God Was My Bulletproof Vest

By Rufus Bryant Jr • April 8, 2012

On September 26th, 2011, my cousin called and asked if I was still looking for a job. I had been out of work for almost a year, so I said, “Yes.” I went to PinPoint Recovery in Humble (Houston Area) that day, filled out my application and gave them my DL and Social Security information. They said it would be a few days before they got my record back and until then, they would have me riding night shift with my cousin and pay me $20 cash per car. Once the records came back they would hire me full time.

On the 29th of September, my third night on the job, we began our shift by trying to contact the Registered Owner. During the brief phone call that my cousin made to him, the RO threatened to kill anyone who tried to take his truck. Our shift was 10 PM to 10 AM. We went about our business during the night. Got a couple of cars and took them back to the office. Then we worked our way towards the ROs’ address. We had 14 locations left at 5:25 AM when we arrived.

We saw the truck parked up against the house, backed up against a wooden fence, so we went down the street and turned around. The house was on a corner. We tried to get the truck by backing in from the southeast side. The vehicle would not come out and it was pulling the fence down with it. When we realized that the vehicle was chained, we decided to drop it and come back later. Just as we were beginning to pick up speed on Lockwood (maybe 40 ft. from the truck), I heard a gunshot and felt the bullet hit the back of my head while the other grazed the left side of my face.

My cousin floored the wrecker and took me to the nearest hospital. While I was in LBJ Hospital, my cousin called police and our boss. He took police to the location and they detained the RO until he began complaining of chest pains. The police called an ambulance for him and to this day have not filed any charges.

Since this incident, I have been walking around with a 12 gauge slug in the back of my head. I have gone through deep depression, anger and constant suicidal thoughts. I have night mares, tremors in my hands, dizzy spells, and since January, I have been suffering from blackout spells caused by damage to my Vagus Nerve that is a direct result of swelling of my brain due to the concussion of the gunshot. I have been diagnosed recently with Vasovagal Syncope. The Vagus Nerve in my throat causes my throat to close and I have coughing fits that cause me to blackout from lack of oxygen. I have had 5 CT Scans since 09/29/11.

Since I wasn’t a full time employee at the time, I don’t have any insurance. I have applied for disability and am currently waiting for a trial by judge on that. I have also been dealing with Crime Victim’s Services at the Attorney General’s office. I have over $30,000.00 in hospital bills and Victim’s Services has only agreed to pay $275.00. I have received reimbursement of $24.99 for medication that I bought out of my own pocket and they said they are gonna send me a one-time payment of $516 for loss of wages. I’ve been waiting on their decision for almost 6 months.

I have a fiancé and three future step-children. Two boys and a girl, ages 10, 9, and 8. I also have 6 children of my own, ranging in age from 14 to 24 and a grandchild on the way. The only income that we have is a disability check for my fiancé’s 10 yr. old son, Andrew, who is mentally disabled. Since I have been out of work, we have been struggling very hard to stay afloat. Our bills are piling up, it’s been almost 6 months since I was shot and I’m getting nowhere waiting for these government agencies to help us.

The doctors’ at Kingwood Hospital admitted me for 5 days on January 6th last month. They want me to go to a neurologist for my seizures and a plastic surgeon to have the slug removed from my head. The doctor does not want me to drive anymore, which is devastating to me because I’ve been a driver my whole life. I started out delivering pizza. Then I went to driving a Yellow Cab and after that I moved up to over the road trucking while driving a wrecker for my cousin on the side. I’ve even worked in warehouses driving a forklift. I’ve never done anything but drive for a living and now I can’t do it anymore. Driving for a living was my life!

I can’t be left by myself at all because if I blackout someone has to be there to bring me back. When I blacked out on February 16th, I was sitting on our love seat and started coughing. The last thing I remember is trying to sit on the edge of the couch. I woke up 6 minutes later with my fiancé trying to lift me and screaming my name. She said that I tried to stand up and fell face first on the floor. I fell on my left arm and almost broke it.

I plan to do my best to raise awareness about situations like mine. Shooting or attacking the Repo Man is getting to be somewhat of an epidemic in this country and I’d like to try and change that, so anyone in the future doesn’t have to go through such a terrible experience.

My father was a preacher for 51 years and I am a "God Fearing" Christian. Had it not been for my faith in God and the support of my family, I probably couldn't have made it this long. I can't give anyone credit for my survival except God. He definitely stopped that bullet from cracking my skull that morning. God was my bulletproof vest!

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