Saturday, October 1, 2011
Robbery Suspect Thwarted By Bigger Man: Hero of Mendota Liquor Retires
Friday was payday so I took a diversion from my usual route home on my motorcycle to stop off at my favorite liquor store, Mendota Liquor in Mendota Heights. The store is owned and operated by my friend Patrick, a generous, friendly, but no nonsense man of Cambodian descent. As I have been flat broke as of late due to my trip to the Ponderosa Stomp in N'awlins, I have not been in to see Patrick for about three weeks.
As I approached the counter with my usual brand of beer, which Patrick gladly orders for me and another customer (even though it does not have as high a profit margin as other brands which is why I suspect my neighborhood liquor store won't stock it despite my repeated requests), Patrick greets me with his customary, cheery "Hello Sir!".
As he rings me up , Patrick looks up and deadpans: "I suppose you are going to represent him?" "Oh, who's that Patrick?" "The guy who robbed me." "You were robbed?" I fired back peppering Patrick with two of the the four w's (i.e. who and when).
Patrick gets a wry, incredulous smile on his face and says: "You didn't hear about it? It was all over the news." Patrick proceeds to explain that back on September 26, 2011, a lone white male came into his store and immediately walked to the back of the store before coming to the counter. Hoping to lure Patrick out from behind the counter and distract him, the soon to be robber asked Patrick for a bottle of brandy. By sheer serendipity Patrick happened to have one of the large bottles the robber had asked for right behind him ready to be shelved.
Startled and confused, the robber thrust his hand in his pocket and ordered Patrick to "Hand over the f#@&ing money!" to which Patrick responds with a big grin: "You for real?" "Look motherf#@&er, hand over the f#@&ing money or I will blow your f#@&ing head off!". Totally unphased, Patrick, realizing it would be good to get the robbers fingerprints on the till, says "Okay" and proceeds to punch in no sale so the register drawer opens and steps back forcing the robber to reach over with his other hand to grab the cash all the time keeping his other hand thrust in his pocket.
Patrick, I scream at him, "Are you f#@&ing crazy, just give the guy the money, nothing is worth your life!" "Hell" says Patrick, I survived the Killing Fields in my country, this punk didn't scare me". Patrick continues with his story, including that he followed right on the heels of the robber who was startled to see Patrick standing next to him when he opened the driver's door to the getaway car before jumping in and peeling off. Ever the cool one, Patrick jotted down the license plate, make model and color of the getaway car and promptly called it in to the police who were soon giving chase. Eventually the robber bailed out of his vehicle near Lillydale and made it to the banks of the Mississippi River where he managed to elude a dragnet of over fifty law enforcement personnel, tracker dogs and a helicopter before being arrested the following day hiding in the basement of a friend's house.
Fast forward a couple more weeks and now I am back at Patrick's store the Thursday before the deer opener to stock up on my favorite beer for the opener and Patrick is uncharacteristically unshaved. Noting another person in the store shelving inventory and sensing something out of the usual, I instinctively spout off, "What's up Patrick? You sell the joint or something?"
"As a matter of fact I did. Let me introduce you to the new owner..." Whereupon Patrick introduced me to the new proprietor, a very nice man by the name of "G" as the guy who rides his motorcycle all the way from Minneapolis just to buy his beer from them so be sure to take care of him and order his brand of beer when the distributor starts stocking it again in Spring.
"Patrick", I exclaim, "I hope it did not have anything to do with that robbery?" "Aw, no way" laughs Patrick, "I just want to go back to Cambodia to help out with part of my time". Cambodia has been hit by heavy flooding this year, like many countries in Southeast Asia, and Patrick, ever the hero, is going back to his native land to lend a hand.
Seeing the sad look on my face as I tell him what a great thing he is doing, Patrick adds: "But I will still be coming back from time to time, especially around the holidays, so if you stop in, you may see me again." So to all my colleagues in Eagan and the good people of Mendota Heights, please patronize the best liquor store in the Twin Cities, Mendota Liquor, especially for all your holiday shopping needs and who knows, maybe you will be lucky enough to run into Patrick , a true hero!