guy, because I was within 3-5 feet of him as he entered the building. The police officer said that hits like this are common and people are usually looking for quick cash to buy heroin. He also said that my purse would be very hard to find. Our church is surrounded by brush, a walking trail and a neighborhood, so it would be hard to look in every bush and walk the entire trail. I would feel super uncomfortable knocking on people's doors and asking to look through their garbage.

After I talked to the police officer, Josh got to the church and we walked around the church looking for purse items and clues. We didn't see anything, but we did find some shoe prints that matched what I remember the kid wearing and my theory of how he exited the building.

Once we felt liked we looked everywhere we could, we went to our grocery store to get groceries for the rest of the week. As we were turning into the shopping center, a Blazer almost ran into us, while blazing through a red light. That would definitely have totaled Josh's truck, but Josh has excellent reflexes, saw what was happening and that the Blazer was not stopping, and was able to brake just in time.

While Tuesday was pretty rough, it could have been a lot worse.

-Jen and Susan were not hurt. They both could have bumped into this kid, and we don't know what he had under his hoodie.
-When I work in the kitchen at church I usually wear my wedding ring to church and clip it on the key clip in my purse. But! I decided to leave my ring at home that day.
-I keep one of my Grandad's knives in my purse for safety and opening things. When we went to Texas a couple of weekends ago, I took it out because we flew there and I still hadn't put it back in the purse.
-Thanks to technology I was able to shut my credit and debit cards down quickly.
-I was talking on my phone when my purse was taken. Phones are expensive and I use mine for a little bit of everything.
-Josh has good reflexes and was able to avoid a serious crash.
-I still have a Texas driver's license, so our Santa Fe address was nowhere to be found in my purse.

Also, as a pure stroke of God, the police officer sent to take care of my case was from the New Orleans area. This was excellent because I am terrified of cops and him being from where I grew up really did put me at ease. After he got all of the information he needed, we had a good chat about king cake, Bunny bread, crawfish and Cajun spices. He knew exactly where the town I grew up in was!

I think I'm more freaked out about the guy at the gas station banging on my window than a stranger having my purse. I'm also very disappointed in my reaction to a stranger entering my church. Two of my favorite shows are Cops and Dateline. I should know better than to freely let a stranger in the building. In hindsight, I should've asked him if I could help him find something. But I didn't, so now I'll have to deal with the consequences. Bleh!


  1. Wow what an insane day!! Glad for the good parts of that story

  2. Man. This was some day. : ( My heart skipped a beat when I thought about you losing your ring. That is the worst feeling of having something stolen. Hugs!