...in São Paulo, Brazil

It was a birthday present from my mother — my first car. It meant a lot to me because it gave me greater independence. In the Bible, I learned that we receive when we give. So I began to use my car to give rides to people, and to help my parents by taking my younger brothers to school.

One day driving home from work, I stopped at a traffic light and was held up by two young men. The guy who came to the window pointed a gun at me and told me to sit in the back. I tried to remain calm, and asked them to drop me off somewhere. However, they didn't want to talk. I'm studying law, and my criminal law professor always tells us that these holdups can be dangerous because these guys are often high on drugs. So it's important for us to know what to think, and how to react. And they were really threatening me, saying they were going to kill me. There was a reservoir near where we were, and they said they were going to throw me in.

But I tried to stay calm crouched down in the back seat. I told them that they could take the car, and I gave them the money I had.

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January 1, 2001

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