She was the victim of an armed robbery, kidnapped and placed in a storage room with her customers, and after being held hostage needed the men and women in Blue.!
The Great American Senior Show's grey-haired host Sam Yates hears the first hand account from Jen Lee, the founder/creator and host of I Need Blue, a podcast that focuses attention on the critical role our law enforcement play in our everyday lives. The I Need Blue Podcast also tells the stories of victims of crime from the victim's perspective.
We are joined on this two-part series by Mike Dandridge, the CEO of CD Risk Consulting Services. His unique perspective on situational awareness can and does help potential victims of crime BEFORE it happens.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another exciting edition of The Great American Senior Show. I'm your grey haired host, Sam Yates. Today we have some special guest in the studio. We are talking about podcast and security. And our guests can address both of those. And as you see, as we go through the program today, we'll find out how they're intertwined and find out their relationship. First, a special welcome to my fellow podcaster Jen Lee, Survivor Advocate. And she's the host of the I Need Blue podcast. And if you have not checked out that podcast, I'm going to highly recommend that you do so. Because when I first heard of this, and by the way, I heard of it through a mutual organization, but when I first heard of it, I was like, wow, that that sounds interesting. I went to your podcast, I listened to the episode. I came away with goosebumps that I still get those when I think about that episode the details of how you got involved into podcasting. And, and I want to get into that. And also joining us today is Mike Dandridge. Mike is the President CEO of C D Risk Consulting. And that is a mouthful, and basically, it's a lot of things to keep you safe. And Mike is an excellent consultant. We're gonna get into that. But John, first, Welcome to both of you before we get too far into the program. Glad to have you here today. Thank you. Now, in addition to sharing the interesting podcast background, if I mentioned the letters, ABWA, that hits a good note, Jen for both of us explain why.Jen Lee:
Absolutely. So ABWA stands for American Business Women Association, and I have been honored to speak at one of their dinner meetings, which was quite the honor, a little bit about American Business Women Association. Their mission is to bring together business women of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help others and others grow personally and professionally, through leadership, education, networking, support, and national recognition.Sam Yates:
And it is a great organization, the way that I am connected to it, I heard all of that about the organization. It's been a little over a year ago. And they were attempting to put something together to say, This is what our local chapter is all about. So knowing that there were many women in my lives, that meant a lot to me, including Patricia Worrow, whom, you know, she voluntold me that I would like for you to do this video, because you do videos very, very well. So I did. And that video ended up being shown at the national, ABWA. convention. And I was very, very happy with that. And in return, I was designated a good guy. I can't be a member of AB WA, but I was designated a good guy and give it a little lapel pin. That's a white hat. And good guys always wear white hats. So I'm an official good guy. It's the next best thing to being a member of ABWA so we share a common background there as well.Jen Lee:
That's awesome. Thank you,Sam Yates:
you know, and that leads in to the thought that not every person out there, though is a good guy. You had an encounter with a bad guy. And I know that Mike is going to add some thoughts on how to avoid bad guys through situational awareness. But tell us what happened, Jen, in your particular case.Jen Lee:
Sure. In my particular case, a decade ago, I became a survivor of armed robbery and abduction. During that time, I was store manager of a women's clothing store. The Robber was rather brazen and it was 7pm Saturday night, my store was located in in a strip center. So basically there was a lot of stores, a lot of people Saturday night prime time. I'm in my fitting room area helping some ladies and behind me I hear Give me all your money. And I remember I stopped because for me, I'm used to hearing can you zip me up? Does this look good? Right? So I didn't turn around. And again, I hear Give me all your money. So at that point, I turn around and I have a masked man pointing a gun at me. And the gun was close enough I could touch it. And I remember I looked at the gun, I looked at his eyes, I looked at the gun. And at that point, I turned and I headed toward the register area. I could see behind me, he waved the gun for the other customers to follow. Let me set the scene. So there was a total of nine of us, including children, and one male, that we were all there. So I get to the register area, I clean out one of the tills and so as to not speak, I remember I took my hand and I kind of gestured like over the coins like the little Vanna White move. And he didn't want the coins. I go over to the other register. And while I'm doing that, he is taking the cash the wallets from the other customers. And I can hear Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Sheesh, the gentleman was praying. And one of the other customers shushed him. And then you can hear crying and things like that. So I clean out the other registered drawer. So at this point, he has all of our money. He saw a swinging door behind me and asked what that was. And I said, well, that goes to our back room, storage, stock room, things like that. And he implied that he wanted us to go back there. And in that moment, the best way I can describe it is that I had this out of body experience I, in my mind was no longer a mother, I wasn't an aunt, I wasn't a friend, I wasn't anything except a protector of these people, these strangers. So I had them go ahead of me, because in my mind, I'm thinking he has our money, what more does he want, and if his intention is to hurt somebody, then I need it to be me. And that is not to say I wanted to be a quote hero or anything like that. I just turned into big mama bear. And nobody was gonna hurt those people. So they make their way to the back in he stopped me and he asked me if we have a safe, which we didn't, we didn't have a safe there were no cameras in the stores, nothing like that. We proceed on and we are now in the backroom lined up in front of our desks. And he asked me to pull the landline out of the