“Excuse me Ma’am…”

In a move rather reminiscent of the famous Abbott and Costello “Slowly I Turned” sketch, I turned toward the voice.


Not the smiling staff person one would expect at Macy’s.  Nope! Just four police officers – three male and one female, looking rather surprised to see me.

“Everyone else has left the store,” one of them explained.  Which didn’t explain much!.

Okay, I admit my timing was rather off, but I had just discovered a great Stefani blouse and I was reluctant to be disturbed

“Wait.  What? I tried to reach that blouse, but by now we were moving, slowly but inexorably away from my treasure. I looking around the store…empty by now except for me and the cops of course. Then I stopped walking

“Where’d everybody go?”

“There’s been a shooting,” the lady cop said.

“How are you with steps?” an officer asked and they all looked hopeful.

I considered.  “Not great. I really don’t do steps much.”

I paused then, but trying to lighten the moment I offered a happy thought.

“But this is Macy’s. They have escalators! I offered reassuringly.

“Turned off” said someone.  And we kept moving.

By this time we had reached the no longer escalating escalators. My leader handed me over gently to the first step.  She called something I didn’t understand and suddenly another group of smiling officers was staring down at me.  And from behind me one of my escorts yelled…”She might need help!”

But never one to quit in a crisis, I began the long climb.

About half way up I stopped.  And from above and below that triggered movement.

“Do you need help?” Someone called out, but I said no.

I told them I needed to stop to find my nitro. Silence.

“Nitro,” I repeated.  “It’s in my purse.”

Trying to find a very, very tiny bottle of medicine, in an unnecessarily large purse, while eight policemen wait, is – to say the VERY least – not an easy task. Especially when the idea of a shooting looms in the background. But find i, I did.  Of course then one must pause to give the miracle drug time to do its work.

Okay, either five minutes or an hour and a half later, the nitro kicked in and I climbed to the top. I would like to say there were cheers all around but that would be FAKE NEWS. Inevitably, we reached the great outdoors where a few hundred other folks had already gathered. My group scurried away to find a comfortable chair for me, and, even more surprising, they found a nice shaded spot in which to house me while we waited for…What ever.

Once settled, with my escorts free to do other things, I began to realize that this was a rather rare encounter of a scary kind. Guns. Officers, hundreds of people standing quietly, watching and waiting for their next clue . The big thing was, there was no panicking. Nobody tried to sneak out from behind the yellow police tape. I sat there, rather grandly I thought, in the comfy chair, which gave onlookers the incorrect idea that I was either a victim of something or a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON.

Then I noticed the news vans arriving.  Channel 5 was the first one I saw pull up.  I went back to fishing in my purse, this time for my brush and my lipstick just in case someone wanted to interview me!

No one did. Their loss.  I had a lot of amusing things I thought I could say.

So, okay.  I’m not going to be interviewed and I can’t call my family and scare them to death with exciting tales of being caught in a shootout.  And I can’t call LYFT because the street is close.

“I could die here in this parking lot, I thought. But even I knew I was being a Drama Queen.  Back to reality.  Keep calm and carry on!.

But damn all! I MISSED THE SHOOTOUT PART! But the rest of it was kind of fascinating. There was no screaming or crying or fear.  Not even a whole lot of impatience while a hundred or so people stood (mostly patiently,) while the officers did their work in quietly efficient and very polite fashion.

I had to admire a lady I later identified as Milly.  She was the Macy Store Manager, and it was obviously her assignment to keep everybody calm…which she managed to do in spite of some pretty scary circumstances. Milly saw to it that there was cold water available and gave out news bits as they became available. I noticed one woman working her way up to, but there was Milly, telling her calmly, but gently to get a grip, and the next time I looked, they were chatting.

Of course, one can’t be caught up in something like this without thinking FACEBOOK!  So decided I should take a selfie.  One problem.  I had never taken a selfie and had no clue as to how one got the camera to face the wrong way.  However, I hit something and it worked.  Not sure what or how, but that’s okay.



Admittedly it isn’t a great picture of me but…oh well.  I’ll think of something exciting to explain the expression.



As I tell and retell the story my part will undoubtedly grow. Stay tuned.


  1. Wow Betty, so exciting!!! Glad you are ok and that you have Nitro available. Once again you have told your story and it is so well written…I felt like I was right there.

  2. So happy you got home to Birchrunville. It always lifts my spirits spending time there.
    I so enjoy your amazing stories every month.
    Take care Dear Betty…

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