Editor’s Note: Combat Handguns pays $100 for each “It Happened To Me!” letter that we print. Send yours to Combat Handguns, 1115 Broadway, New York, NY 10010. Attention: “It Happened To Me!” or e-mail to [email protected]

It was three years ago, I was 21 years old when it happened. I was working for a pizza restaurant at the time and I had a huge crush on my assistant manager. One night, she called me from our store, and said her truck had a flat tire and didn’t know how to change it. Being the chivalrous man that I am and hoping to score some major brownie points, I offered to drive up and help her out. It was well past midnight, but this particular neighborhood wasn’t what I considered “bad or rough.” As a matter of fact, it was my neighborhood. I decided to grab my gun as it was new and I thought it was cool to carry. I really didn’t think it was necessary. After all, I had never had any serious confrontations with anyone. I didn’t make waves or get into dangerous situations. This night, on the other hand, changed my mind forever.

When I arrived, she was standing by her truck underneath a light in the parking lot. Even though company policy forbids it, I always had a firearm in my glove compartment when I delivered pizzas. In this instance, it was my Springfield 1911. I opened the glove compartment, took the pistol and holster, and tucked it in my waistband. The streets were pretty clear, and it was a cool, calm night. I spent the next few minutes trying to figure out how to release her spare tire from underneath her truck. Once I finally got it, I began loosening the lug nuts with her tire iron. I set the wrench down, and I began to jack up her truck.

We had been making good conversation until she stopped in mid sentence. She looked at me and said, “Someone’s coming over.” I looked over my shoulder and saw a homeless man shuffling toward us. I stood up and asked him if I could help him with anything. He asked me if I was trying to change a tire. I said yes, he asked if I needed any help. I politely responded no as I had done this numerous times before. He said okay, turned around, and started back.

I sat back down and began to remove the tire when the man snuck up behind us and insisted that he help us. I stood up, told him it was quite alright and that I was almost finished. I pushed my friend to the other side of the truck and put my hand on my waistband. The man suddenly burst out screaming that no one wanted him, and no one wanted his help for anything anymore. He started screaming and yelling, and pacing back and forth. I was trying to calm him down. I tried to assure him that his help was appreciated, but I was nearly finished. He continued to shout incomprehensibly when he bent down and snatched the tire iron screaming, “I’ll show you I’m not useless!” I pulled out my 1911, pointed at him and shouted, “Drop the tire iron or I’ll drop you!” He screamed and dropped the tire iron. He ran away yelling at us that we were crazy and he was only trying to help.

I waited for him to retreat behind a grocery store, and I finished changing her tire. Afterward, we went inside the closed pizza restaurant to calm down. As we were having a drink and talking about what just happened, I realized something. You never know when danger might spring up. Even if you live in a good neighborhood, stick to the well-lit areas, and try not to make waves with people, anything can happen. I was relieved that I had thought to grab my pistol before leaving that night. If I hadn’t, I don’t know how the situation would have turned out. I realized that having a firearm doesn’t just protect you but it can protect others like my friend. The next day, I stopped by my local shooting range and signed up for their concealed weapons class. Since then, every time I leave my house, I’ll always have my firearm. If not for my protection, then for the protection of others.


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