In 2006, three teenagers kidnapped Brad Pearson in Philadelphia and repeatedly threatened to kill him as they drove around looking for an ATM. After scoring some cocaine, they finally let him go, much to the surprise of Pearson, then a senior in college. "I tried counting to eight, but all I could hear was the hammer sliding, the click-clack of a roller coaster approaching the top of a hill," he recounts in Philadelphia magazine of the gun pointed at his head. "I waited to die, and I prayed." He didn't die, however, and police later arrested Jerry Price, Tyree Brown, and Mordi Baskerville. Nine years later, Pearson visits the two who remain in prison, Price and Brown, and writes about it for the magazine.
His meetings with his kidnappers are not confrontational, more about Pearson trying to figure out what brought the men to that point. Both are remorseful, and both have plans to work with underprivileged youth upon release. Pearson suffered nightmares at the time, but the kidnapping has since made him a "stronger man," he writes. "March 27, 2006, is millions of miles away, happening to three different people. Those people came from contrasting worlds and polar communities, brought together by the happenstance and opportunity of West Philadelphia. Now, we’re bound together by that night, but no longer dragged down by it. Now, there are no nightmares, no anger." (Click for the full story.)