wall. So that always dates my story a little bit. So I pull that out. And he asks for our cell phones. And I watched the other customers relinquish their prized possession with all of our photos, our emails, everything about us we store in our phones. And I still had my phone in my pocket. We had a newly constructed room back there. And he inquired about it instinctually I knew that's where he was going to put us. Cell phone was still in my pocket. So I gave it to him because I knew when I turned to go in that room, he would see the outline of it and it wasn't worth whatever the repercussions might be. So now we are all in this other room. He is in there with us. And he points the gun at us and he says don't say anything and nobody will get hurt. Mind you the same things that I heard out at the register in regards to the crying the praying all of that is still going on and I'm very aware of of every all of my surroundings. He said again, nobody say anything and nobody will get hurt. And at that point, he went over to the door. And he pulled it shut. And that door had never been shut. So I remember the sound of wood scraping, you know, the first time you shut a door that scrape? Yeah, that's awful. Um, so he is now gone. We are in this room. And I looked over at one of my customers who I knew had had tragedy. I think it was her grandson had been murdered not long ago. And she is starting to have a hard time breathing. I go over to her and I remember I pinned her arms up against the wall. And I looked in her eyes and I was like baby, I was like I need you to stay with me. I need you to stay with me and I started to regulate my breathing in hopes that she would be able to follow and that didn't happen slowly her body started to go down. I called the gentleman over I was like I need your help. She's going to fall. So he comes over we get her down to the ground. Mind you as store manager there were times I was in that store by myself. So I was trained to listen for the front doorbell as we get her down to the ground, I hear the front doorbell. In my mind, I'm thinking, Okay, hopefully he's gone. Right? So she is on the ground progressively getting worse and watching somebody have a panic attack is just helpless, you feel helpless. My sales associate happened to hide her phone in her bra. And she pulled it out and I said, Get behind me, I need you to call 911 and make it quick. She gets on the phone with 911 I hear the doorbell again, the front doorbell and I was like, Oh, I have no idea what's going on out there now. You know. She hangs up with 911. She was like the you know, law enforcement is on their way. I was like, great. Next thing this lady starts to have a seizure. So like I know how to put on a band aid, right. I don't watch er, I don't like any of I'm not a McDreamy fan. I know. I get asked Jen, how did you not panic. And I will tell you the moment she transitioned into that seizure, the panic started to come into me. And I had to choke it down. Because I had to maintain control to help this lady. But that was definitely a tough moment for me. I looked at my sales associate, I said, Give me your phone, because I've heard this doorbell. And so I don't know what's going on. But I did not want the robber to push the door open and see her on the phone. So I got the phone. And I remember when she gave me the phone, I heard the doorbell again. So now I have three doorbells, I get 911 on the phone. And I have the utmost respect for a 911 dispatcher, who only has your voice and your words, and you're in a high stress situation. So imagine how you actually describe things. And she took that and she was able to give me the advice that I needed to keep this lady safe until the EMTs arrived. I'm on the phone with her, the door pushes open. And I think all of us looked up and there was a moment of fear. And then when we realized it was law enforcement, I think we all took a breath. And we're like, okay, we're finally safe. And for me, I had been thrust into this protector role. And so when they came, I felt like I could relinquish that, because now the true protectors had just arrived.Sam Yates:
What a story. And you're and by the way, I've said this to you, privately before you are a great storyteller. You create the visuals that if you were to close your eyes, we can all see that unfolding and happening. It's a great talent that some people have. But I think that talent has been overshadowed certainly by your ability to take control there. And as you said, the great protector. That to me, was just the whole core of everything that you were telling when I first heard your story. And that gave birth to the I need blue because you needed them. And they were there.Jen Lee:
Absolutely. And I am forever grateful. And sometimes I think we live in a world of thinking that will never happen to us. I assure you when I woke up that morning and walked to my car thinking it was going to be a normal day, I never would have believed that I was going through the events that I was going through. But I made it and you know a lot of people are like, Oh my gosh, I would have passed out or whatever. And what I will say is honestly you do not know how you are going to react and I end my podcast episodes with saying you are stronger than you think.Sam Yates:
What a great saying. Now, I know that you've probably been asked this before but our audience has not heard you before. Do you have any negative reaction to this day and he flashbacks to you? How do you carry that? That with you?Jen Lee:
That's a great question. And when I first started to tell my story again, because mind you I didn't talk about this, like people knew I had been robbed, but there was never really any conversation about it. So when I first started, I would get a little triggered when I started to talk about that out of body experience because that moment I think my body knew the danger we were in and the fact that he's still here, what does he want? And so that would trigger me a little and then honestly, my husband a matter of months ago wanted to go get our concealed carry. I didn't realize the fear the PTSD that I had from a handgun because I grew up around them. My boys are Marines, you know I would buy them airsoft guns, that was very foreign. So even a decade later, I had a fear of this handgun that I had to face. Because I wanted to overcome the fear of this. This thing that instills fear in me, I didn't want it to have that kind of control over me anymore. I wanted to protect myself using that device that instills fear in me imagine that.Sam Yates:
