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Interview with Lisa Martin

Martin, Lisa
Nattaradol, Jessica
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Stories and Storytellers
Lisa Martin tells of how she is caught in a robbery twice in the same store.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jessica Nattaradol interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
JN (Jessica Nattaradol): OK. What's your name?
LM (Lisa Martin): Lisa Martin.
JN: Where are you from?
LM: Charlotte, North Carolina.
JN: [Laugh] And how long have you lived here?
LM: Uh, for 24 years. All my life.
JN: Good God. That's rare. [Laughter] OK. What else do I have to ask you? Um-.
LM: \\ I'm 24. \\
JN: \\You're here \\ yeah, you're 24. You're here at UNC Charlotte?
LM: Yeah.
JN: How long have you been here?
LM: Oh, man. I've stayed here my whole time. I came here in, uh, the fall of '96. And so this is what, the fall of 2002?
JN: Six years.
LM: Yeah. I've gained, um, I've received two undergrad degrees in business management and elementary ed. And now I'm currently working on my master's degree in TESOL.
JN: And you're insane. No. [Laugh] OK. Um, you want to tell us your story?
LM: OK. My story is, uh, about a robbery that happened at Plej's. And, um-.
JN: Plej's?
LM: Plej's is a, a type of, um, textile, um, store which sells, uh, bedding, bath-type, it's kind of like the Bed and Bathstore but it's very smaller.
JN: \\ OK. \\
LM: \\ It's been \\ around for years and years. Um, years ago they used to put an ad in the paper that said uh, come, come in and take this coupon and get a free wash cloth, and so [laugh] it's been around for years. It's an old place but anyway, it, it's like a franchise. And so, um, my ex-boyfriend and his mother and, and I went to the store around Christmas at night and, um, we went in and was looking around for different, uh, stuff for his room, he was, he just moved into a new house and so he wanted, you know, help for his room and for his house. And so, uh, we, we went in and, uh, an African-American gentleman came in, looked a little suspicious, looked as if he was on drugs. Uh, got this gut feeling that I wanted to get out. Well, his mother did not have this gut feeling, she had found some really nice things that were on sale and as a, being a mother and, uh, a lady who likes sales she was very much clued into the sales while we were try-, very much clued into this man that's fixing to rob the place-.
JN: [Laugh].
LM: Trying to get out. And so, uh, by the time she figured out what was going on, the gentleman had asked the la- the cashier to give the money and so very, you know, everybody was very upset and like, um, and he, um, act as if he had something in his pocket.
JN: You're kidding.
LM: Yeah. And so, um, we just ran, and so I ran next door to a, a bigger store. It's Drug Emporium, so-.
JN: He didn't try to stop you from-?
LM: No, he was, no he didn't, luckily. And, um, she yelled out, "We're getting a pizza," and runs out because then she figures out what was going on, and was so paranoid. And so, I ran next door to go get a, a police officer to, um, to tell him what was going on, and by that time he had, uh, uh, uh, the male had received the, you know, gotten the money and ran. And so, um, there was two officers next door who was supposed to be patrolling the area, but being that they're off duty they wanted to talk to each other and was not doing what they needed to be doing. So, um, so we went back and gave a statement of the person, a lot of people would not give a statement, and so um, the company wanted to thank us for giving a statement, um, by giving us a, a gift certificate, so they sent, uh, uh, in the mail a gift certificate. And, um, two weeks later we went back to the store happily, to go get our gift certificate, and we go toward the back of the room and now we know the managers and the employees so we're talking with them, kind of reminiscing about what happened. And, by golly, an African American came into the store, we commented how weird would this be if, if he robbed the place. My ex-boyfriend Chris he, he even brought his cell phone in, laughingly say, "Well, I'm, uh, bringing in this time," 'cause we always said what if we just had a cell phone we could have done something. Um, and the gentleman went and, um, aggressively going towards the older woman behind the cashier, to try to rob the place. And so here we were in another robbery. This time it was more of a, um, a violent robbery. And because we have went through this situation before two weeks, we knew that the end result was that guy did have a gun in his pocket which he showed to the cash reg-, to cashier. So, here we were, this man is being violent. We assumed that he had a gun, and that we knew he was possibly on drugs and that was for drug money. So then, because we were at the back of the store at this time, we had to go and hide, because this guy was being violent, he was going on a violent rampage through the store.
JN: Oh, my God.
LM: And so we had to run and go hide into a bathroom in the back of the store because we couldn't find the fire exit because there was boxes all in the back. We couldn't get out the store basically, so we had to hide in the, in the bathroom the size of a closet, three of us [laugh], and basically just sat there and prayed that this guy would not find us back here and, and keep shoot us up or whatever. And so, um, we dialed 911, called the dispatch, the dispatcher, waited on the phone with us, 911 until the police officers were outside and said that it was all right for us to come out. Came out, the police officers came up and said, "Are y'all in on this? [Laugh] Because we came two weeks ago and y'all are the same people." And, uh, to this day I, I mean it, I don't know what had happened. Um, they gave our statement, we got our stuff while we were there with our gift certificate and promised that we would never come back. [Laugh] I went back later with my mom in the daytime, not around Christmas time, just to know that I could go in that store and it not be robbed.
JN: That is so funny. Yeah.
LM: And then about six months later he came to school, these two detectives came to school which I was working at, in as a teacher, and, uh, they called for me and they said, "Two officers are waiting for you in the office." You know how secretaries are, especially in an elementary school. And, um, so I went down there and I was like, and all these things are going through my mind, and I was scared it was someone my family had been hurt or something. And so we had to, we had uh, they have a, um, a lineup of pictures of, of the first incident of the armed robbery and where we had to pick, and I couldn't pick cause, um, I couldn't remember, I mean, I knew he was African-American and I couldn't tell which one he was. Whereas my, um, ex-boyfriend pointed him out very quickly. So I thought that was kind of ironic, whereas I thought I was always the observant one who knew what was going on especially being a female that clicked on cues of that nature but, um, in the end he was the one that could.
JN: That's interesting. I wonder why. They say that guys, guys have that ability to they like foc- when they hone in on the one thing they can really focus on it and girls are more like-.
LM: Exactly, uh, cueing in on all the non-verbal cues.
JN: Yeah.
LM: 'Cause you know, they say that females are, are much better at they say that was a coping mechanism that they did years ago. But-.
JN: That's so funny.
LM: Yeah and, and I just thought it was, um, 'cause I'm always kidding him. He's so laid back and where you know, I thought he didn't notice anything, and, um, and him and his, him and his mom, we had no clues which guy it was and he saw it and a matter of two seconds he pointed him out, and it was the guy.
JN: That's really scary. And that's the only time that you've ever been-?
LM: That I remember. I think, um, years ago we were at Pick and Pay and, um, something was going on but it was very quiet and discreet but this was the first time here.
JN: Where is the place located? Is it like-?
LM: Plej's? It's, it's off of Albemarle Road. Um, they've shut down now.
LM: But, um, years ago, it, it was a happening part of town. I think that's the thing about Charlotte if you're a native here, is that places have, um, have gone run, have gotten run down.
JN: Uh-huh.
LM: And when I was younger I would go to these places and, and it wasn't run down so you just assume that they're all right or oh, well they have problems but I really like this place 'cause I've gone to it for years, whereas other people wouldn't have gone because they're new to the town. But, hey you wouldn't have known it was over there.
JN: Yeah, there's a lot of stuff in that area.
LM: Yeah.
JN: Well, that's interesting. Thank \\ you. \\
LM: \\ Yeah. \\ Yeah. You're welcome [laugh].
JN: And you spoke-.