On the morning of Dec. 6, a man crashed his SUV into The Jewelers in Lebanon, Tenn., driving through the entire store.
The 66-year old man, whose wife was in the passenger seat, told police he had a coughing fit, which caused him to step on the accelerator instead of the break.
The store suffered more than $50,000 worth of damage, but a twist of fate—and a just-adopted puppy—may have saved everyone from serious injuries.
“It could have been so much worse,” says store owner Shawn Smith. “Thank goodness everyone is okay.”
Earlier that morning, Smith had just signed the adoption papers for his new rescue dog, a Collie-Basset mix named Bentley, and brought the pet into the store. “He doesn’t usually come to work with me,” Smith says.
Smith was working in his office all morning but when Bentley started barking, he decided to take him home. Shortly after, around 11 a.m., the SUV plowed through the entire store, landing in Smith’s back office. “I have to give my dog a lot of credit,” Smith says. “It’s pretty crazy.”
Another store employee also narrowly dodged injuries, walking away from the store’s front window just moments before the car accelerated.
“We all had guardian angels that day,” Smith says.
The store was able to bounce back in time for the busy holiday season, reopening the next day in spite of the broken windows and hole in the building.
And when life leaves a hole in your store, why not fill it with a joke? Smith covered the post-accident storefront with a sign reading “We’ll help make your Christmas a ‘smashing’ success.”
“We aren’t quitters,” Smith says.