A Texas mother’s kind nature towards her perpetrator might have saved her life.
Amy, who asked that the media not use her last name, was leaving a Houston-area Target on Dec. 14 when she was threatened by a robber, KTRK reports.
She had just placed her items in the back seat of her car when she saw a man allegedly three times her size blocking the door. According to Amy, the armed man pointed a gun to her head, forced her to sit in the passenger seat, and kept the gun next to her head as he drove away.
"Everything flashed, and I thought, 'This could be it,'" Amy told KTRK.
However, the mother-of-five had a strategy, which might have ultimately saved her life.
“I’ve got to make him my friend,” she said.
According to Inc, building a connection is vital when trying to encourage someone to take action. By showing empathy and establishing shared goals, a person is more likely to be persuade others to take action aligned with their objectives.
This advice held true for Amy, as the armed man, who was reportedly angry at the beginning of the incident, seemed to soften up when she started to tell him about her family.
"'I have five boys,'" she recalled saying to the man. “I said, 'They depend on me.' I said, 'I'm all they have at home.' I said, 'If you take me, if you kill me, they have nobody.'"
The robber reportedly told the single mother that he has a daughter as well.
He drove to an ATM and forced her to withdraw all the money in her account, which was $120.
She constantly reassured him throughout the incident, which she believes saved her life.
"He kept saying: 'I feel bad. I feel bad,’” Amy said. “I said, 'Learn from it.' I said, 'Don't do this to anyone else.'"
Forty minutes later, the man took her back to the Target parking lot.
"When he got out, he wanted to be quick,” she recounted. “I said, 'Wait a second,' and I gave him a hug and said: 'Thank you. Thank you. My boys thank you.'"
Amy now has two pieces of advice for others after enduring this ordeal: "Always be aware of your surroundings," and "sometimes, conversation works."
Police are currently investigating the incident.