Carol couldn’t help but notice the strange flashes of light coming from inside the otherwise dark home. At first she thought she’d just been seeing things. But as she looked closer, she saw it again. There must have been someone inside, and it definitely wasn't her neighbor.
Carol knew she had to think fast. That’s when her training took over. Before Carol even fully considered what to do, the next thing she knew, the thief was on the ground and Carol had rendered him unable to move...
Carol Was A Widow
Carol had lost her husband many years ago and had spent the last decade living in a peaceful retirement community outside of Tampa, Florida. While she enjoyed her free time to see friends, visit her grandkids, and enjoy glasses of wine in her beautiful backyard, she most enjoyed staying fit.
Her Workout Sessions
People who knew Carol were always amazed at how fit she was. Her workout sessions were legendary among her retirement community. In fact, it was no exaggeration to say that Carol was in better shape at her age than most people half her age. Nearly every day of the week, she would stretch, run, cycle, swim, and kickbox.
She Had One Favorite Activity
Although Carol enjoyed staying active, there was one thing in particular she had started to enjoy: jiu jitsu. Her grandson was a UFC fan and she happened to watch a couple fights one day while he was visiting her in Florida. She was immediately amazed by the skills of the fighters and wondered if she could do what they did.
She Starts Taking Classes
So Carol enrolled in a local jiu jitsu program. She was by far the oldest person in her class but she soon impressed everyone with her athletic abilities. She was stronger and faster than she looked. She couldn’t have known it at the time but her interest in jiu jitsu would make headlines and save her life one day.
It all started one day in July, when it was very hot and humid in the Tampa Bay area. A group of teenage boys, ranging in age from 16 to 19, had begun terrorizing the local community by committing seemingly random acts of crime. One day, they’d rob a convenience store. Another day they assaulted a man on a public bus. It wasn’t long before the gang started making the news.
Carol Was Worried
Carol and her friends at the retirement community were a little worried about this gang. Older people were especially vulnerable to these kinds of crimes. The community had a security staff that was on alert so everyone hoped that would keep the community safe. Unfortunately, they were very wrong.
A Sudden Attack
One night a man in the retirement community was walking his dog when he heard something strange happening near the fence that surrounded the retirement community. He walked over to find that a group of teens had broken through the fence and were sneaking inside. Alarmed, he yelled at the boys to get out. But they didn’t listen.
The First Victim
The man walking his dog was then attacked and robbed by the teens. They took the cash and cards out of his wallet. They also stole a nice watch he always wore that was a gift from his son. The man only suffered minor injuries thankfully. But the community was now more alarmed than ever about the growing crime problem.
A Meeting Is Held
A meeting was held by the residents of the retirement community to see what they could do to make their community safer. Some residents suggested building a better fence to protect the property. Others supported hiring more security staff. Ultimately, the community decided to do both of these things.
Additional Security Measures
These additional security measures were quickly put in place. More security staffers were hired to patrol the community. And a new fence was built to help keep any would-be criminals out. At first, the new security improvements worked. But then, the community was hit again by an even worse attack.
Unfortunately, it was only a few months after the new security measures were in effect before the community was hit by another crime, this one being even worse than the first one. A woman had come home late one night after a dinner with her family. As she drove through the gate into the community, she saw something shocking in her rearview mirror.
The Gang Infiltrates
In her rearview mirror, the woman saw a group of teens quickly run into the community right before the automatic gate closed. She looked from side to side but couldn’t tell where they were going. All she saw was a group of them sprinting into the community. She immediately picked up her phone and called security.
Security on the Prowl
The security staff sprang into action. They fanned out across the community in search of the gang. One of the gang members was soon caught trying to hide near a resident’s pool. But security had a tough time finding and chasing down the rest of the teens. Then, all hell broke loose.
A Sudden Crash
A married couple was sitting in their living room watching some TV before bed. Then suddenly there was a loud crash. The living room window shattered into a million pieces. One of the gang members jumped through the broken window and, at gunpoint, robbed the married couple. Their entire jewelry collection was stolen, along with all the cash they had in the house.
The Police Arrive
The police then arrived and the sound of their sirens sent the gang members running off. But the damage had been done. The married couple had nearly all of their valuables stolen. They filed a police report. They also told the cops that they had a security camera outside that might’ve filmed the suspect.
The Security Footage
The police reviewed the footage from the married couple’s security camera.They were able to acquire some images of the suspect, although the suspect had a mask and hooded sweatshirt on, making it difficult to make out any defining features. Nonetheless, the cops at least had something to work with.
An Emergency Meeting
After the terrible robbery of the married couple, another meeting was called for all the community residents. Again the residents exchanged ideas for how to deal with the gang attacks. At one point during the meeting, Carol stood up to offer a suggestion. She thought everyone in the community who was physically able should take self-defense classes.
