Tammy Hatley stopped to ask a doctor whether he wanted a refill on his coffee before she continued to the front desk this morning.
It may have saved her life.
An elderly patient arriving for an appointment at Lakewood Chiropractic, 2434 N. Woodlawn, shortly before 10:30 a.m. hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, propelling her car through the wall and into the office.
Five hours later, it happened again — this time an elderly man broke the freshly replaced front window with his car.
"It's been a pretty exciting day," said Tammy Hatley, a chiropractic assistant.
The first crash occurred at 10:22 a.m., authorities said.
Hatley said she had stopped to ask a doctor whether he wanted more coffee, "and then 'Bam!' It was just a big explosion."
"She took out the whole front desk area," Hatley said of the driver. "Two more steps and it would have smashed me."
A receptionist behind the front counter was pushed back by a filing cabinet, but was not seriously injured, Hatley said.
"It was very scary," she said. "I couldn't get through that area to see if she was OK. I just kept calling her name."
While there were patients in the waiting area, Hatley said, none of them were sitting where the car came through.
The driver was not seriously hurt, authorities said.
Chiropractors were still treating patients because none of the treatment rooms were affected, Hatley said. Patients were using the back door.
The hole in front of the building had been boarded off, and a new glass pane installed by early afternoon.
And then it happened again.
The man arriving for an appointment hit the accelerator instead of the brake, jumped the curb and hit the front of the building — breaking the bottom part of the glass.
He was not seriously injured, authorities said.
"It was just scary," Hatley said, "because you just don't expect that."