Alan King believes in power of prayer

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 4, 2000

Features Editor

Feb. 3, 2000 8 PM

Shortly before midnight last Friday, Alan King walked into Wal-Mart to get a few odds and ends. Little did he know someone was lurking in the parking lot, waiting for him to come out.

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Alan checked out at 11:57, said good night to the security guard and went to his car. There were a few other cars in the parking lot and some of them were moving, so Alan gave little thought to the SUV that was coming down the row toward him.

The 18-year-old, put his groceries in the car, got in and started "fiddling" with the stereo. Suddenly, someone snatched the car door open.

"This guy was in my face saying something about needing a ride because his friend was doing crazy stuff," Alan said. "I was shocked. I’d never had anyone jerk open my car door like that."

Alan hesitated and found himself looking down the barrel of a 9mm.

"The guy said, ‘Let me tell you what you’re gonna do,’ and he told me to drive around to the south side of the building and that his friend would meet us there," Alan said.

When the Isuzu Rodeo whipped around the building, the driver stopped kattycornered to Alan’s car, allowing him to see the license plate and memorize the tag number.

Alan was instructed to take off his shoes, shirt, wallet and watch. His hands were bound behind his back with black electrical tape and his eyes taped shut. He was shoved onto the back floorboard of the vehicle and, for the first time during the ordeal he had time to pray.

"I just asked God to keep me calm and help me key on any opportunity to get away," Alan said. "I didn’t know what was going to happen to me and I was pretty scared."

The men took Alan on somewhat of a "joy" ride and he tried to reason with them.

"I asked them why," he said. "I told them, ‘I’m not a rich college kid. I have to work for what I have. What do you want with me?’ The guy on the passenger’s side rammed the gun in my chest and said, ‘Do you think this is a ­­ easy job!’ I realized I’d better let it be."

During the ride, Alan said he wiggled his eyes enough to work the tape off one eye.

"I’d seen the one who opened the door on me good enough that I could identify him so I got myself where I could see the other one enough to identify him," he said.

The abductors drove back to Alan’s car and attempted to remove the stereo and speakers but finally decided it was too much trouble to get them out.

At this point, they directed Alan to get out of the vehicle.

"They told me to crawl out but I was on my back," he said. "They said to push myself out and not to worry, it wasn’t far to fall."

Alan tumbled out getting wet and muddy in the process and was directed to get in the trunk of his car.

"They wanted to know the pin number for my ATM card," Alan said. "They said if I told them the right number, they would send someone to let me out of the trunk. If I didn’t, they would come back for me. They asked me how much money I had in the bank and I told them maybe $150 at the most."

The men closed the trunk on Alan.

"I thought they were leaving me there by the building but, when I heard the car crank, I almost freaked out," he said. "I was afraid of what might happen. I worked hard to get my hand aloose."

Alan said he had no idea where the men were taking him or what they would do when they got there. When the car came to a stop, he waited anxiously for the next sounds.

"When I heard their vehicle drive off, I waited a few minutes until I was sure they were gone and I started kicking the trunk, trying to get it open."

A few kicks and Alan realized his efforts were useless. Then, he remembered that the backseat of his compact car would fold down so he turned his efforts toward releasing the seat.

"I kicked the seat hard enough to loosen it so I could grab the latch and push it open," Alan said. "Right then, I knew my prayers and been answered and I was so thankful."

Alan climbed into the driver’s seat and found his car keys under the seat.

"I had no idea where I was but I slung mud everywhere getting out of there," he said. "I wasn’t staying around any longer than I had to. All of a sudden I saw the four lane and a sign to the left that said, ‘Hardee’s 2 miles on the right’ and knew exactly where I was."

Alan went back to Wal-Mart because that’s where the incident took place and also because he knew he could get help faster there.

"Having to drive into town would mean the men would have more time to get away."

There was no way Alan could have known that the two abductors were "creeping" around Troy with the $100 they had gotten with his ATM card.

The two men were quickly apprehended by the Troy police with Alan’s $100 still in hand.

The ordeal had lasted about an hour but is seemed like an eternity.

"The adrenalin was pumping so hard and I was praying so much, that I didn’t get a bad case of the nerves until it was all over," Alan said. "The whole time I was locked in the trunk, I kept thinking if I didn’t get out, they would find me the next day frozen to death. I feel blessed to have gotten out of this unharmed."

Alan said his granddaddy said bad things happen in threes. This was the third bad thing to happen to him in less than two years.

He recovered from a life-threatening football injury suffered in Sept. 1998. In the spring of 1999, he and his younger sister Heather were involved in a serious car accident. Alan was seriously injured and Heather’s life hung in the balance for a couple of days.

Alan could be the luckiest boy in these parts or the most unlucky, depending on how one looks at it.

Or perhaps, it has nothing to do with luck. Perhaps God just has his hands on Alan.

"That’s what I believe," Alan said with a smile. "Really, I do."