Last weekend my mother-in-law came for a visit. She’s in her eighties and lives in Tyler, Texas. Genie doesn’t like to drive alone anymore so she brought her friend Regina with her. She also gets nervous about driving through Austin, so Randy and I met them at a coffee shop in Round Rock. The plan was to have her follow us into town.
They were sitting at a table inside drinking a cup of ice tea when we arrived. We shared our usual hugs and chit-chat. I noticed as we talked that Genie had glee in her eyes. She told me she had brought something for me that she thought I would really like. She does that — always bringing things for me — cutting boards, outside decor and calendars.
“I’ll give it to you when we get to your house,” she said.
Genie is a short woman. She needs a stepping stool to get into the bed of our guest bedroom. When we arrive at the house, Randy helps her open the hatch to her Jeep. She says, “wait, wait,” as he goes to pull out a bag. She and Regina have big smiles on their faces. She then starts to tell me a story about stopping at a gun range outside of Tyler in the small town of Willpoint. The range was located down a old dirt road and she was worried they had wrong address, but Regina reassured her it was correct. Regina had been there a few times with her boyfriend.
When they finally found the range they walked inside. Genie asked for the manager. She said a guy in his late 30’s introduced himself and asked how he could help her. She handed him one of my Lock Arms for Life stickers and explained the work I do.
Then she asked if he had any gun locks he’d be willing to give her. “Gun locks!” he said.
He yelled at the girl behind the counter to go get the locks that they had stored in the back. The woman returned with a box filled with locks. Of course, Genie couldn’t carry that box to the car, so the manager did it for her. He told her to come back anytime. He added that he was happy to help and wanted to know if it was okay to keep my sticker.
Let me say this is not the first time my mother-in-law has gone out to find me some gun locks to distribute for Lock Arms. Another gun dealer in Tyler gave her 10 when she stopped in his shop.
Below is the picture I took of her and Regina and that box of gun locks. Genie had counted them. Wiley’s gun shop had given her 150 gun locks.
This 80-year-old woman is working to help save lives and make guns safer. She could go to gun stores in Texas and get locks for us to distribute through Lock Arms for Life. It’s been hard to get those locks in my hometown of Austin. You wouldn’t guess that an elderly woman and her friends, moving through small towns, could be so successful. I think it means that gun safety is important to everyone — and you can find others to help in unexpected places.