The attempted kidnapping of my younger brother on our one lane country road took the innocence and security away that we did not know we had until it was lost.
The beat up dirty white 1970’s Camaro drifted slowly on our bumpy road. Reuben, my younger brother, rode his bike like it was any other summer afternoon. Reuben noticed the white car in the distance. As the car neared our little corner, it made a u-turn and stopped right at my brother’s side. There were two men in the vehicle, and the man in the passenger seat opened his door and stood on the grass near little Reuben.
“Can I ask you a question?”, he said. “If you will come sit in the car, we have some candy for you. I Just need to ask you some directions.”
The dialogue was spoken like an after school special. Reuben did not hesitate to flee as he dropped his bike violently to the ground, not caring for its welfare. He ran as fast as a nine year old’s legs could go. He knew he had to make it home, but there were yards and an orange grove to travel through before he could reach safely. The men seemed desperate in their chase. But after what seemed like hours to Reuben, they gave up their target as Reuben finally made it to our unlocked, trailer door.
I was sitting on our couch watching television while this outside even transpired. My mother sat next to me, chatting on the telephone, which was almost attached to her ear after hours of conversation. Reuben pushed open the door, white as a ghost. While catching his breath, he said, “Some men almost took me!”
Half listening to her trouble making and overly dramatic son, mother kept chatting. It was only after finishing her conversation, did she ask me to repeat his words. Mother looked shocked at the revelation that her son was almost kidnapped. Mother picked up the phone again, but this time it was the police she wanted to talk to.
Reuben and I were scared at the thought of a policeman coming to our home, but excited too. After asking what seemed like a million questions, the officer prophetically said, “When they see someone they like, they most always come back.” With that said, he left his green and white business card. For years to come, I saw that card on our yellow refrigerator door, reminding me we were not safe.
That evening, father came home from work. The entire family gathered outside at the scene of the crime to talk about the situation. A car slowly appeared around the corner. The evil white car. Reuben screamed and identified the car as the same one.
Our father was in a fit of rage as he jumped into his truck we called “The Green Hornet”. He sped out of our dirt driveway in pursuit of the attempted kidnappers, breaking all traffic laws known to man.
After just 20 minutes, Father returned home without his prey.
Later that night, as I laid in bed, I looked down at my little brother from the top bunk. I vowed I would always protect him, no matter what.
All through childhood, my brother and I slept in the same room. From a single event spanning no more than five minutes, our lives were shaped. To this day, when I see a car driving slowly down the country, one lane road that I still live on, I am nervous. When I see a white car, I picture my brother’s white face as he threw the trailer door open. For you see, the kidnappers did succeed in their own way. They took something that was not theirs. Our innocence.