Shooting victim thankful for people's help

Monday, November 26, 2001

CHICAGO -- Others who suffered a mugging and shooting on Thanksgiving might find little for which to be thankful. Not Ann Hytros. She's just happy to be alive, and she says she owes it to fellow Americans who stopped to help her.

"I thank God, and I thank the American people," the 56-year-old Polish immigrant and housekeeper said.

The Chicago woman was walking to her housekeeping job in Chicago's River North neighborhood Thursday evening when a man in a brown station wagon pulled up to her and stepped out.

"He walked close to me, in front of me, and he say, 'Give me your purse,' and I say, 'No,'" Hytros said. She ran, and the man shot her. She fell down, then walked half a block before collapsing. The bullet had broken her rib cage and lodged in her chest.

Then, she remembers, "The American people helped me."

She said a man in a car with Indiana license plates stopped with his small son. He helped her to the curb and took her pulse. Another man in a white car chased the station wagon.

She doesn't remember who called the police or ambulance, but it seemed they were there immediately.

Hytros came from Poland with her two sons 16 years ago. She became a U.S. citizen last year.

The mugger got away with $260 from her purse, but not with her love of her adopted country.

"I'm alive because people help me," said Hytros. "I love Americans."

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