ROADSIDE RESCUE

ROADSIDE RESCUE

From Chicken Soup for the Father & Daughter Soul

Roadside Rescue

The guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down on us.

Jean Paul Richter

It’s a good thing the summer wedding was beautiful, because the rest of the day was nothing but problems. My friend John and I had borrowed Dad’s car to attend the wedding of our college friend 150 miles away. Shortly after our venture began, John discovered he had forgotten his wallet at home. Later, at the restaurant, I realized I had left my driver’s license in the jeans I’d worn the night before. Then, on the way home, John got really sick. He took out his contacts and slumped in the seat next to me, holding his stomach and looking pale.

That’s when the car died at the side of the interstate. Over and over again, I turned the key, pumped the accelerator and rocked with the sound of the groaning engine.

“Where’s my guardian angel when I need her?” I moaned. Dad had recently shared with Mom and me two books he had received on angels working in our lives. Each of the stories was fascinating and believable. I always knew I had a guardian angel, yet questioned if I had ever personally experienced it.

“It’s seven o’clock,” John said, squinting at his watch. “We’d better walk back to that gas station before it closes.”

So I led my visually impaired, nauseated friend down the shoulder of the highway. It was hard to tell if he was sweating from the ninety-six-degree heat or from his fever. My white high heels clicked on the pavement, and the strand of imitation pearls clung to my neck as we trudged along the roadside.

I called Dad from the gas station and listened to his mechanic’s advice. If his suggestions didn’t work, I’d have to call a tow truck.

“It’s 7:15,” Mom said into the speaker phone. “If you aren’t back on the road in one hour, call again so we know how you’re doing.” She tried not to worry about me now that I was in college, but at times like these, I knew she couldn’t help it.

John and I plodded back down the scorching pavement to the car and tried Dad’s long-distance advice. The car coughed and choked, but refused to start.

I draped myself over the steering wheel. “What if no one stops to help us?”

“What if someone does?” John worried out loud. He propped his aching head on the dashboard while we swapped tales of horrible crimes along the highway.

At 7:50, we admitted our defeat and traipsed across the highway to walk back to the gas station. Just then, a white, dilapidated station wagon sputtered to a stop in front of our car. I could see the two male occupants through the missing rear window. The driver’s long, stringy hair touched the shoulders of his ragged shirt. As we stood across the road from them, John and I agreed they looked pretty rough.

“And we look pretty rich,” John said, motioning to our wedding attire. “Think they’ll believe we’re poor college students?”

“Need some help?” the driver hollered. His smile leered through his scraggly beard. “I know some ’bout cars.” As we headed back across the interstate, we could see the sleeves had been torn from the denim jacket he was wearing. His tall, leather moccasins had fringe hanging just beneath the knees of his holey blue jeans.

“I always knew my guardian angel would be unique,” I teased in a whisper. “Maybe he will help us.”

“Or rob us,” John cautioned as we crossed the highway.

A second unshaven man silently exited the car. I thanked them both for stopping and, with trembling hands, released the hood, hoping I wasn’t making a big mistake in letting them help us.

The driver bent over the car engine. I read the back of his worn jacket: Christian Motorcycle Association. John and I beamed at each other. I nodded and winked—and breathed a sigh of relief.

Within minutes, the car was running, and the four of us stood together smiling and shaking hands. John and I each offered them the only money we had with us—five dollars each, some of it in change. They accepted it gratefully saying it was more than they’d had in a long time.

I drove home, collapsed in the chair and recounted my “guardian angel” story to my parents.

Mom’s face was serious. “What time did they stop?”

I thought for a minute. “About ten ’til eight.”

She smiled at Dad. “I looked at my watch at 7:50 and said to Dad, ‘Let’s pray an angel stops to help her.’”

Dad said, “That’s when I sent you mine.”

Christie Rogers

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