A Rejected Idea
The community didn’t take kindly to Carol’s idea. They thought the notion of elderly people defending themselves against teenagers was ridiculous. Carol tried to persuade them by talking about all she had learned taking jiu jitsu classes, that you didn’t necessarily need to be a bigger or stronger person to defend yourself from someone. But the community dismissed the idea.
Carol Keeps Training
As a result of the horrible gang attacks, Carol started training more than ever. She wanted to make sure she had a fighting chance of defending herself if she was ever threatened. Although some people thought she was being ridiculous for studying jiu jitsu, her fellow classmates had great admiration for her.
Carol Wins A Tournament
Carol didn’t exactly have a huge amount of competition but there were some people in her age range studying jiu jitsu across Florida. So Carol decided to participate in a tournament and won. She was thrilled and very proud of her accomplishment. She had never seen herself as a fighter exactly but had learned that anyone is capable of defending themselves with proper training.
Carol Trains Her Friends
Carol began giving some simple training exercises to her friends. Despite the community rejecting her idea of self-defense classes, some of her friends thought it was smart to have at least some self-defense training. Carol didn’t consider herself an expert but she was able to teach her friends some simple lessons.
Carol’s Best Friend
One person in particular named Sandra signed up to train with Carol and they soon became best friends. Sandra loved jiu jitsu and had so much in common with Carol. When they weren’t training together, they’d share stories, go swimming, and sometimes just drink wine on their porches and chat late into the night. If nothing good came from this whole crime situation, at least Carol had made a close friend.
Carol and her friends became known throughout the community as “Carol’s Army.” While everyone else lived in fear, they exercised and trained themselves. They didn’t necessarily think they’d ever come into contact with the gang members but they enjoyed getting in shape and training together. They found it empowering.
News soon began to spread throughout the community that the local town was being hit with a lot of muggings and jewelry thefts. The police department naturally suspected the gang, considering jewelry had been stolen at Carol’s community. Police made it a top priority to capture these thieves and bring them to justice.
Despite all their efforts to secure their community, it wasn’t long before another crime occurred. This time, nobody knew how the gang managed to get inside the community. But somehow they snuck inside, found an unlocked back door, and stole someone’s cash and jewelry while they were sleeping. The community became despondent, wondering if break-ins were now just a way of life.
Some People Leave
The crime spree and inability to stop it resulted in a number of people within the community leaving. They moved to other communities or to another town entirely. The fear of being robbed was more pronounced than ever and so far, neither the community security team nor the police could figure out how the last heist had occurred.
An Inside Job
The only thing the security and police were sure of was that someone must’ve let the gang inside the community. Whether it was done intentionally or unintentionally, there was no way the gang could’ve gotten inside without being caught on camera. Police began to suspect there was someone inside the community helping the criminals.
Who Was Helping the Gang?
Paranoia began to sweep through the community as residents tried to figure out who was helping the gang sneak inside. Nobody had any hard evidence but that didn’t stop them from suspecting people and gossiping. Carol thought the whole thing was ridiculous. She couldn’t believe that someone from their community would help the criminals.
A Night Carol Would Never Forget
Then one night, Carol experienced something she would never forget. Not only that, but the experience would result in her becoming something of a local celebrity. It was around 8pm one night. Carol had finished teaching her class earlier that day, then gone for a swim. Now she was just taking a stroll around the community before heading inside to hit the hay. But as she was taking her evening stroll, she saw something suspicious.
A Mysterious Light
Carol couldn’t help but notice the strange flashes of light coming from inside a dark home about a block away from her own house. At first she thought she’d just been seeing things. But as she looked closer, she saw it again. The entire house was dark except for an occasional flash of white light in the living room.
Carol Becomes Suspicious
Of course, because of all the robberies and gang activity that had been occuring, Carol immediately thought something might be amiss. When she saw the flash of white light again, she realized this time what it was: a flashlight. Someone was sneaking around a dark house with a flashlight. Carol knew she had to act.
Carol Calls The Police
Thankfully, Carol had her cell phone on her. She called 911 and reported a possible break-in at the address. Then, she called the community security team to let them know what was going on. After she’d made the calls, she considered what to do next. She was pretty exposed just out in the street by herself. She thought maybe she should hide somewhere until someone arrived on the scene.
Carol Tries To Hide
Carol decided the best thing to do was to take cover until security or the police showed up. So she quickly ran off to try to hide behind a large tree. She figured it was a good angle for her to keep an eye on the house while also staying out of view. But as she raced towards the tree, she felt a cold hand suddenly grab her arm.
A Terrifying Situation
A wave of terror shot through Carol. She had no idea who had grabbed her but she was so tense that she couldn’t help but let out a scream. As she swirled around to see who had grabbed her, she realized to her horror that it was one of the gang members: a young man clothed head to toe in black, with a hoodie and mask hiding his face.
