For most of us, our everyday lives consist of a string of mundane activities, ordinary banalities that don’t seem to make much of an impact on our lives or the world at large.
Sometimes, though, a moment arrives upon which our entire existence seems hung.
Twenty-year-old University of South Carolina student Jordan Dinsmore faced just such a moment on July 26, 2017.
After completing her shift at a local restaurant, she arrived at her apartment complex and was getting out of her car when a pair of men materialized from a wooded area near her car — and pointed a gun at her.
“I panicked and started screaming,” she told Teen Vogue. “‘Shut up or I’ll shoot you,’ the guy holding the gun told me as he forced me to the ground.”
After driving them to a nearby ATM (they couldn’t handle the vehicle’s manual transmission) and withdrawing $300, Dinsmore begged for them to take her car and go. They refused.
“‘Now you’re going to drive us somewhere else,’” one of the young men said. “‘And when we get there, you’re going to be raped.’”
Dinsmore’s mind began racing. “I thought back to my mom,” she told WCBD.
“She was almost a victim of sexual assault when she was in college, and she fought back and fought the man off, and I thought, ‘You know, I’m going to be strong like my mom. I’m going to get myself out of this.’”
Her mother, Beth Turner, had urged her to “never let someone take you to a second location” because “that’s where the really bad stuff happens.”
In an eerie coincidence, Turner’s assault had unfolded in a manner similar to that of her daughter.
A man had lurched up from behind her car, intent on attacking her. Only by violently kicking him was she able to escape.
So remembering her mother’s advice, Dinsmore didn’t buckle her seatbelt when she got back into the car.
She also waited until she reached an intersection where three cars were approaching from different directions.
Then she put the car in neutral and hurled herself from it at 30 or 40 miles per hour. Unable to drive the vehicle, the kidnappers fled, and a woman who spied Dinsmore running away dialed 911.
When she called her mother, she first reassured her that she was fine. Then she recounted her tale.
“You know, as a parent, you tell your kids stuff all the time,” Turner said. “You don’t know what they’re listening to you, don’t know what they’re paying attention to, and to hear … that she was actually listening and that was what was with her in her head … feels really good.”
“I had always told her, don’t ever let somebody get you out of the public eye.”
“I knew she was a tough, smart, bright girl… I didn’t know she had this in her, though,” she said with a proud smile and a shake of her head. “I didn’t know she had this in her.”
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