Woman explains salvation to man who threatened her

Monday, December 3, 2007
Pauline Jacobi, 92. For her 90th birthday she wanted to ride a Harley-Davison.

The attempted robbery of a 92-year-old woman turned into a lesson of God's grace after she told the man she was not afraid of death and urged him to find a new way.

Pauline Jacobi, who in January will turn 93, said the event, which occurred about 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, was not of her nature.

"It was God using me," she said. "I'm a shy person, really. What happened there was the Lord using me."

According to Jacobi - "GrandPolly" to her grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren - she had placed groceries into the driver's side back seat of her tan-colored Toyota Corolla, which was parked in one of the disabled spots near the grocery side entrance of the Wal-Mart SuperCenter.

"It was later than I usually like to get out," she said. "I'd had a pretty busy day and I was kind of skittish. It was getting dark. But I'd finished my shopping and got into the car. There were people walking to and from, passing back and forth in front of me, so I didn't start my engine so I wouldn't scare them."

After a few minutes waiting for the right time to move, the front passenger door opened "and a tall man, raggedy looking, sat in right next to me. His knees were touching mine."

Oddly, she said her thought was that the man was putting his feet on her chicken she'd placed in the floorboard.

"He was bundled up with a heavy jacket and cap," Jacobi said. "And he said 'Give me your money.' I said, 'No, you're not getting my money.' I didn't have anything more than a $10 bill, I think, but I didn't want him to get my medications."

Twice the disheveled man, who Jacobi said appeared to be in his 50s, demanded money. The third time, he said if she didn't comply, he would kill her.

"Then the good Lord took over," Jacobi said. "I said, 'If you kill me, I'm going straight to heaven. If you kill me, you're going to hell.'"

She said the man looked at her as her words spilled out.

"You look like you've had an awful time in this world," said Jacobi to the man. "And as bad as that is, it's nothing compared to hell. Hell is much worse than anything here ..."

"Jesus is sitting in the car with me," she told him, as he glanced in the back seat. "He'll protect me if you kill me. I'll go to heaven."

Jacobi said she was looking intently at his eyes during the talk.

"He had such sad eyes," she said. "The cap over his face made him look unkempt, but his eyes weren't mean-looking."

"I asked him his name," she said. "He said it was Ricky, and he was from Halls."

"Ricky, you drink, don't you?" asked Jacobi. "He said he was hungry. I said if you didn't spend your money on drink you'd have money for a meal."

"Then I asked him, 'Ricky, would you like to go to heaven?'"

"'Yes, I sure would,'" he said. "'But I'm afraid the Lord won't take me."'

"Yes he will. He will take you if you believe. He'd save you right here and now. All you have to do is believe in Him and accept Him as your savior."

She said he told her he didn't know how to pray.

"Oh, you can pray anytime you want," she said. "Anytime, anywhere."

After a brief silence, Jacobi told the man she was going to give him what little money she had.

"I reached into my purse and opened the clutch bag and pulled out what I think was the $10 bill. I said 'Ricky, I'm going to give you money. Don't spend it on liquor. Get something to eat."

Jacobi said Ricky hesitated.

"I want you to have it," she said. "You weren't going to take it from me, but I'll give it to you.

"He started to cry. Then he leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek."

The shaken man then opened the door and walked into the night.

Jacobi anxiously started the car and drove to her Troy Avenue home. After thinking over what had happened, she said she fell fast asleep.

Tuesday morning after waking, the full impact of the experience welled up, and she called a friend. That friend urged her to call the police.

The police report notes from video surveillance of the parking lot that the man was in Jacobi's car for almost 12 minutes before he exited. The recording also shows several dozen shoppers walked by the car during the time Jacobi was ministering to the man.

A member of the First Baptist Church for more than 70 years, Jacobi said she frequently prays asking for ways to bring friends and family closer to the Lord.

"I do think maybe this was it," she said.

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  • -- Posted by dcbivens on Mon, Dec 3, 2007, at 12:55 PM
  • Amazing story.God wants His people to live a separated life from the world,

    but if we are bring sinners to Christ,we have to go to the world some

    times.Truly amazing;what a testimony!

    Lloyd Moore

    Union City,Tn

    -- Posted by lloyd49 on Mon, Dec 3, 2007, at 3:12 PM
  • Wow. What an experience. Thanks for sharing it with us. Mrs. Jacobi.

    -- Posted by gb on Mon, Dec 3, 2007, at 9:07 PM
  • Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. If God be for us, who can be aginst us?

    -- Posted by msmagnolia on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 1:29 AM
  • I pray that as I receive,so may I give.I pray that i may have the right answer to those who are confused. I pray for the wisdom to know when to change my will to Thy Will. Never know just how close he is

    Have A Blessed Day Mrs Jacobi

    -- Posted by Panhead57 on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 8:17 AM
  • Mrs. Jacobi may God bless you and your family. This has got to be one of the most touching stories I have ever read. I can say that you are a Christian and it shows through your experience with the man. I do believe that God used you to get through that man and bring him closer to the Lord. Hopefully he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior that night. May God bless you.

