27: My Lucky Day

27: My Lucky Day

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

My Lucky Day

Angels are never too distant to hear you.

~Author Unknown

After work one day I stopped at the gas station down the street from where I lived to fill up. It was an unusually cold day for March, with a breeze blowing and a thin layer of frozen snow on the ground.

After filling my tank I went inside to pay the cashier. She was a very cordial woman who struck up a conversation about the weather. We talked about how cold it seemed for that time of year while she took my money and gave me change.

I mentioned to her that I needed to wash my car when the weather got better. She excitedly told me, “This is your lucky day! We have a car wash special with a gas fill up and you can get the full wash package, regularly $8, for only a buck.”

“That’s a great deal,” I replied. “But my luck hasn’t been so hot lately so I probably should wait for it to get warmer.”

The clerk kept pushing the wash until I finally paid her the dollar and said, “Okay, you sold me!”

The car wash was located behind the station, not attached to the main building. I got in my car and drove around to the entrance, punched in the code the cashier had given me and waited for the big metal door to open.

At first it seemed stuck, like it was frozen, but then a large metal chain attached to the bottom of the door slowly moved and pulled up the door. How spooky. It reminded me of a haunted house I’d visited as a kid.

Once I was inside the wash, the water swished and swirled around the car while pink and blue soap bubbles slid down the hood of my car and slipped away into the drain.

I felt more at ease and turned on the radio while I waited for the wash to end. Because I had the full package with seven cycles—tires and wheels, underbelly, wash, wax, rinse, spot-free rinse and blow dry — it seemed to be taking an awfully long time.

Eventually the wash reached the dry cycle and shut off when it finished. However, my sense of relief slipped away as I waited and waited and nothing happened. The metal door remained closed and, like a tomb, I was sealed inside.

This couldn’t be happening.

After a few more minutes of silence, the lights dimmed, making the wash seem even creepier than before. I still had my car engine running, but something told me I’d better shut it off before carbon monoxide started to build up and suffocate me.

With my hand shaking, I turned off the ignition and fought back my panic. I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing; I had to do something. So I turned on the headlights to get a better look at my situation.

I got out of the car and searched for an exit door or a panic button that would manually open the door, or a phone on the wall to call someone for help since I didn’t have a cell phone with me.

My search turned up nothing and I began to lose hope. I could see the headlines in the newspaper the next morning (or when they found my body): “Woman Found Dead in a Car Wash.”

Images of my funeral popped into my head and I could imagine the grief-stricken faces of my family and friends at my funeral.

“This is not my lucky day!” I screamed out, hoping someone would hear me.

I got back inside my car and did the only thing I knew how to do; I prayed. I grew up believing in miracles and if ever I needed one it was now. A strange sense of peace came over me. Then suddenly I saw a bright light at the back of the wash. Glancing in my rear view mirror, I saw a man standing in the light.

In a matter of seconds the door lifted and I was free! I jumped into action, turned on the car, hit the gas pedal and sped out of the wash. I didn’t slow down or look back to see if the man was still standing there because I was so happy to be going home.

More than a week passed before it dawned on me that I should go back to the gas station and thank the employee who had saved my life. When I did stop at the station, the same clerk who had sold me the car wash ticket was working.

She recognized me and said, “I owe you a dollar. I feel really bad for selling you that bum ticket because I didn’t know that old bucket of bolts was broken down until my manager told me about it the next day.”

When I told her I’d gotten stuck in there she said, “Honey, that isn’t possible. The manager told me that old chain finally snapped a few weeks ago and there’s no way it could have opened.”

“Yes, I was trapped inside,” I insisted. “What about the man who works here that saved me? Is he around so I can thank him?” I also hoped this guy could back up my story.

“Sweetie,” she said looking a bit sorry for me. “We haven’t had any male employees here for months. I don’t know what to tell you.”

None of it made any sense! I walked out of the station in a daze with only one answer: God had answered my prayer and sent an angel to rescue me. It must have been my lucky day after all.

~Leona Campbell

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