How would you react when a thief tries to break into your home? This is one of the scenarios where the fight-or-flight response of a person is triggered. There is an imminent threat perceived, and this response prepares our bodies to take either of two actions – to fight or to flee the threat.
When a man broke into the home of Rochester, New York resident Willie Murphy, the powerlifting 82-year-old’s immediate response was to fight – and she fought so well that the bad man ended up having to be taken to a hospital!
Willie was getting ready for bed on Thursday night at around 11 p.m. when she heard a man calling outside her door. “[A man] was outside saying please call an ambulance because I’m sick, I’m sick,” Willie told ABC Rochester affiliate WHAM.
She called the police to get help but didn’t open the door for him, which angered the man, Willie said. “I hear a loud noise, I’m thinking, ‘what the heck was that,'” she said. “The young man is in my home. He broke the door.”
It was a little dark then and she was alone. But Willie felt confident enough to fight the man, saying that she was “tough” and that “he picked the wrong house to break into.”
As it turns out, she had good reason not to be afraid. Willie is an award-winning bodybuilder who works out almost every day at the Maplewood YMCA. She had previously earned first place awards in her division at the World Natural Powerlifting Federation’s championships. In 2014, Willie was given the title “Lifter of the Year” for winning gold medals in the deadlift, power curl, and bench press.
It’s safe to say that Willie is one tough grandma!
When the intruder entered her home, she decided to take him down immediately. “I took that table and I went to working on him,” she said. “And guess what? The table broke.”
Then, she used the metal legs of the table to hit him repeatedly. After jumping on the man multiple times, she ran into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of baby shampoo. She squirted all of its contents on the man’s face as he struggled to get up.
But Willie, our powerlifting grandma wasn’t done. She grabbed a broom and used it to whack him some more with all the strength she had. He tried pulling on the broom but couldn’t, so Willie was able to hit him with it a couple of times. By that time, the man clearly wanted to get out of the home. Though Willie said she can deadlift 225 pounds, she had a hard time dragging him out of the house.
“He wants to get the heck out of there. And I’m trying to help him get out of the house, but he’s too heavy. I can’t move him. He’s dead weight,” she said.
At that point, the police arrived in response to the call she made a few minutes earlier. “So they come in,” she said. “He’s laying down already because I had really did a number on that man.”
Because of his injuries, the man had to be put in an ambulance and taken to the hospital. “I think he was happy when he went in the ambulance because I sent him in the ambulance. Yes, I did,” the powerlifting grandma proudly said.
Despite what happened, Willie said she doesn’t plan on pressing charges. What an amazing woman! We’re glad that Willie was able to protect herself in the face of imminent threat. She is truly an inspiration for keeping her body healthy and fit even in her senior years!
Watch the video below to hear Willie recount the events of that night.