Lynette "Boogie" Pope,
I definitely have a pair of shoes but in my case is not necessarily a pair. I just have one single Converse, one right-foot Converse. I lost the other shoe when I was carjacked by four individuals in Atlanta one night. So I keep this shoe as a reminder of what I went through mentally and physically that night. It's funny, a lot of my close friends don't even realize that I have this shoe as a memento of what actually went down. It’s just been something that I kept to myself for the most part, but it was always just kind of there in the back of my closet, as a reminder, and it's kind of helped me with the recovery process. To know that I was able to come away from that ... Even if I'm missing one shoe, you know, I still can make that next step forward, no pun intended, where I can just go on with life.
So when this event that happened to me I was just being me, and went to a friend's house for a late night card party. And I remember I had a new car and I thought I was styling, it was an Altima or something, I can't remember now. But I was in love with this car. It had the cool rooftop and was only two months old. And I'm not sure what apartment complexes are like where you are from, but in Atlanta when you come up to the apartment complex you have to press the number at the call box and get buzzed in for the gates to open.
So I pull up and it’s probably 1:30 in the morning and there is a red Jeep in front of me, which isn't a big deal. They have their arm out like they're trying to search for the person's name in the buzzer system. So I pulled up and put the car in park. And I was on the phone with the friend that I was coming to visit because they had recently moved apartments and I didn’t actually know exactly which unit they were in.
And as soon as I put my car into park all four doors of the red Jeep that was parked in front of me opened at the same time, and four individuals jumped out. They were all wearing bandanas, and all wearing the same outfit. And one of them came to each door of my car so I had no way to escape or move. Whether it would have been myself or anybody else in the car, they were making sure that they had it all covered.
So at this point I'm sitting in my car with four guns pointing at me and they're yelling at me, and I was thinking things like, “Should I put the car in reverse? Should I try to drive away? Should I just run them over?” You know, you go through all of these scenarios within that quick moment. And I decided that maybe I should just do what they say so that maybe they will just have mercy on me. So I unlock the door, and the guy that was standing at my door — the driver's side door — he pulled me out that he pushed me into the ground. And then the other guys got into the car and they started searching around. They were looking for my phone, my keys, money — you know, make sure that this was a good steal for them. And luckily, I actually have my key fob and my little wallet case in my pocket. So they pulled me to the side and this was the turning point in my life because they pulled me to the side — which is actually where I lost the shoe — and I'm on the side of the side walk, and It's like an execution style. So I’m on my knees, I can’t see what’s behind me, and theres a gun to my head. At this point I'm thinking life is over.
To have a gun pointed at you, in a manner that you feel one hundred percent helpless. You can't move, you can't do anything, because you don't want to trigger that person. And you just close your eyes. At that point I did pray and I was just asking to be saved from the situation. Meanwhile they were going back and forth and fussing with each other. And then finally they said, “No, we have to go.” He didn't pull the trigger, and that was a relief. But he told me that if I turned around that he would shoot me dead. And that I had better look the direction that I was looking and not any other way. Then they all jumped in their jeep and in my car and then they drove away. So now I'm standing there with one shoe, no phone, no nothing. And I'm like, “What do I do!?” … so I go to the call box and I just started dialing numbers for different apartments, asking for somebody to call the police. And meanwhile my friend who was actually on the line heard half of it happen. And there are two gates at this complex. So he went to the front gate while I was actually at the back gate. Which was a blessing in disguise because if he had come to the actual gate that we were at it would have been a shootout because he came with guns. So, while that happened to me and it was just definitely something that I will never ever forget — I’m glad it wasn't as bad as it could have been where I'm not on this earth or somebody else was hurt.
And so the funny part of this story is that I ended up speaking to some random girls who had answered the call from the call box. And I was like, “Hey, I just got carjacked and I’m standing outside. Can somebody call 911 for me?” And the girls were like, “Hey some girl just got carjacked at the front, come on, let's go!” So they came out from their apartment. I have no idea where they came from. And they came with two brooms. I don't know what the hell they thought they were going to do with those two brooms, but they came out ready to beat somebody’s ass … with two brooms. And I'm just standing like, “Really!? Two brooms?” But they were so sweet. And I was sitting on the side of the curb and by the time my friend came up, they had called the police. That was pretty much the whole ordeal.
So after that it was it was really post traumatic. I had a hard time staying in my apartment because I didn't trust anything. I got my locks changed because they had my keys and they had my address, and I was worried they were going to come and follow up. It got to the point where I was constantly living in fear and I’ve never lived life like that, I had never wanted to live life like that. That was a big change because like I never expected that to happen to me.
I had to do a lot of therapy afterwards. Some of my friends and family were like, “Why are you doing therapy!?” maybe not in a bad way, but it's just a stigma that people feel like they don't need therapy or that they don’t need to talk to somebody; but that's not me. I want to talk to somebody and be able to get over what's going on because otherwise it manifests into so much more — to the point where you can't handle it anymore.
And I think that goes across multiple cultures where if you stay in your head, the only voices you're answering are those in your head and you're not able to flesh things out in a healthy way, especially not to get through something as severe as this.