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On Sunday, my wife and I were taking a short road trip to Lake Palestine, about 90 minutes from Dallas. We pulled into a small gas station in a strip mall so I could check our GPS. We were sitting in the car and we were parked facing towards the gas station convenience store. As I was waiting for my GPS to update, I saw an elderly gentleman walk past our front windshield. I looked down for a second at my GPS and then jerked straight up as the driver side door was yanked open.

I yelled "Hey!" and my hand went immediately to my EDC on my right hip. Before I could draw, the same man that had passed our car immediately put his hands in front of him and said something like "Oh my, I'm sorry, wrong car." He backed away and then went to the vehicle to our right which was a white pickup truck. Our car is a silver Toyota Sienna. He got in and drove away.

My wife and I looked at each other and she said "Can you imagine his reaction if you had drawn on him?" I just shook my head. The whole thing happened in about 3 seconds and I realized that my situational awareness had lapsed while I was looking at the GPS. I had seen him and dismissed him as a threat but never expected him to accidentally open our car door. The other thing that bothered me was that our doors unlocked when I pulled into the spot and turned off the engine. I don't like that feature. I'd rather the doors stayed locked until I decide to leave the car..

They guy was obviously not paying attention because our cars were so different. He had walked past his own vehicle and thought our car was his. I had a similar situation happen to me a while ago where I mistakenly opened the wrong car's door in a Target parking lot because the car was a twin of our car and was parked two spaces down from mine. In that case, no one was in the car and I immediately closed the car door, found my car, and realized how dangerous that type of scenario could be.

Lessons learned: always keep my situational awareness up. Also, re-lock the car doors if I'm going to be sitting in the car. Finally, if the SHTF hits the fan, reaction time is critical. I'm pretty sure I could have drawn in about a second, but if the guy had been intent on mischief and had a gun already drawn, I would have been way behind the 8-ball.
 

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Wow. I've gotten into the habit when I ride with friends of mine, that when they stop at a gas station or whatever, I unbuckle and retract my seat belt, and keep an eye on everything around me, including the rear view mirrors, for just such a situation, and I typically keep my shirt tucked behind my IWB holster when in the car, to facilitate access if needed. It probably sounds paranoid, but I'm disabled, and am small of build, so I'm more of a target than a typical 180 pound fit male, for example.
On a side note, my friend and I were coming back from picking up a pizza yesterday, a bit before dusk, and my buddy who was driving (also works armed security/exec protection, fantastic situational awareness, and he's an imposing 285 lbs, 6' or so) noticed a car behind us with some black, dreadlocked gentlemen eyeing us, and zipping through traffic to get right behind us. As we came to a light, I saw my friend pull his Glock from the center console, and I put my hand on my Beretta at my 5 o'clock. Just then, a local cop pulled along side us just as my friend lifted the Glock about chest high, clearing the console compartment with it before sticking it in his lap. Cop didn't say a thing, or seem to give it any real notice, but the guys in the car behind us suddenly turned down their radio which was cranked up, and sat up straight trying to look less shifty upon sighting the cop.
When the light turned green, we changed from the left, to the right lane, and pulled into a parking lot followed by the cop in his SUV. He turned into Taco Bell, and we turned the other way and whipped around in a circle, and came back out to the parking lot exit to see if the car followed us, which it didn't. We then took a more circuitous route back to my house to make sure we weren't followed. We've had too many encounters at work with young men much like the ones in that car, and weren't taking any chances, as my friend's AR pistol was in the trunk and not easy to get to in that situation, so we were stuck with a 9mm, and a .357 Sig.

Wakes you up in a quick miniute when that sort of thing happens.
 
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I would have drawn on him. Yes it was an honest mistake, but what if it wasnt. I am not willing to bet my life on possibilities and what ifs, and I bet he would be more aware of what vehicle he was getting into in the future.
 

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It just goes to show that you can never let your guard down. Glad your event to turned out to be a non-event.
 

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I've been using a full sweat shield Remora for an in between the seat and console holster lately too. I can slide it back to where it is invisible from view from outside.
 

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Fortunately most of the low SA situations we find ourselves in end up being innocuous. It's a good reality check to help us maintain better SA. Think about all of the people who things like that happen to and don't even realize how potentially dangerous they were. Glad nothing bad happened.
 

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Sitting in the car, belted in, is one of the top three most vulnerable positions you can be in. I always lock the driver's door. (My Honda does it for me). You are vulnerable where people are walking by your car. Don't be lulled by being in daylight, or in a place with a lot of people. Carjackers are looking for opportunities and are not dissuaded by people being around.

