71: A Divine Truck Driver

71: A Divine Truck Driver

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

A Divine Truck Driver

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

~Eric Honeycutt

“Cutthroat are running! Fishing is great, Dad!” Over the phone, the cheerful voice of our daughter, Katherine, continued. “And Mom… the weather’s perfect for hiking in the park without the tourists buzzing on the trails.”

Later that morning, my husband and I headed northeast on Interstate 80. At Evanston, Wyoming, we swung off the interstate onto Highway 89 toward Jackson, Wyoming and a week with Katherine and her family. The odometer clicked off miles of unfenced land. Bumps and folds of rocky soil sprouted sparse clumps of grasses and fragrant sagebrush. Like lawn ornaments, small herds of pronghorn posed on the slopes. Angus and Hereford cattle grazed in pastures that hugged the occasional ranch town.

“You could paint a great watercolor of this rugged landscape and the hills beyond,” I said.

Grinning, Don tapped his forehead. “I have it right here. It doesn’t need to be on paper.”

Then, like a Tonka toy in the distance, a pickup truck sped toward us. Just before it passed, the driver whipped his truck in front of us.

“Oh God no-ooo!” My foot pressed hard on the brake pedal. Metal against metal crunched. The passenger side of the other truck crushed inward. The driver’s body sprang forward over the steering wheel. His head slammed against the windshield. We wouldn’t know for two weeks that he was working in his garden the next day with only a bump on his head.

I looked at my husband, who was gasping for air, his face contorted with pain. Dear Lord, don’t let him be having a heart attack. I can only move my right arm.

“Honey, breathe with me.” I concentrated on slowing my breathing. Reaching for the CB radio, I turned to channel 9. Dead. We were miles from any town. Antelope were the only nearby residents. I closed my eyes and prayed. Lord, we need your help. A car sped by. I gave a deep sigh. “He didn’t even slow down, Why didn’t he stop?”

“I don’t know, honey. Someone will soon.”

“I wish I could hold your hand.”

“Ditto.”

I didn’t see the eighteen-wheeler pull over to the side of the road. When I opened my eyes, a man was bending down until his face was level with mine. He touched my arm and looked into my eyes. The kindness in his gray/blue eyes was a salve to my fear of no one finding us in time.

“Don’t worry, I’m here.” He undid my seatbelt. “I’ve had some emergency training. I’m going to get a pillow for your neck.” It seemed only a moment before he placed a pillow behind my neck. Then he took hold of my hand. Like the warmth from a blanket, serenity flowed through my body.

“Don?”

“I’m okay, honey.”

“I’ll stay with you until medical help comes.” The man never let go of my hand.

I don’t know how much time passed before the ambulance arrived and two women helped Don out of the passenger’s seat.

“Is he alright?” I asked.

“He’s doing fine.”

“How’s our black Lab, Lady?”

“She’s fine too. We’ll take good care of her.” One of the women climbed into the truck. “I’m going to secure your neck. Then we’ll put you on a board and carry you to the ambulance. You just relax and we’ll have you at the hospital in no time at all.”

The truck driver squeezed my hand and smiled. “You’ll be fine now.”

“Thank you for being here.”

“I’m glad I could help.”

He assisted the EMTs in lifting me onto the board and carrying me to the ambulance. I don’t recall the drive to the Montpelier, Idaho hospital. Later, I was transported by ambulance to another hospital, in Salt Lake City. And then, I felt the loving hands of my daughter, Karen, and her soft voice, “I’m here, Mom.” The caring eyes and gentle voice of an orthopedic doctor offered comfort as well. ICU and… sleep.

I floated in and out of darkness. Five days slipped away before I saw the flowers in my bedroom. Along with Karen, Katherine and her husband were now a part of my family bedside care. How strange to be fed and bathed by the women who were once the children I fed and bathed.

The second week in the hospital, one of the ambulance nurses brought me flowers. “Do you know the truck driver who was with us after the accident?” I asked.

“No. But I’ll check our records and talk with the state police.”

No one could come up with his name, trucking company or a license. My husband and I prayed that we could let this person know what his kindness and spiritual presence had meant to us… especially me. Our son-in-law did research on truck companies using the remote route we were traveling. No success. He even contacted and left a message to broadcast on a western music station the eighteen-wheel drivers might listen to… still no luck.

When I first started walking in the hospital corridor, Karen stood on one side of me, Don on the other. I wore a body and neck brace. I looked up at Don. “I’d give you a hug if your ribs weren’t cracked.”

He grinned. “Hug a tin man? I don’t think so.”

“Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”

“Remember Winnie the Pooh,” Karen said, “If you can’t say something nice…”

“Don’t say anything at all,” we chimed in unison. Laughter carried us back to my room.

My husband and I flew to Jackson, Wyoming for part of our recovery process in our daughter, Katherine’s home. One afternoon, I sat with Don by the window admiring the shadows on the snow-fields of the Tetons. “Do you think our truck driver was one of God’s angels?”

“I don’t know, honey.” Don took my hand. “But I’m sure grateful he was there. Not feeling alone meant more to me than he’ll ever know.”

“I’ll never forget his kind eyes and the peace I felt while he held my hand.”

Thank you, driver, I murmured softly. May you be there for the next person who needs the comfort of your words… “Don’t worry, I’m here.”

~Margaret Hevel

More stories from our partners