2010-05-05 / Opinion

All choked up

by Alex McRae

The new health care reform bill requires uninsured Americans to buy their own coverage or pay a fine. Not everyone is thrilled. Especially one group.

Many young people don’t have health insurance and don’t want it. Mostly because healthy young people believe they are virtually indestructible.

A recent news story from Florida indicates that in at least one case, that may be true. Just ask Eliud Haliday, who at age 70, is a pretty tough bird herself.

Haliday is a widow and the mother of a son who is temporarily disabled, according to a news story by Julie Murphy in the Daytona Beach News- Journal. Murphy reported that Haliday had gone to Wal-Mart to pick up her son and grab some groceries. Haliday was piling purchases into her van when a jerk jumped into the vehicle, cranked it up and took off.

The car (and grocery) thief did not realize until too late that Haliday had jumped back into the van to save her vehicle and valuables.

“I wasn't going to let them take my van, my pocketbook and my paycheck,” Haliday said. “It's against nature. You can't let them take over your life.”

Once the van got rolling Haliday used her martial arts training and started treating the car thief like a crash test dummy. The thief tried to hold Haliday at bay with threats. She wasn’t buying it.

“He kept telling me that he was going to kill me and that he had a gun in his pants," Haliday said. “I told him, ‘You can't reach it. Your pants are at your ankles.’”

Haliday put the thief in a chokehold, then held on as he executed some extreme driving maneuvers in an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge her.

“I think he was trying to get me to fall out of the sliding door,” Haliday said. “He swerved one time, and the door slammed shut, and then he was mine.”

Meanwhile, the thief’s buddies — following in another vehicle — saw the skirmish and kept pulling alongside the rolling ruckus, encouraging their pal to bail out and save his skin.

Haliday offered the lad the same chance, but he kept driving. Haliday just tightened the chokehold and held on. She later said she was surprised at how tough the young thief was.

“I can't believe how hard it is to break somebody's neck,” she said. “I just kept choking him until he couldn't talk. I thought he'd at least faint.”

He didn’t. But after a few blocks of mobile misery, the thief came to his senses, jumped out and was rescued by his buddies.

After the incident, Haliday’s daughter, Maisa Alderman, said her mom just laughed it off.

“When she started telling me about how his eyes were poking out and how hard it is to break somebody's neck, I knew she was fine,” Alderman said.

Local police chief Mike Chitwood was thankful Haliday wasn’t hurt, but unofficially applauded her efforts to cut the crime rate.

“You've got these little thugs just looking for an opportunity," Chitwood said. “They thought they found it, but they were wrong.”

Cops believe the thief and his pals are all young men. Haliday said she hopes the van thief has already had his fill of the high life.

“I hope he's at least 21, so he had a chance to enjoy his life some before he goes to jail,” said Haliday. “You just can't do this kind of thing to people. Not on my watch anyway."

By the way, speaking of health care, Haliday is a nurse. If I ever get sick, I want her on my team. I get the feeling a little thing like a disease wouldn’t stand a chance.

(Send your e-mail comments to: alex@newnan. com)

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