As you noted, your SA was down just when you needed it most (at that moment). My thesis is that SA will -always- fail when you need it most, by definition. It may be rare, but when we're alert it's unlikely that anything will happen. It's an odd paradox. The point is you can NOT rely on SA. Always get help, partner up, two pairs of eyes, lock doors, "Three S rule", and don't put your groceries away by yourself, let the store personnel help you.

When stopped in your car in a parking spot waiting for someone always undo your seatbelt, lock your doors, keep your eyes on mirrors, and even, if warranted, back into the space to allow quick response. When you get into your car, shift into drive (or reverse), foot on the brake, and -then- put your belt on. That way you can be ready to move quickly. Get a car with self-locking doors when you upgrade vehicles.

Good luck, and glad nothing happened.
 

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This is why I lock my doors. Sometimes things require us to pay attention to what's in front of us instead of constantly watching or trouble.
 

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You should have open fired on his tires while doing continuous rolls on the ground Lethal Weapon style as he was pulling away - just to teach him a lesson to not pull that crap again!
As I was waiting for my GPS to update, I saw an elderly gentleman walk past our front windshield. I looked down for a second at my GPS and then jerked straight up as the driver side door was yanked open.

An elderly gentleman makes a honest mistake and this is your response to the situation ?? I sincerely hope you are joking...
 

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As I was waiting for my GPS to update, I saw an elderly gentleman walk past our front windshield. I looked down for a second at my GPS and then jerked straight up as the driver side door was yanked open.

An elderly gentleman makes a honest mistake and this is your response to the situation ?? I sincerely hope you are joking...
Of course I'm not joking. Any opportunity you have to pull this move, you shouldn't pass it up!

Lethal Weapon 1--Drug Deal Bust - YouTube
 

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Don't know about the settings on your car, but check your vechicle manual. One of my cars, (Chevy Impala), you can select whatever option you prefer as to when and if your door locks open or close automatically. Worth a check.
 

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As I was waiting for my GPS to update, I saw an elderly gentleman walk past our front windshield. I looked down for a second at my GPS and then jerked straight up as the driver side door was yanked open.

An elderly gentleman makes a honest mistake and this is your response to the situation ?? I sincerely hope you are joking...
Well.....God bless and I hope you receive the help you need....
Wow, you really have no sense of humor. OF COURSE he was joking.

@ Taurahe: Really....Seriously? You would have drawn on a little old guy because he opened your door? That's called assault with a deadly weapon.
 

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Wow, you really have no sense of humor. OF COURSE he was joking.

@ Taurahe: Really....Seriously? You would have drawn on a little old guy because he opened your door? That's called assault with a deadly weapon.
Well I can only judge the gentleman by his own words which were that he was not kidding.....I have no other data to go on at this point.
 

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That's one reason I always try to park away from other cars; anyone approaching me (or following me to my car) tends to stand out.

If the GPS unit is not mounted to your car you could hold it at eye level so your peripheral vision would work for you. Same thing if someone asks for the time, don't look down at your wrist, but bring your arm up to eye level.

I don't like sitting in a car; too constricting. I will get out and stand with my back to the car rather than just sit there.
 
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I've got to fess up too. Several months ago I was on my way home from work riding with my truck windows half down and talking on the phone to a buddy of mine. Stopped at a light not far from home all of a sudden someone knocked on my driver's side truck window (which was half down) and it scared the bee jeezes out of me. It was a well dressed lady from the car behind me and she told me my driver's side brake light was out. I thanked her and did a face palm for not noticing her until AFTER the knock on the glass.

In our day to day travels, there are moments when our attention is on something other than our SA. We like to think we are on guard 24/7, but there will be moments when we have too many other competing distractions. That's when it is most likely things will happen. Fortunately for you it was nothing.
 

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Wow, you really have no sense of humor. OF COURSE he was joking.

@ Taurahe: Really....Seriously? You would have drawn on a little old guy because he opened your door? That's called assault with a deadly weapon.
I disagree..... if someone jerked open my car door i am first going to assume they mean me harm. In that situation, assessing whether the person was a threat or not may get you killed. He was no threat, its pretty easy to reholster. My life is worth more than some one crapping their pants because I scared them.

Also that would not be assault with a deadly weapon / aggravated assualt. That would require a physical act of violence with said weapon. It could be considered plain old assualt, which only requires the threat of violence and the ability to do so. However, as I could validly argue my reasoning for drawing my weapon given the situation from the perspective a reasonable person, I still have to go with drawing. If it were your house would you ask a stranger coming through your door what they wanted, or pull your gun? my car is no different to me. MY first and immediate thought will be carjacking until proven otherwise.
 

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I see nothing wrong with you reaction other than you let your guard down for a moment. You didn't draw on the fella much less gun him down. Chalk it up to lesson learned and move on. As far as others criticism? Well there's always gonna be that someone.
 
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