I had been an auto painter for many years and at this time was working for a mom and pop shop out in the country. I worked for a guy who became my best friend. Johnny was a big man, 6' 6", 250 lbs (I think he was a bit chubbier, but who's gonna argue with a 6-6 guy? lol), with hands the size of a gorilla. A voice that was so low it was nearly off the octave scale. His size and voice intimidated most, but he was truly a gentle giant as well as unflappable. The guy was as "cool as a cucumber".
Johnny and I used to drive into town nearly everyday to have lunch. It was a nice drive (8 miles) and got us away from the shop. On this day we'd finished lunch and were headed back to the shop. At the edge of town sits a little convenient store where we would occasionally stop for whatever it was we needed to stop for before heading back to the shop. Today Johnny wanted to stop to buy himself a treat. I was pretty full from lunch and decided to wait in the truck. About 2 minutes into our stop, a car pulled up next to the truck on the drivers side. I looked over to see an elderly woman driving and a young girl in the passenger side. I thought nothing of it and sat back, closed my eyes while I waited for Johnny. I no sooner closed my eyes when I heard a big "Bang". I sat up and heard bang, bang, then some yelling, then screaming. I then saw a guy, he'd run up on the car that the woman and girl are in and starts beating on the roof and kicking the doors yelling at the them to get out of the car. For a second I thought "Oh Crap". I sorta slid down in my seat peering over the dash in anticipation that someone would intervene. Much to my dismay no one confronted this guy, they just waltzed in and out of the store like nothing was happening. A couple people paused for a moment just to look, then continued into the store. Now mind you, this is all happening pretty doggone fast and I'm trying to assess what to do all the while wondering "where the H is Johnny??"
At this point the guy is now trying to bust the drivers window out with his fists, the woman and girl are screaming, I hear a baby crying, it's chaos! The store's owner comes out and goes to confront the guy and the guy shoves him back up on the walkway where he falls to the ground. Here I go (Oh chips!), I slide out of the truck, creep around the back side of the vehicles and now see the guy has opened the left rear door and is stretched out yanking on the baby's arm trying to pull him from his car seat where he is obviously strapped in. All I hear are screams from the gals, him yelling, and the baby crying. Everything is happening sooooo fast. I sneak up behind this guy, snatch him in a choke hold and pull him away and behind the car. I'm thinking "I hope to God this guy don't have a knife", "where the H is Johnny", "is someone calling the cops?" all the while this guy is tussling, kicking at my ankles with his heels (i'm sure we looked like we were "hopscotching" for a moment there, lol) trying to break himself free. I'm want to look around for Johnny (in hopes that he'll come HELP me), but at the same time I don't want to turn my head for a moment from this guy. I keep trying to look around, but don't see him. The next thing I hear is a woman shouting at me, "let him go, he's my son!" Seconds are like minutes, time has just slowwwwed down. I've shut out all the noise and see this woman's face angry, her mouth looks like it's moving in slow motion. I'm thinking "this is frickin' nuts". "COPS ARE ON THEIR WAY" breaks this silent trance i'm in and then all the noise just pops back on and hits me like when I go to start the wife's car and she's left the radio on full blast "BAM". Within a minute it seemed, I see 2 patrol cars flying up the street towards us, lights flashing, no sirens. This guy now starts flopping around wildly, then goes limp, and now I'm trying to hold him up without choking him to death.
I had to tell the whole story as it happened in hopes you could grasp the "intensity" of what had transpired, but I want to assure you that the true highlight of this story is what happened next...
Two officers snatch this guy from my grasp, slap cuffs on him all the while the mom's still screaming at me and the cops telling them I hurt her son. I'm finally able to take in a deep breath, then deep sigh of relief. I then think to myself "Johnny!" I turn to see where or what had happened to him only to see him standing on the walkway with a crowd of people holding and licking a stupid "Nutty Buddy" ice cream! I looked at him in amazement (more like WTF??), then felt my blood pressure skyrocket, I pointed my finger at him, then told him to get his A$% in the truck. Not a word was spoken between us on our ride back to the shop.
We laughed and joked about it later and I will forever remember seeing him standing there enjoying his Nutty Buddy ice cream bar just as if he were enjoying it at a movie at the theater, lol.