I drove by a Texaco Star Mart the other day and immediately had a flashback to some "life changing" events that happened to me in Mesa. I know that some of you remember when these happened, but for the sake of those who don't I would like to elaborate. Back in 1990 while I was living in Mesa I worked the graveyard shift at a local Texaco Star Mart, and after two years of employment I decided to leave after two events happened that really made me do some thinking. One night I was in the back cooler of the store doing some stocking when I heard the front door bell sound. I came out from the cooler and saw a young Hispanic male in a jacket standing at the counter. I went to the register and asked if I could help him. He stated that he wanted two packs of cigarettes and when I turned around from grabbing them I was facing a large caliber handgun. He told me to open the register but I wouldn't. I know that was foolish, but at that moment I wasn't thinking and I was mad. He told me several times to open the register, and he was denied every time. He finally came behind the register and told me to lay on the floor with my hands behind my head. By this time the gravity of the situation was sinking in and I complied. As he straddled me with the gun pointed at my head two things happened. First, I tensed up while waiting for the gun blast, and I was thinking that this cannot be the end for me. I was hoping that it would be quick because I did not want to feel the bullet. But, my life at that time was not in a good position to meet my maker. I needed to right some wrongs first. To my relief he told me to stay on the floor until after he left. As soon as I heard him leave through the door I stood up, in time to see the car and the others that were in it. Amazingly, by the time I got my head together and went to push the alarm button Officer Trafficano of the Mesa Police Department (a regular customer on my shift) pulled up to get a cup of coffee. I met him in the parking lot and told him what had just happened and then I fell apart! He called it in and within minutes several officers and a crime scene unit arrived. My manager was called in so that the video tapes could be reviewed, but when she arrived she told us that she forgot to load the tapes! I was furious! I did stay to finish my shift and my manger stayed with me to make sure I was okay. I talked to a detective the next day but nobody was ever arrested. The next event that happened involved a drunk driver a couple of weeks later at the same store. I was once again working my shift and luckily my manager was there this time. I was outside spraying down the lot when a drunk driver ran a red light and came screeching up to the store. He staggered in and attempted to buy beer but was turned away by my manager. She followed him out of the store and asked me to get his plate number so that she could call the police. As the man got into his car I was standing behind, and to the left of, the car writing his plate number down. He started the car, put it in reverse, and gunned it. He turned hard towards me and slammed into me with the rear bumper, sending me flying into a retaining wall and shrubs which separated our store from the next business. Luckily for me his car got hung up on the curb and a shrub because the car was still racing backwards, and was only feet from where I was laying. If he hadn't gotten hung up I would have been crushed between the car and the retaining wall. I did not suffer any broken bones but my leg was hurt bad enough that I couldn't walk. The police and fire departments were called and I was attended to by the paramedics. I refused transport to the hospital, but the guy was located at a bar a few blocks away. The next day my manager sent me to the hospital to have my leg looked at. I was severely bruised and battered, but nothing was broken. I was given a few days off because of the injury. I was only employed there for a couple more weeks and then decided to leave. So many things were happening at other convenience stores at that time, and a clerk at the Circle K across the street from us was shot and killed during a robbery. It was time to get out. A few months later I found myself spinning out of control and was very depressed. I went to Minnesota to visit Kathy and she told me that I should move there and get away from Mesa. I really liked it there and it sounded like a good idea to me because a change was something that I desperately needed at that time. A few weeks later I was on the bus heading back to Minnesota for good, where my life soon changed for the better. Kathy introduced me to Diana and as they say, the rest is history. If I hadn't have moved to Minnesota my life would have turned out very differently. So in a way, Minnesota saved my life!