On any given weekday morning, my regular routine is to do errands — either go to the bank or do groceries after my son gets dropped off in school by the driver. Then I pass by the mall to have lunch with a friend or grab a cup of coffee — at times i just walk around by myself, go to the bookstore and read a bit.
I normally leave the house around 10am, do my errands and by 11am I head to the mall just in time for the mall doors to open. Sometimes I am even there 5 to 10 minutes before mall opening.
I say hello to the friendly mall guards — people I have known and who have known me already, being the mall rat that I am. We exchange pleasantries, the guards ask how my son is doing, we sometimes talk about the weather, and all the small stuff. And then I proceed to either my favorite coffee shops or to my favorite stalls — where I spend a few minutes chatting with the servers or the sales people I know.
Truly, the mall is like my second home… its tenants like my extended family.
I was invited to a friend’s company event last Friday morning for some group discussion/survey. My plan was to go to the event and then pass by the mall afterwards to have lunch with another friend that I was with. I was also supposed to meet with my husband there so we can change cars.
I was still in my friend’s event when I heard the news…
There was a robbery that took place at the very same mall that I frequent. Several men tried to hold up an armored van that was supposed to deliver money to the foreign exchange branch situated near the entrance of the mall.
Gunshots were fired. A robber was shot and was killed. A couple of mall guards were wounded in the process…
These were the same guards I knew and say hello to at every single visit. The incident happened at the very place where I go down and enter EVERY time I go to the mall.
I would have been there — or at least on my way there — if not for the event that I was invited to.
I shudder at the thought of how it would have been if I was indeed there at the mall when the whole heist happened.
Someone said that my guardian angel directed me elsewhere that morning.
Truly I can’t help but feel blessed and protected.
The details of the heist only became clear later in the afternoon. The whole day I was thinking if my guard friends were the ones who fought it out and got wounded. When one is at a loss, there’s nothing left to do but pray… and so I prayed.
I prayed that the guards that were shot would survive. I prayed that no one else got hurt in the encounter. I prayed that the sense of security and safety in the area will be restored.
And more than anything, I prayed to give thanks… I simply cannot express how thankful I am to be delivered from such scary and unsafe incident. I knew that I could have been there in that mall that very morning. But I wasn’t.
Somebody up there must be watching over me.
How can I not be grateful?
photos via google images