“Don’t Go through the Alley!” Ensign, Aug. 2002, 68–69
The summer after I graduated from high school, I took my first full-time job as a teller at a small thrift and loan office in Santa Monica, California.
One morning two employees were sick, leaving only Jon, the manager, and me in the office. One of my usual morning duties was to take the deposits from the previous working day and walk them through the back alley to the bank. This particular day, Jon suggested that I take them over in the afternoon when he’d be able to cover the teller line for me.
After lunch I grabbed the deposits and headed out the back door to the alley. I finished my business at the bank and started walking back to the office. When I reached the corner of the alley, an undeniably clear thought came to my mind: “Don’t go through the alley!”
I stopped abruptly. The thought puzzled me, because the walk was much shorter through the alley and I always went that way. In a quick decision I thought, “Well, all right,” and turned to walk toward Fifth Street, thinking it would be a nice change of scenery anyway. I made it to the door of our small office several minutes later than usual, hoping my boss wouldn’t give me a bad time for taking too long.
As I walked through the front door, one of our elderly customers was sitting at one of the front desks. He had a stunned look on his face. Concerned, I asked, “Mr. Reed, what’s the matter?”
Mr. Reed’s voice was shaky as he replied that the office had just been robbed! Apparently, as Mr. Reed had walked in, the thief had demanded what little money he’d had before running out the door.
After Jon completed the police report, he gave me an account of what had happened. He had been alone in the office when a man wearing a ski mask and holding a gun came to the counter demanding cash. He became very angry upon learning that most of the cash was en route to the bank.
The robber had then forced Jon into the back room near the alley door, which we always kept locked, and jerked him angrily to the floor. Then he had shoved his gun against Jon’s temple and yelled profanities before finally deciding to leave.
Jon told me, “That guy was so nervous that I kept thinking, ‘Please, Polly, don’t come through the back door jingling your keys. This man will shoot us both!’”
As Jon told me this, a sudden calm enveloped me. In my mind I replayed the alley scene and realized I had received a divine prompting at the corner of that alley from a loving Heavenly Father.
Jon was somewhat of an atheist, and when I told him why I had changed my route that day he called it lucky or coincidental and then conceded that perhaps someone was looking out for us. I knew it went way beyond luck or chance. The scriptures give the promise that if we are worthy, “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion” (D&C 121:46) and “will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Ne. 32:5).
I am extremely thankful for a most loving Heavenly Father who has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. I know I will continue to pay attention to the promptings I receive, no matter how trivial or inconvenient the situation may seem.