    -- Posted by vanity5 on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 9:09 AM
  • As wonderful as this story is, we still have to wonder why Walmart is not doing more to prevent these incidents. She was parked near the front, not isolated. Shoppers beware of your surroundings, not only for your safety, but for those around you. ALSO, if you are NOT handicapped, stop parking in those spaces. Using someone else's sticker is also illegal. The next thief might not be converted by the truth spoken from their victim as Ricky was. I praise GOD for this happy ending and for Mrs. Jacobi's strength and faith. THis is a great Christmas story!

    -- Posted by talk2t53 on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 12:07 PM
  • My wife and I saw this story on the Nashville TV news. We struggle to find people who walk the talk in today's society. We have been quite moved to see a Saint of the Most High showing such courage and grace as to disarm the enemy of that man's soul. Mrs. Jacobi, ma'm, you have encouraged us by your walk, your strength, and your tact. Our family will lift you up in prayer, as well as the man still dealing with what he heard. Have a Very Blessed Christmas!

    -- Posted by Holt8655 on Thu, Dec 6, 2007, at 9:05 AM
  • My husband heard your story on the radio today and called to tell me about it. It's so encouraging to hear about others walking out their faith. We will also be praying for Ricky, that he will come to full knowledge of Jesus as Savior and that God will continue to bring people in his path to encouraging him in this new way.

    God bless, Pauline!

    -- Posted by dorie_t on Thu, Dec 6, 2007, at 3:18 PM
  • What a wonderful story. I am glad that Ricky was open and receptive. He was obviously looking for someone to tell him about salvation. Everyone needs Jesus, they may not think it at the time but they do. God bless her for sharing with him and bless him for listening and not hurting or harming her. I hope he finds his way, BUT we still need to be careful of our surroundings not just at the holidays but always. The next person may not be as nice.

    -- Posted by titans2 on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 11:43 AM
  • This story is truly beautiful, at least from Jacobi's perspective. However, it is quite disturbing when I consider the situation of the man in his fifties. While I am absolutely certain that we all can be excited about the fact that a man receives a word of kindness and a gift of ten dollars, I am not sure that we can revel over the fact that individuals in our communities suffer so badly that they have to resort to robbing a 92 year-old woman just to obtain money. Whether the man be an alcoholic, a drug addict, or just homeless is beside the point. What is important is whether or not our community will ever choose to offer individuals in this situation more than just words of hope.

    -- Posted by Vivian on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 3:05 PM
  • What a beautiful story of faith and courage in a time of danger. The fact that Vivian had to politicize it with her liberal and socialist perspective saddens me. Charity begins at home and it is not the responsibity of our government to support those down on their luck by happenstance or from personal choices or to protect us from ourselves. Mrs. Jacobi was bearing witness of the One who could turn this man's life around, not referring him to another welfare program funded by liberal programs based on the life and times of Robin Hood.

    Keep the faith Mrs. Jacobi and may God continue to watch over you.

    Lee B

    -- Posted by LeeB on Mon, Dec 10, 2007, at 9:27 AM
  • A friend, John Di Lemme, sent me this story via email..and it really left me in tears. Love is so beautiful, and God only wants us to be happy, and full of force. It's not easy to choose the path of Love...it's the most difficult one. Mrs Jacobi is definately a woman of God...she managed to serve as a Vessel of God's infinite love. Thank you Mrs Jacobi. I am going to pursue my passion to Love God and spread his Good News. Amen!

    -- Posted by La Barokka on Tue, Dec 11, 2007, at 1:12 AM
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13. And you did, Ms Jacobi. God bless you for your faith.

    -- Posted by lynn7 on Thu, Dec 13, 2007, at 11:35 PM
  • Applause and "Ditto" to LeeB's comment to Vivian. Our community DOES offer more than just words of hope. Open your eyes Vivian and see all the many churches who have outstretched arms, our Union Mission, and other organizations. You said how sad it was that he had to resort to robbing her. Well he did NOT have to resort to robbing her...he chose to rob her. Whether he was an addict, alcoholic, lazy mean bum, or just down on his luck, he NEVER had to resort to robbing her...so stop doling out your sympathy for the people who make bad choices and expect the law abiding hard working folks to pick up the tab for their consequences. Everyone needs help sometimes, and most of us are generous, but it's even better to help someone who wants to help himself and improve his life so he can in turn help others. I'm sick of my tax dollars going to healthy able-bodied people who are too lazy to work, yet they get all the freebies while the disabled and our veterans struggle to make ends meet. So go down to the welfare office Vivian and watch the long term recipients get out of their cars that are better than most of the rest of us drive. Welfare, government housing, and food stamp recipients should have to pass a drug test to get their freebies, just like legitimate job seekers do before they are hired. But that makes too much sense for our government and the vivians of our community to support.

    -- Posted by talk2t53 on Fri, Dec 14, 2007, at 8:50 AM
  • Thank you very much for your standing strong. It was what that man needed. God's people aren't weak we just try to show our strength through love. You did just that.

    -- Posted by Thelastnightrider on Sat, Dec 22, 2007, at 6:07 AM
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