This is insane – guess I’m gonna need my “big boy pants” to ride out this storm (all said tongue in cheek – cause if this is one of the worst things that ever happens to me – then I guess my life turned out no too bad)
Here is day #2 of the story of my lil “trip to Augusta” (I’ll copy & post below as well in case the story ends up a dead link) – it’s pretty awesome how horrible of a person I am, I am thinking by early next week the guy who actually did the robbing may end up being a hero for taking this crazy amount of cash away from someone so stupid as I am – he he he
(again check out the comments from the online version – I think the people of Augusta hate me!!! )Man looking to buy Masters tickets loses $14,000 in deal
By Kyle Martin
Friday, April 2, 2010
Neal Alligood’s first trip to Augusta cost him seven hours of his life and $14,400.
He hadn’t planned it that way.
His trip here Wednesday was supposed to be a relatively quick jaunt from Atlanta to pick up some Masters badges. It was a favor for his friends, who run a ticket business.
His friends made the arrangements with a man who responded to their ad in The Augusta Chronicle. They couldn’t make it to Augusta, so Alligood volunteered.
“I help them out from time to time,” he said Thursday by phone.
His instructions were simple: the seller would meet him at a BP station on Wheeler Road and trade $14,400 in cash for the eight badges.
It was about 11 a.m. when Alligood pulled off Interstate 20 and dialed the seller, who called himself Sean Oliver, a police report says. The seller confirmed the rendezvous point.
Alligood, a 33-year-old minister who lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, had experience with these types of setups through online trade sites such as CraigsList. He wasn’t worried; it was the middle of the day on a major road.
Alligood pulled into the parking lot and the seller waved him down. Given the amount of cash that was about to trade hands, the contact got into the car for more privacy.
Alligood described the man as white, probably in his early 20s, heavyset, wearing jeans, a long-sleeve shirt and a red ball cap pulled low over his eyes.
But Alligood didn’t get a good look at him because he was moving stuff from the front seat to the back seat so the man could sit down.
The seller asked if they could move across the street to the Sonic, where he was supposed to meet his fiancee for lunch. Alligood did.
The seller explained as they switched locations that he was selling the badges for his grandparents who got ripped off trying to sell them last year. That made sense to Alligood. The man was cool and collected; he didn’t give any clue as to what he kept in the manila envelope on his lap.
“I feel like I have a pretty good gauge for how things are going,” Alligood said. “He didn’t alarm me that much.”
Suddenly, the chitchat was over. The man slid a black handgun out of the envelope and told Alligood to hand over the money. Alligood complied. The seller grabbed the money, the keys to the car and instructed Alligood to count to 100, a police report says.
“That last part was kind of funny,” Alligood said. “I wasn’t really sure whether I was supposed to stick my head out the window and count or what.”
The seller got out of the car and walked quickly into the woods behind the restaurant. He obviously had an escape route planned, said Alligood, who tried to watch where the man went. Alligood called his friends and told them he was robbed, then dialed 911. Police efforts to find the seller were unsuccessful.
Looking back, Alligood said he wasn’t all that frightened by the ordeal. It was fairly obvious that the man didn’t plan to hurt him and he doubts whether the gun was even loaded. His thought the whole time was to stay calm and keep the seller calm.
This was Alligood’s first time to Augusta and it won’t necessarily be his last. He’s heard good things about the Garden City.
“My experience in Augusta can really only go up from here,” Alligood said with a laugh.
This whole deal has been quite an experience in seeing people’s reactions to a situation that they in actuality know really nothing about. But oh well guess there isn’t much to do about it & it won’t ruin my life. I ended up safe, we ended up not losing the car. I still feel terrible about the money. But I also feel bad about something else…
That guy who robbed me, ya know people have said I should be angry or really frustrated (and the day of I was a lot more so) but I stop and think about it. Just like I wish people know the “whole story” from my end with all the conclusions and judgments they are making, I also don’t know the whole story of the guy who robbed me. Why would he do this? Why would he risk (if the gun was loaded) injuring me, or other innocent bystanders, or even himself if things went badly and the cops showed up? What is going on in his life that caused him to feel like he needed to do that? Did he do it to buy guns, drugs, or anything else that we deem “horrible & wrong” or was he doing it to put food on the table for his family or buy medicine for someone he loves that cannot afford it? I will more than likely NEVER KNOW but what I do know is that he is in a tough place – and needs someone to provide help – whether he knows he needs it or not.
Money & THINGS are replaceable in this world, but human life is not – and whatever is causing his life to be so troubled is ruining the possible life he could have. The kind of life that I KNOW we have available to us. I find it rather ironic that all of this happened during the week leading up to the Sunday we celebrate EASTER. The time of year where we remember (whether anyone in August or anywhere else thinks I am legit in my own faith or desire to serve a risen Savior) exactly what God did for each of us – no matter WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN OUR LIVES, right or wrong, stupid or smart or anything else. That God sent His Son Jesus – and Jesus went to a cross to pay the penalty for the sins we have committed (whether it be that of people’s perception of buying/selling tickets or armed robbery or adultery or murder and the list goes on and on). That on this day – this GOOD FRIDAY we are called into a somber & yet celebratory reminder of the gruesome death He died for all of us. That He went to the grave and then ROSE AGAIN on the 3rd DAY – and that is what we CELEBRATE on this Sunday!
VICTORY OVER DEATH & THE GRAVE! Victory over the lives we might HAVE to live – lives of pain & prejudice, lives of robbery & repugnance, lives of empty ends & meaningless materialism – and instead providing a NEW LIFE – a RESURRECTED LIFE of Love & Peace & Service of this Great God who continues to provide.
So as I reflect back on this week – I will walk away with a true thankfulness that YES – sometimes God does protect the stupid, when they may do something that so many others believe is insane, improper, and/or idiotic. That I am thankful to have experienced this situation to know that I don’t seek other MEN’s approval but only that of God. That I am thankful to have friends & family to support the things I do. As well as having a powerful reminder to be careful how quickly I judge the things of others’ lives when not know the FULL STORY or knowing them on a personal level to know WHY they did what they did.
And finally to be SO VERY THANKFUL for the FULL STORY that I do have – that of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the LIVING GOD – that’s right the LIVING & not the DEAD. And to truly celebrate that this weekend and to give HIM the honor & the glory for HIS Power and how it presents itself in the weakness of my life – as Paul wrote the words of God spoken back to him in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” and that is the ultimate summary of the Easter Story!