Katie Schlinger, 26 years old, of Tallahassee, FL, was visiting Aiken, SC, to support her brother, who was in the hospital for open heart surgery.
She stayed at a nearby hotel. Restless at 4 a.m., she went to have a cigarette in the warmth of her car in the parking lot.
There she was approached by a black man, 23-year-old Michael Antwon Fuller. He asked her for a cigarette.
They conversed about their respective relatives in the hospital.
Eventually Fuller asked the young woman if she wouldn’t mind giving him a ride to the hospital so he can check up on his uncle (who probably didn’t exist).
Schlinger employed the wise tactic of recalling patterns she has been made aware of in life, patterns of blacks’ way of speaking, their way of dress, and their attitudes.
After deciding Fuller was one of the safe blacks–he didn’t look, act, or talk like the ones she has learned through pattern-observation to avoid–she agreed.
She joked, “I’ll give you a ride if you promise not to hurt me,” to which he replied with what should have canceled her agreement to help him: “Who could hurt that precious face?”
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