A million thoughts raced through Carol’s mind. Then the gang member spoke. He told Carol to keep quiet and hand over any valuables or jewelry she had on her. Carol was in such a state of shock that it took her a moment to even process what the criminal was saying. But then she quickly did as she was told, handing over her watch and some cash she had in her pocket.
Carol thought, or at least certainly hoped, that the thief would leave her alone at this point. But then he shocked her with what he said next. He demanded that Carol lead him back to her house. She knew this would be a terrible idea. She could stand to lose some possessions but she couldn’t put herself in such extreme danger by practically inviting this criminal into her house.
Carol Thinks Fast
Carol knew she had to think fast. That’s when her jiu jitsu training took over. Before Carol even fully considered what to do, next thing she knew, the thief was on the ground and Carol had him disabled with an armbar. She didn’t know how long she’d be able to hold him down but with police and security on the way, she hoped she could keep him down long enough.
As Carol struggled to keep the thief down, she wondered if she’d have to resort to breaking the thief’s arm. But thankfully, before anything got too out of control, a security guard came running towards Carol with his gun pointed at the thief. The thief soon stopped struggling and surrendered to the security guard.
Thanks to all the commotion outside with Carol and the security guard, the thieves inside the house suddenly began running outside to make their getaway. When they saw their fellow gang member being threatened by the security guard, they began running over to help. Carol tensed up, ready for another confrontation.
Carol Is Cornered
As the group of gang members came running towards Carol and the security guard, she readied herself for a confrontation. The security guard yelled at the approaching thieves to stay put. But they didn’t listen and kept racing right towards him, even though he had a gun. Then, a piercing sound suddenly rang out.
The Police Save The Day
The sound of a police siren blared and a cop car came roaring towards the group of gang members. One of the gang members was within arm’s reach but distracted by the cop siren. Carol instinctively grabbed the gang member and quickly brought him to the ground. She’d practiced this move hundreds of times in training.
The Cops Arrest Everyone
Two police officers jumped out of the car and immediately got all the gang members on the ground. One by one, all the thieves were arrested as more police backup arrived. The cops were shocked to find that Carol, the retired Florida grandma, had taken out two of the gang members thanks to her jiu jitsu training.
Carol Becomes a Hero
As news of the capture and arrests of the gang members spread not just throughout the retirement community but also around the country, everyone couldn’t help but be amazed by Carol’s heroics. She, of course, remained humble and said that her jiu jitsu teacher and the people she trained with were the real heroes for teaching her how to defend herself.
One Mystery Remains
But one mystery remained: who inside the retirement community had been letting the gang members inside? Carol was shocked when she learned the truth: it was her best friend Sandra who had let them in. But it had been an honest mistake. She had given a key to her grandson so he could use her pool. But it turned out he was wrapped up with the gang.
Sandra Feels Awful
Sandra felt awful that she had inadvertently allowed the gang members to enter the community. With tears in her eyes, she came over to Carol’s house to apologize. But Carol immediately forgave her best friend. She said it wasn’t Sandra’s fault that she’d simply wanted to see her grandson. Sandra was beyond happy that Carol understood the situation. They gave each other a big hug.
The Community Gives Carol An Award
After everything had settled down, the community got together and presented Carol with a special award of bravery. She accepted the award humbly. The community members also made a special announcement: they would be making Carol’s jiu jitsu training course official and allow her to use the gym. She was thrilled.
Carol’s Family Hears the News
Of course, Carol’s family heard the news about her heroics. They weren’t terribly surprised. She might seem like a kind old woman but they all knew she was tough as nails. When it was time for Carol’s birthday, they decided to go all out and throw her a big surprise party. She didn’t even see it coming.
A Surprise Visit
Carol came home one night after teaching another one of her (now very popular) Carol’s Army jiu jitsu training class. As she approached her home, she noticed her grandson sitting on the front porch. She was surprised to see him. He said he came by just to chat. She was delighted by the surprise visit and opened her front door.
A Surprise Party
As Carol opened her door, the huge crowd inside all yelled “Surprise!” and “Happy birthday!” Carol was stunned. As she looked across the room, she saw her family, her friends, and of course her best friend Susan. She had never had someone throw her a surprise party before but she had to admit she loved it.
A Special Evening
That night was a party that Carol would never forget. She celebrated with everyone in her life who was important to her. She had sometimes felt like her interest in fitness and jiu jitsu made her a bit of an oddball. But after everything that had happened, she felt like she was now more accepted than ever before. She had a wonderful time at her party and when she blew out her birthday cake candles, she wished for everyone to become part of Carol’s Army.
The events of this story are entirely fictional and are products of the author’s imagination. Images included are meant for illustration purposes only. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.