Shaquille Hairston is a 21-year-old college student from Euclid, Ohio, who almost lost everything earlier this month, including his life. An armed robber held a gun to his head and demanded everything he had. But Shaquille told the man the truth — he had almost nothing to give. Just a little money in his wallet and a cell phone. That’s when the bad guy told Shaquille he was going to shoot him.
And then something happened that changed everything.
Now Shaquille, a pre-med student and Bowling Green State University who is working his way through school pulling night shifts at a downtown Cleveland hotel, is telling his story — a story that he says is a miracle.
After one of his late shifts, Shaquille got off a municipal bus at the stop closest to his home in Euclid, a suburb of Cleveland with a population of around 50,000. He didn’t even see the shadowy figure get off the bus right behind him — and follow him for several blocks.
But when the man said, “Hey, bruh,” Shaquille turned around — and the crook pulled a gun.
First, after Shaquille told him he had nothing else to give, the man pistol-whipped him.
“I told him, I don’t have anything. I really don’t have anything and he took the gun — he swung and he hit me in my head really hard and I had a bump right here on my head,” Shaquille told Cleveland’s WJW TV News.
That’s when the man told him that was it, he was going to shoot him.
“He raised the gun up and he was like ‘I’ll shoot you. I’m not playing with you, man.’ I’m just like, so ‘ok,'” Shaquille recalled.
And that’s when the hard-working college student, who faithfully attends New Direction Church of God in Christ in Cleveland, began to pray.
Not silently, under his breath. Not even in desperation, praying for his life.
“If that was gonna be my last night living, I wanted to go out knowing that God was with me and I had God on my mind and if I did go, I would be with him when I wake up on the other side,” he said.
He even prayed for his assailant — who suddenly had a complete change of heart. The robber gave Shaquille back his belongings, shook his hand, and was on his way.
“He was like, ‘Man, just keep your stuff. I’m so sorry for this. You were the wrong type of person to do this to,'” Shaquille recalled.
The robber claimed that this was his first time committing an armed robbery, that he just needed some money.
Shaquile told him, “I’m just trying to make it out here like you.”
The young man filed a police report, and investigators say they recovered a clue from the scene that they say will help them track down the would-be robber. But Shaquille says he forgives the man and doesn’t need or want an apology.
“My concern has been on him, and that God will touch his heart and tender his heart,” Shaquille Hairston said. “So he won’t even feel that he have to do that.”
[Image: WJW-TV Screen Grab]