This account appeared in The Dallas Morning News on October 28, 2001, in an article titled "Gunman faces off with prayer's power" by columnist Steve Blow.
Sherman Jackson was a little late for the share service at his church on a recent Sunday night.
But that was OK. He had quite a story to share once he got there.
Sherman, 36, and his 7-year-old daughter, Alexa, had stopped for gas on their way to church. This was on Northwest Highway, where Garland and Mesquite and Dallas all meet.
As they were about to drive away, a 30-ish fellow walked up. "Hey, man, I need your help," he said. "Could you please help me jump-start my car? I'll pay you to help me."
Sherman fretted a moment about being late for church. Then he chided himself for thinking of that over helping someone. So he invited the fellow to get in the front seat. Alexa was in back. And they drove off.
They hadn't gone far when the man reached into his pocket. "I thought he was trying to get out some change to pay me for helping him," Sherman said. But no.
"He pulled out a revolver with his right hand and placed his left hand on my shoulder. He pointed the revolver into my rib cage and said, "OK, man, this is for real. You give me all of your money right now, or I'm going to unload this gun on you."
Sherman was terrified, of course. And mad at himself for putting his daughter in danger.
"OK, look, here's all I have on me," he said, pulling out his money clip. "Take it all."
But the robber didn't believe him. "That's not all. Give it all to me," he said, shoving the gun harder into Sherman's ribs. Sherman, a Garland insurance agent, keeps Gideon Bibles in his car with a dollar bill tucked in each one. He gives them to the homeless. The gunman spotted one of those bills sticking out and began to scream at Sherman: "You lied to me! There is more money here."
Something came over Sherman just then, and he began to pray out loud. "Father in heaven, hear my cry and deliver me from this present evil . . ."
He felt a sudden calm. "I lost all consciousness of concern and worry," he said. "A boldness took over."
He slowed the car and began to make a U-turn. The gunman screamed, "What are you doing?"
"This car is being turned around," Sherman replied, "and I am not taking orders from you anymore."
The man put the gun against Sherman's chest. "You don't get it, man. You mean nothing to me. I'll pull this trigger." "No, you don't understand," Sherman cut him off.
"Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. My Jesus is stronger than your gun."
He could see the gunman tug on the trigger. The hammer drew back. But Sherman didn't flinch. He pulled over and stopped.
"I want to tell you about Jesus," he said to the gunman. The man wavered a moment, lowered his gun, and then dropped his head. When he looked up, he was crying. "I'm so sorry, man. I'm so, so sorry," he said. "I was going to shoot you."
"Don't worry about it. I forgive you," Sherman said. And then he began to tell the man about new life through belief in Jesus.
Sherman urged the man to go on to church with him, but he declined. He asked Sherman to drive him to his car at a store.
Along the way, the man began to tell Sherman about all his problems. He said his name was Mike and reached out to shake Sherman's hand. Sherman continued talking to him about starting life anew with God.
As they neared the grocery, Sherman said, "And by the way, Mike, I want my money clip back."
"Do what?!" Mike exclaimed. But then he meekly handed it over.
"And," Sherman went on, "you are keeping this New Testament, and you are going to read it like you never read anything else before. And I'm going to be praying for you, Mike, that God will come into your life."
They pulled alongside Mike's car. "He got out," Sherman said, "with the revolver in one hand, the Bible in the other hand, and tears in his eyes."
And Sherman drove on to church.
-The Dallas Morning News