Sabrina Hasnat

Tue Nov 09 2021 05:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

44509S H

He pulled out a gun, discreetly aimed it towards me, and instructed, ‘hand me all the money or I’ll start shooting everyone in here.’ I stood there frozen in fear, my mind racing, and my heart pacing. I never thought this kind of thing could happen in real life.

The bulletproof glass between us provided little comfort as the bank's customers were going about their day on the other side, oblivious to the danger. Their lives were in my shaky hands. I slowly handed the stacks of thousands of dollars to the robber, and he walked right out the front door into lower Manhattan. I stood in disbelief, waiting to exhale a sigh of relief. Eventually, I was able to breathe again, but the relief never came—only tears. The robber’s face, partially covered by his hat and sunglasses, was etched in my memory forever.

I moved on to work at the bank’s other locations before eventually leaving my job altogether. Any remaining desire to return to the 9-to-5 work life vanished completely with the birth of my two children. At times, I wonder whether the incident triggered my lack of motivation to return to work. While no one was hurt that day and I didn’t lose any of my own money, why did it feel like I was robbed of something more valuable, my ambition?

They say that when one door closes, another one opens. What they don’t tell you is that most of the time, you have to search long and hard to find that other door for yourself. As it turns out, my aspirations were still intact. The events of that day didn’t derail me, but rather helped me redirect my energy towards finding a new path. I opened an online Desi jewelry store, which was far more therapeutic than I ever imagined it could be. The store allowed me to write my own story instead of being a side character in someone else’s story.

I used to be gripped with a sense of despair whenever I watched the surveillance footage from that day. Not anymore. Now, I look back knowing that that day didn’t end anything for me. Instead, it was a turning point that guided me towards everything great that was yet to come.