When it comes to her job, store clerk Earline Sword doesn't miss a beat. She keeps long lines moving and the customers happy. But that customer service came to a screeching hault over the weekend.
"I was just minding my own business," she said.
Then, 21-year-old Taurus James Shackelford burst into the Petro Mart store where Sword works and put a screwdriver to her arm. Shackelford forced the woman to open the cash register.
"I was really scared, I hope he don't keep me away from my kids," the frightened clerk later recalled.
After she realized the screwdriver-wielding man didn't have a gun, she flipped the switch on the store's door locks and put the robber in lock-down mode. Then, security cameras showed her pulling out a long wooden stick for protection.
"It always sits back here, and I had to use it," Sword said. With the stick in hand, Sword called 911 - using her makeshift weapon to keep Shackelford off the locked door. Several times she swatted at the man from behind the counter.
The caged robber ran to the back of the store several times and at one point, desperate to get away, started wildly kicking at the door. His efforts weren't enough, though. In minutes a Montgomery Police officer arrived and took down the suspect.
"He could have went to somebody else and killed them just like he could have killed me," Sword said.