Jerry Scriver was taking out the trash behind his workplace in Dalton, Georgia, when a man approached him speaking Spanish and motioning for money and cigarettes.
But when Scriver said he didn't have any, out came a 12-inch hunting knife.
"He just starts waving it a little bit like what are you going to do kind of," Scriver told WGCL-TV in Atlanta. "I started walking backward trying to diffuse the situation."
But Scriver said he found himself trapped in a corner with no way to escape — and then the man lunged at him, swinging the blade right at his chest.
The blade easily ripped through Scriver's shirt, slicing a hole all the way down to the bottom of his shirt pocket — and the only thing on the victim's mind was how much he wanted to return to his family that night.
And that's when something happened that seemingly shocked his assailant as much as it did Scriver: The knife didn't penetrate any deeper.
It deflected off Scriver's GalaxyS2 cellphone in an Otter Box, WGCL said.
"We both kind of looked at each other for a minute. It was almost like a still photo or something you would see in the movies," Scriver told the station, adding that the words his attacker's face spoke were, "Why are you still standing?"
With that, the suspect headed for the hills — literally — running up a nearby slope into the woods.
Scriver described the suspect as a 5-feet-5-inch tall Hispanic with a tattoo of the number 13 on his neck, WGCL said, adding that he appeared to have glassy eyes and displayed jumpy movements.
While Scriver wasn't seriously injured — just some bruises and scratches on his chest — the psychological effects have been the most taxing, given the nightmares and anxiety he's experienced since Friday's attack.
"We have a lot to live for..." Scriver told the station. "I thank God he was watching over me that day. Sure it was the phone, but there is more than that meets the eye."
(H/T: New York Daily News)