The Real Story: Ashley Smith and “Captive,” Based on Her Life

Posted on August 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Ashley Smith made headlines when she touched the heart of the man who took her captive by reading to him from Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. Her own book is Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero. And her story has now been turned into a movie starring Kate Mara and David Oyelowo. We are very pleased to have an exclusive clip of the real Ashley Smith with Rick Warren that is shown during the credits of the film.

And here is an excerpt from the book, used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

“I could remember thinking to myself at some point that morning, after I made it out of the apartment, “God, what did I do to make you save me?” I was like, “I can’t believe I really made it.” When Brian Nichols first came through that door that night, I thought my life was done. I just knew God was about to take me home. He was taking me home because of my mistakes. That’s what I thought. I had made too many mistakes to count, and God was through playing. It was just over.

And then to walk out the door that morning? I knew I might have been the only person Brian Nichols had come into contact with and not killed. He had shot those people at the courthouse, and the agent. He had admitted to me right here in this apartment that he had killed that man. Brian Nichols could have done whatever he wanted to me. But he didn’t hurt me. He hardly touched me. I mean, he taped me up. He carried me into this bathroom right here. I put a Band-Aid on his finger at the kitchen sink. But that was about all there was for contact.

And yet, at the beginning he was pointing that gun in my face and all I could think was, “He’s going to pull that trigger. He’s crazy, and he’s about to lose it and pull that trigger. God’s taking me home.” Just what did I do, God—to make you save me?

I glanced over at the bathroom counter again and saw that the last line of ice was gone now. Maybe the FBI got it—I hadn’t let law enforcement know about it yet. Maybe Brian did something with it before he surrendered. I didn’t know. I was just glad I could stand here with these people and know that I didn’t do it. I didn’t do those drugs. And God was proud of me for that. Even right now I could feel him smiling down on me and saying, “Good job, Ashley.”

Related Tags:


Spiritual films Trailers, Previews, and Clips
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik