MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- This Thanksgiving eve a Cordova mother is thankful for her life after she says a man burst into her home and held her at gunpoint just minutes before her children made it home from school.
The gunman got away with more than $2,000 the family was saving for a trip to Disney World.
The scary incident happened off Calderdale Cove off North Houston Levee.
The tense moments are tough for Marissa McDaniel to talk about.
"The whole time all I could think about was my family and my children."
McDaniel is sharing her story with the hope to help others.
The terrifying experience late last week, took place in the afternoon, right after school.
It started with a simple knock.
"Like a knock, knock, knock I was thinking it was my son or one of the neighbors," she explained.
Instead it was a stranger, asking if a truck in her driveway was for sale.
A few seconds later she realized his real intentions.
"That's when he pushed me inside my house and I fell on the floor."
Armed with a gun, McDaniel said he asked for money, jewelry and guns.
She gave him her purse.
"He dumped it out on the floor and kinda scrambled through it."
She speaks calmly now but at the time she was afraid for her life.
"He grabbed me by the back of my hair and proceeded to take me to my bedroom. "
There she said he took jewelry and men's cologne. Spotting a safe he tried to get McDaniel to open it.
"He slammed my head on the safe and he said, "You think I'm stupid?' I said, 'I promise I don't know how to open the safe just please take whatever you want I said my son is about to come home.' "
He then went into her five-year-old daughter's room, grabbing a piggy bank, with $2,500 inside saved for a trip to Disney World.
"For someone to take something like that from her that hurts the most," she said through tears.
However seconds later McDaniel said his raid was interrupted when he got a phone call.
" Like crazy just ringing off the hook and that's when he started getting like frantic," she explained.
A few seconds later he ran out the back door.
With her mother by her side Wednesday night, McDaniel is thankful to be alive, she's making security changes to her home and has a message to other homeowners.
" Don't open the door for anyone if you don't know them. "
If you think you know anything you're asked to contact the Shelby County Sheriffs Office.