Every parent’s worst nightmare came true for Aaron and Melanie Richman when a hooded thug tried to steal their car with their 6-month-old daughter, Samantha, in the backseat. What would YOU have done?
The unsuspecting couple , who spoke about their harrowing experience on The Today Show on Dec 3, were driving as part of a caravan with members of their families from Missouri to Colorado when the whole line of cars stopped at a gas station in Kansas City. After filling up, the Richmans stepped a few feet away from their Pontiac Grand Am to speak with some relatives. At that exact moment gas station surveillance cameras show a man in dark clothing jumping behind the wheel of their car and speeding off! “We never saw him coming. He was in our blind spot the whole time,” says Aaron.
In a split-second decision that may have saved her baby‘s life, Melanie lunged at the car and smashed the passenger-side window with her elbow! “There’s supernatural powers moms can get, I guess,” she says. Melanie hooked her arm in the window and was dragged along with the car as the thief tried to speed away. That’s when Aaron seized to opportunity to throw himself through the smashed window, into the car. “The best way I can describe it is a spring-loaded swan dive through the open window,” says Aaron.
As the driver accelerated even more, Melanie was knocked off the speeding car, smashing her head on the pavement. But Aaron was now inside the car, taking on the hijacker. “I kept kicking him in the right side of his face—I kicked him and said ‘My baby’s in this car, get out of my car, you’re stealing my car!’” says Aaron
The surprised carjacker crashed the car into an embankment and ran away, but police still haven’t caught him.
The family, including the baby, is physically fine, but Melanie, 24, is understandably traumatized and totally afraid of the dark. “I’m afraid of everything now,” she says. “I’m constantly on edge.” The same goes for Aaron, 22, who is now hyper-aware of his surroundings. “My guard is up 125 percent of the time,” he says. “I have to make sure my family is safe.”
“If he had gotten out of the parking lot,” says Melanie, “it would have been pretty much saying good-bye to our daughter and signing her death certificate.”