i never considered myself unique, but people are constantly telling me, "you are a miracle." to me, i was just an ordinary "guy" with realistic goals and big dreams. i was a 19-year-old student at the university of texas and well on my way toward fulfilling my "big dream" of one day becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
on the night of february 17, 1981 i was studying for an organic chemistry test at the library with sharon, my girlfriend of three years. sharon had asked me to drive her back to her dormitory as it was getting quite late. we got into my car, not realizing that just getting into a car would never quite be the same for me again. i quickly noticed that my gas gauge was registered on empty so i pulled into a nearby convenience store to buy '2.00 worth of gas. "i'll be back in two minutes," i yelled at sharon as i closed the door. but instead, those two minutes changed my life forever.
entering the convenience store was like entering the twilight zone. on the outside i was a healthy, athletic, pre-med student, but on the inside i was just another statistic of a violent crime. i thought i was entering an empty store, but suddenly i realized it was not empty at all. three robbers were in the process of committing a robbery and my entrance into the store caught them by surprise. one of the criminals immediately shoved a .38 caliber handgun to my head, ordered me to the cooler, pushed me down on the floor, and pumped a bullet into the back of my head -- execution style. he obviously thought i was dead because he did not shoot me again. the trio of thieves finished robbing the store and left calmly.
meanwhile, sharon wondered why i had not returned. after seeing the three men leave the store she really began to worry as i was the last person she saw entering the store. she quickly went inside to look for me, but saw no one-only an almost empty cash register containing one check and several pennies. quickly she ran down each aisle shouting, "mike, mike!"
just then the attendant appeared from the back of the store shouting, "lady, get down on the floor. i've just been robbed and shot at!"
sharon quickly dropped to the floor screaming, "have you seen my boyfriend? he has auburn hair." the man did not reply but went back to the cooler where he found me choking on my vomit. the attendant quickly cleaned my mouth and then called for the police and an ambulance.
when the police arrived they immediately called the homicide division as they did not think i would survive and the paramedic reported that she had never seen a person so severely wounded survive. at 1:30 a.m. my parents who lived in houston, were awakened by a telephone call from brackenridge hospital advising them to come to austin as soon as possible for they feared i would not make it through the night.