And I think that's a, that's a great testimony to how you are, and I'm sure you are, because I've heard that you are instilling other people to come forward with stories, that in some cases, I'm sure it's a way that they are coping with what happened to them. And I won't go into all the stories because I would really like to have people to tune into your podcast and hear that, because I think it's important to hear it from the people themselves. But what an inspiration you are to the people who have had some experience. And I just want to say thank you very much for what you are doing and how you're stepping forward to help people.Jen Lee:
You're so welcome. And that about brings tears to my eyes, because I am fortunate to recognize that this is my purpose. Many people go through life, maybe never even realizing or figuring out what their purpose is. And I'm blessed that I am in a position where I figured it out and I get asked a lot, you know, would you change anything about it? And I said no, because it is brought me to where I am today. And I was meant to go through it.Sam Yates:
And those words, meant to go through it, you know, you did survive. But there are cases where people do not survive. And that is one of the reasons that Mike Dandridge is with us today you introduced Mike to the equation of having the podcast today, because Mike, you help people survive by being better prepared, I hear about it all the time, situational awareness, and I try to instill that into seniors that I speak with situational awareness. Sometimes I'm ask, Are you a cop? Because I'm observing things going on around me. And it's that type of situational awareness that keeps people safe. But tell us about your business, your background and what you're doing.Mike Dandridge:
Yes, thank you for having me. But yes, I'm glad you introduced situational awareness. My background is 20 plus years, and executive protection, personal protection, travel security, through the corporate model, and help create an executive protection team. And so to branch out on my own to take what I've learned over those years to travel and the different experiences that I went through to teach just the common public, I found that some of the stuff that I've learned wasn't readily available to the general public. I mean, you have the police officers and military and some government officials, and that's where it stops. And what situational awareness, when folks go into, say, a martial arts, they're doing the part of you've, you've already encountered an issue. And so you haven't really, you're a little bit behind the ball if you're at a point where it has to get physical. So I've been trying to get the word out and help spread the word on educating folks on situational awareness. Being aware of your surroundings, how do you fit into that surroundings? Being the eyes like as we say, eyes on a swivel, looking around, listening and hearing is not just for your safety, it can be for someone that you come across, you see an elderly person just shoveled in the heat in wearing slippers, and they don't seem to know where they got so now that it turns into a safety issue, or if you're a young woman walking down a dark alley, and someone standing there waiting for you now, there's a threat.Sam Yates:
Now, you mentioned that but not singling out women, but are some of us not as keen about situational awareness than others? Is that something that we all need to stop and pause whether we're, whether we are female, male, older, younger, I don't think people just start the day thinking about, hey, this is going to be a situational awareness day.Mike Dandridge:
Well, it's, it's something where the situation wareness needs to start at home and practice everyday. So it becomes habit. And yes, we're in a busy world, we have so many distractions, our heads down, sometimes you just want to walk in our own little bubble, but staying in that bubble. Now you're putting crosshairs on from a threat to say, that person is not paying attention, they seem weak. So I'm gonna have to attack that person. Or if you're out, you have a cell phone, and you're wearing something flashy in. Now you're drawing attention to yourself. So that's where and also, sometimes you kind of forget your boundaries, and you don't want to speak out of terms and forget that your safety is your number one priority. And sometimes folks and women will also downplay it, because they don't want to come off rude and offend anybody. But if someone is in your bubble, and you're not comfortable with that, you have to speak up. And if it's something that's unintentional, so be it you have to look at it as it's unintentional, you'll laugh at it live for another day. But if it's something that you step up and say something, and that person goes, Oh, wait a minute, this person is watching me and well aware of my presence. Now they've become a harder target. I'm just back off.Sam Yates:
And I think in some cases, are those bad people, whether they are men, women, or young, old, if they know that you are on top of your awareness game? You're not a target anymore?Mike Dandridge:
Correct? Correct. Because they see that your heads up, and you're ultimately gonna make eye contact with them. Because you're gonna say, Huh, why is this person watching? So now you whether you're out about, and you kind of adjusted your body. So now you can watch them on the peripheral, or you're always making eye to eye contact with them. And now you're like, in your mind should be getting a plan together, like, Okay, what is he all about? Or she all about? Why are they so close? Why are they watching me? Let me gather my items. Just if anything would happen. I move on. I say something. What am I next plans?Sam Yates:
Wow, just this short amount of involvement with both of you. I have so many more questions. So my question right now for both of you is, can you come back for another episode? And let's dig a little further into this to protect people. And Jen, I've got questions about what's happening with the podcast. So can you both come back?Mike Dandridge:
Absolutely. Absolutely. All right.Sam Yates:
Well, with that as a bit of a tease, I want to say to our audience, I know both of our guests today have lots more to say, how do we get into situations and get out of them? What does the future hold for Jen's podcast? How many more opportunities for us to jointly get the word out to help protect people? Just a few of the questions. So I want to thank both of you for being here on the program today. Thank you. Thank you and and with that we have them on the record saying they will be back so I know our next episode upcoming with him is going to be an awesome episode. Until that time, I'm Sam Yates, your gray haired host of The Great American senior show. That's the way our program