Sept. 3, 2010 -- Bethany Storro doesn't normally wear sunglasses. She said she just doesn't like them.
But for some reason the 28-year-old had the impulse to buy some shades Monday. It was a decision that may have saved her eyesight.
Not 20 minutes after that spontaneous purchase a complete stranger attacked her with a cup of acid.
"A woman approached her and said, 'Hey pretty girl,' and she turned around and she asked if she wanted something to drink and my daughter said, 'No,'" Storro's mother, Nancy Neuwelt told reporters.
The attacker then threw a cup of liquid into Storro's face.
"Once it hit me, I could hear bubbling and sizzling in my skin," Storro said from the hospital, her face covered in bandages.
The seemingly random attack took place in broad daylight, just outside a coffee shop in Vancouver, Wash.
"When I first saw her, [the attacker] had this weirdness about her. Like jealousy, rage," Storro said.
After the attack, Storro was rushed to surgery at Legacy Emanuel Hospital and underwent surgery.
"Who wakes up in the morning and says, 'I'm going to burn somebody's face?'" Neuwelt said. "It is pretty bizarre, but hopefully they catch her because I don't want this to happen to anybody else."
Despite feeling what she described as the greatest pain of her life, Storro said she will eventually forgive her attacker.
"Because if I don't it's hard to move on," she said. "God is watching over me. … I believe in him. That his hands are on me and I can't live the rest of my life like that – in fear. I can't let what she did to me wreck me life.
"I have an amazing family and friends that love me and I'm blessed," she added.
Later Thursday police released a sketch of the attacker, describing her as an African-American with slicked-back hair pulled into a ponytail.
Not the First Acid Attack
British model Katie Piper had a look and a life that foretold a seemingly bright future. But the 24-year-old's dreams were destroyed when a stranger threw sulfuric acid in her face on a London street in March 2008.
The random attack left Piper horribly disfigured and sent her into a whirlwind of reconstructive surgeries.
"I remember I had no eyelids and it was just the actual eyeballs round -- all exposed, and...[I] had no nose," Piper told ABC News in January. "It was just...it was so difficult, so alien."
"She looked at [her face] and burst into tears," said her father, David Piper. "And she looked at me and said, 'It's not me. It's not the face I was born with.'"
In shock, Piper asked for a moment alone before the ride to her family's home in Andover, England.
"I was alone in the room. And I was praying and I was talking to God and I knew God had a plan for me, I knew he was taking me on a journey," she said. "And I decided how hard it was going to get, I was going to keep on that journey."
Piper's road to recovery was long and filled with many more trips to the hospital. At home, she was forced to wear a plastic mask 23 hours a day to help her wounds heal.
The attack had stolen her identity and crushed her spirit. "I've never been like this where there's no point in waking up," she said.
Piper's mother, Diane Piper, quit her job to focus on her daughter's care.
"I thought, 'Well, I'll have to give up work. Kate won't want to go anywhere. She won't want to be seen by anybody. She'll become a recluse. I will give up my life; I will stay at home with her,' And that was the future. An empty future," she said.
But even after a marathon of reconstructive surgeries and Piper settled in at home, the fear did not wear off. She was terrified of anyone approaching the house. Even the doorbell was immobilizing.
"It was like having a child again, instead of having a woman," her father said. "If somebody dropped a tray, she would nearly come off the bed. ...She was so frightened of men, generally, and just anything that was scary. And she had terrible days of, you know, hallucinations."
Eighteen months after the incident, the former self-described "party girl" decided to throw a party for those who were a part of her terrible but triumphant journey.
"I'd accepted that this was me. This was my new, beautiful face," she said. "I'd had a lot of help from the people that really mattered. I wanted to thank them in a way that I could ... and I knew it would mean a lot to those people to see me enjoying myself and out. I think that was a reward to them and to me as well."
ABC News' Justin Sturken, Jessica Horning and Lauren Sher contributed to this report.