33: Angel with a Silver Belt Buckle

33: Angel with a Silver Belt Buckle

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Angel with a Silver Belt Buckle

The wings of angels are often found on the backs of the least likely people.

~Eric Honeycutt

I was riding in a car full of giggling, gossiping girls. It was a scorching hot July morning, the kind where the air sits on you like a heavy blanket. My friend’s Oldsmobile was wheezing down the highway as usual, but the oppressive heat made “Gurtie the car” struggle. We had just crossed the border from Illinois into Wisconsin. Gurtie was giving the “take me out Coach” signal, but we were distracted by all the signs for cheese. Gurtie did not want to go on our annual canoe trip this year. She didn’t care that we had been planning it since January. She decided to give up the fight.

We first lost control of the ability to accelerate and knew we had to pull over. It was one of those moments when time seemed to slow.

Nicole was able to pull the car over to the right shoulder before it totally died. All five girls piled out of the car to take a look under the hood. It was laughable, almost like it was scripted. You couldn’t get a better scene of people pretending to know what they were doing. Nicole, familiar with Gurtie’s temperament, grabbed a gallon of water from the trunk—she seemed to think the car was just overheating. It was at that moment that I suddenly felt compelled to bend down and tie my shoe.

Down at that level, I glanced under the car and noticed that Gurtie was actually on fire!

Flames licked upwards from the ground and the car’s engine started to catch fire. I yelled to all of my friends, “The car is on fire!!” Nicole ran and attempted to get inside the car and move it. She thought that if she moved the car it would no longer be on fire. Kathryn grabbed Nicole’s arm, trying to persuade her that the car was in fact on fire. Jenny hadn’t moved or said one word—she froze in place watching it all unfold. And I was already way down the highway. I’d seen a lot of action movies—I wasn’t waiting for the explosion. I ran far down the highway with my friend Sandy. I actually picked her up and carried her down the highway with me.

Nicole, Kathryn and Jenny were in serious danger at this point. Flames and smoke poured out from both sides of the hood. I remember saying, “Oh my God, Oh my God, someone please help.” Not that a teenager saying “Oh my God” is anything new, they tend to say it every other sentence. But this time I was actually saying, “Oh my God, please help.”

That was when God sent an angel to take care of us. I watched the orange semi-truck pull over on the southbound shoulder. The driver jumped out of his rig and crossed the road. He jumped the median, bobbing and weaving through the northbound traffic, and delivered a fire extinguisher.

He wasn’t dressed in a superhero costume or flecked with gallant bits of gold. He wore a pair of cowboy boots and had a silver belt buckle. But he was definitely our guardian angel. God sent him to run across eight lanes of highway during the morning rush hour, and dive under the car to put out the flames.

After the fire was out, he wiped himself off and simply said. “Okay, be careful ladies.” He saw that a car in our caravan had caught up to us and that we had people to help us. He gave us a wave and then ran back across the highway. We yelled thank you to him, but I doubt he heard us.

We would later be told by the insurance company that we were indeed very lucky that the car didn’t explode and injure my friends standing next to it. God was there that day. God sent an angel.

~Kristen Margetson

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