July 11, 2005
Robin McGraw’s sister, Cindi Broaddus, was nearly killed when a stranger threw a vat of acid through the windshield of her car. She was severely burned on her face and body and scarred forever. She shared her story on the show and has written a book documenting her experience.
A Random Act is Cindi’s riveting firsthand account of the brutal and senseless attack, and her dedicated determination to turn a nightmarish experience into something positive and uplifting. “In all honesty, this is one of the most profound chronicles of human experience that I have ever, ever seen,” says Dr. Phil.
Chapter Three: I Am Not a Victim
My journey of a thousand miles began with one small step, then another, and then another. The steps I took were all choices anyone could make. The first steps were to choose to fight for my life in the moments after the attack, and later in the hospital, choosing to believe I would live. Looking back, I can see three crossroads where the paths I took led me to where I am today.
First, I decided what kind of survivor I would choose to be.
Second, I made the choice to heal from the inside out.
And finally, I chose what to do with the rest of my life.
I believe the path to healing is lined with choices. I did not choose to have a gallon glass jar of acid break over me, and only God could choose whether I would live or die. But it was my choice whether my spirit would live or die. As you travel this journey with me, I hope you can take something from my story that helps you when you reach a critical crossroads in your life.
What kind of survivor would I choose to be?
I decided early on that I did not want to be a victim, that bitterness was not the legacy I wanted to leave for my grandchildren, and that vengeance was not mine.
For the nearly three weeks I was in the burn unit, I couldn’t take a bite of food by myself, go to the bathroom on my own, or take a single step without someone’s help. It would’ve been easier to retreat into my own world where I could complain and be resentful toward the nurses and doctors for the painful procedures I was going through. I could’ve lashed out at God for creating the human being who did this, someone who had so much hate in his heart.
Police reports, medical reports, and news reports all called me a victim. Of course, technically, I now know I was the victim of a hideous crime. For whatever reason, the perpetrator chose Jim and me, two innocent people. From his point of view, he timed it just right. He dropped the jar 16 feet and hit the bull’s-eye.
At that very instant, I became a statistic. I believed I would die from a random act of violence. I would no longer exist because of the distorted whim of a passing stranger. But I survived, and so to me the victimization ended there. It had to. I’d rather be known as a survivor who made something good come from something terrible.
The foregoing is excerpted from A Random Act by Cindi Broaddus with Kimberly Lohman Suiters. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022