Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Hero

by Annette Dashofy

Last week, a 76 year old woman became my hero. Virginia Hart told reporters she was having a bad day when a young woman entered her store in scenic Lone Pine, pulled a gun, and demanded money. Not willing to give up her hard-earned cash, Virginia pushed the gun aside and picked up a stool. The girl told her she wasn’t kidding and Virginia replied that neither was she.

The girl left empty-handed.

Lee has taken me to task in the past for defending an old high school chum for taking the law into his own hands and shooting an attacker who had beaten him with a ball bat. In this case, an elderly woman with a stool was defending her property against an armed robber. So I think I’m safe when I proclaim Virginia as my kind of lady.

I’m not saying that anyone should refuse to give up mere money when faced with a gun-wielding thief. I’ve worked retail. No way would I have risked my life for what was in a cash drawer.

But I don’t think that was what was on Virginia Hart’s mind. She was mad that day. She didn’t feel well. She’d owned that store for 20 years and worked hard for what she had. The would-be robber had not worked hard for that money. She just wanted to take it. The girl was lazy. It was the principle of the thing.

I have to admit it…I’ve had days like that. Don’t mess with a woman when she’s crabby. My husband will tell you. It can get ugly.

What I especially like is the message Virginia sent to the young thugs of the world. Stop bullying old people. Stop assuming that just because someone is older and female, that you can walk all over them. Get a job!

And don’t bother trying to rob the market in Lone Pine. You’ll get beaten with a stool.

Virginia commented that it wasn’t anything exceptional. I beg to differ. In today’s world when the strong expect the weak to just roll over and give up, when they prey on the elderly because they’re easy marks, Virginia Hart has shown that good can triumph over evil.

And that some days, old and cranky trumps young and stupid.

Virginia Hart, you are my hero.

26 comments:

Tory said...

I hope I have that much gumption at 76!

Annette said...

I wish I had that much gumption NOW!

Gina said...

Thanks, Annette, for reminding us that little old ladies can be dangerous.

This reminds me of a frail-looking little woman who used to live across the street from my mother. She was a former bar owner in her 80s who slept with a loaded gun under her pillow. [Can you imagine sleeping with a loaded gun that close to your head? I wonder what you'd dream about.]
A guy tried to break in one night through a window. Lucky for him, he was spotted before he got inside.

Joyce said...

I loved this story, too. And I think old and cranky trumps young and stupid EVERY time. Just ask anyone I work with.

ramona said...

I'm sorry to be the lone voice of dissension here, and I do admire this lady's bravery, but that could have so easily gone wrong.

Maybe I'm just confused about her choice of weapon, or maybe it's the writer in me having trouble with the scenario. What exactly was she going to do with that stool? Wouldn't she be behind the counter? So she'd have to come all the way around to attack the robber, and that would give the girl plenty of time to...

Sigh. See what being a writer does to you? Nothing's ever simple.

Annette said...

Oh, Ramona, I definitely agree with you that the story could have had a much different and tragic ending. And I'm not sure of the layout of the scenario. One story said she pushed the gun away, another said she took the gun off the girl. But they said she wasn't convinced it was a real gun, so I assume the girl did take the gun with her, otherwise they would know, right?

Anyhow, I guess just the sight of a pissed off grandma hoisting a stool over her head was enough to convince the would-be robber that this old broad wasn't taking her crap.

I don't recommend ANYONE faced with a gun try to be a hero.I know I sure wouldn't. Heck, I'd probably help them carry the money out to their car! But the fact that this lady DID and the robber ran off just goes to prove that bullies aren't always as brave as they make themselves out to be. And that old ladies can be tough.

Annette said...

Gina, I know of someone who keeps a loaded gun under her pillow, too, and heaven help the poor soul who would try to break into HER house.

Nancy said...

The way I've been sleeping after I hit 50, I thrash around so much I'd probably shoot myself with that gun under the pillow.

Is anyone else having a hard time imagining our kind and lovely Annette in a cranky mood?

Annette said...

Trust me, Nancy. It happens.

ramona said...

Annette, that image of a "pissed off grandma hoisting a stool over her head" is definitely scary.

So why am I laughing?!?!?

lisa curry said...

Annette, this reminds me of something I saw on the Today show a while back (within the past year, though). They showed a video from a convenience store security camera of this young thug/would-be pickpocket trying to steal the wallet of an old guy standing in line in front of him at the counter. Unbeknownst to the pickpocket, Grandpa was a former Marine and Golden Gloves boxer. He turned around and grabbed that punk and just BEAT on him like nobody's business. It was one of the most awesome things I've ever seen! Then he and the clerk kept the guy there until the police arrived. I love stories like this one and yours about the stool-wielding grandma. I think most people appreciate it when someone like us (a generally law-abiding citizen minding his or her own business and just carrying on with life) turns the tables on a predator. It feels like a victory for all of us.

Annette said...

That's exactly it, Lisa. Score one for the good guys.

Jena said...

I wish I could track down a "don't mess with a crabby woman" short story I read years ago. The premise was, this quiet mousy woman was bossed around by both her husband and her children, but one day when she spotted a man breaking into her house, something inside her burst.

I still get shivers thinking about her triumphant and furious scream, "I've been waiting for you!" as she jumped out from behind something and beat the living bejabers out of him.

The story fell apart after that point, but the writer nailed "crabby woman pushed to her breaking point."

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