It’s a dangerous world. For example:
I went to the Subway on Pineridge. It was just before noon. Everything seemed normal. I ordered my sandwich and left.
That night, I watched the news. There was a story about a kidnapping, and then there was a story about a drug bust.
And then, suddenly, there it was—the Subway on Pineridge. The restaurant was surrounded by police cars. Sirens were flashing.
A madman had come into the store. He had a gun. He threatened the employees and fled before the police arrived.
The madman had come at noon. If I had been a few minutes later, I would have been there. He would have waved his gun at me.
This sort of thing happens all the time. There are bad guys out there. It’s a dangerous world. You have to be prepared.
Some people don’t understand.
It was about a week after the Subway incident. I was very hungry. I wanted beef and guacamole and sour cream. So I put on my hat and my holster, and I drove to the Chipotle on Oakridge.
The restaurant was empty. It was only 10:30. I stepped up to the counter. “A burrito,” I said.
The woman looked at me. I repeated myself.
She pointed to my holster. I never wore it under my clothes. I needed to be ready.
“You can’t have that here,” she said.
“Yes,” I said. “I can. It’s my right.”
“This is a restaurant.”
“It’s my right. I’m allowed to protect myself.” I told her what had happened in the Subway on Pineridge. “The
police haven’t caught him,” I said. “It’s a dangerous world. There are bad guys out there. You have to be prepared.”
She wouldn’t listen. I kept trying to explain. She told me not to shout.
“When I shout,” I said, “you’ll know.”
The manager came out. He told me I had to leave. I explained the situation. He wouldn’t listen either. “You have to stop shouting,” he said. “You have to leave.”
I went to my car. I sat there for a long time.
I looked through my windshield and into the restaurant. My vision started to shimmer. There was something wet in my eye.
All I wanted was to eat a burrito in safety. They had no right to make me feel that way. I was a good guy.
I watched the woman stir the metal tubs of food. My mouth ached for beef and guacamole and sour cream. I hit the steering wheel very hard. The horn screamed, and my hand stung. The manager pressed his face to the window of the store.
I was sure he was laughing.
My tires left long burns on the pavement.
I drove to the Chipotle by the interstate. I opened my trunk, found a jacket, and tied it around my waist.
I looked at my reflection in the window. The holster was hidden. I looked stupid. I was a coward.
I went into the restaurant and ordered two burritos with extra sour cream.
It’s a dangerous world—and a stupid one too.
That night, I watched the news. There was a story about a murder, and then there was a story about a hit-and-run.
And then, suddenly, there it was—the Chipotle on Oakridge.
Before lunch, a madman had come into the store. He had a gun. He threatened the employees and fled before the police arrived.
Another one. I wasn’t surprised. This sort of thing happens all the time.
The manager appeared on the screen. “We were terrified,” he said.
I was very happy. He had kicked me out. He had laughed. He deserved it.
He kept talking. He described his fear. He said he had a family—two sons and a daughter. He started to cry.
My heart hurt. That was normal—especially after two burritos with extra sour cream. But my heart hurt in another way too—a new way. I saw the manager’s tears, and my heart broke.
I wanted to reach through the screen and pat his shoulder. I wanted to take him in my arms and hold him close. I wanted to whisper into his ear. “Don’t worry,” I’d say. “Yes, it’s a dangerous world. Yes, there are bad guys are out there. But don’t fear. There are good guys out there too.”