36: Roadside Assistance

36: Roadside Assistance

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Roadside Assistance

God understands our prayers even when we can’t find the words to say them.

~Author Unknown

It was pouring rain when I left my office for lunch. I’d driven to work on an empty tank of gas that morning, as was often the case on payday. My commute was thirty miles one way. I worked as a secretary for a technical college and payday came once a month. I was a single mom with two children, so stretching my salary out over a whole month was a challenge.

That rainy morning, as I emptied the last box of cereal and drove to work on fumes, my emotions were almost at the breaking point, threatening to keep me from going to work. At all cost, I had to go in to at least get my paycheck.

I was burned out and feeling very insignificant to God. We weren’t starving, and we had clothes to wear and a roof over our heads. I was thankful for my job, but I was exhausted. I just wanted a break from having to count every single penny and having to hope the car would keep running or one of the kids wouldn’t get sick. This particular morning I felt forgotten by God and wondered if He even saw me or knew I existed.

With my paycheck in one hand and an umbrella in the other, I dashed out of the office for my hour-long lunch break. I earnestly prayed that my car would make it to the bank, which was less than a mile away. My next stop would be the gas station next to the bank. This was back in the early 1990s, before the days of direct deposit and debit cards, which meant I had to go to the bank first to deposit my check and get enough cash out to cover gas and other immediate expenses.

The road in front of the building where I worked was a busy four-lane road that I needed to turn left onto. As I waited for the traffic to clear, my stress level rose. I feared my car would sputter out its last drop of gas right in front of the college. Then I’d have to ask for help and my co-workers would find out just how broke I really was.

Finally I was able to pull out and head in the direction of the bank. “Please, please, please just get me there,” I said to myself. I breathed a sigh of relief as the bank came into view. I was going to make it.

There was a sharp right curve in front of the bank where I needed to turn left and cross two lanes before turning into the parking lot. As I approached the sharp right curve and prepared to turn left towards the bank’s parking lot it happened. P-p-p-u-t, p-p-p-t. “No! Not now! Not here!” I pressed my foot on the gas pedal yelling, “Come on, come on!” I turned the steering wheel as I coasted just enough to come out of the sharp curve and into the two oncoming lanes of traffic. Puhthunk. The car completely shut off.

Disbelief and panic took over as I looked straight ahead and saw cars crossing the busy intersection ahead and coming straight towards me. I put the car in neutral, jumped out into the rain and started to push. “God no! Please help me!” I attempted to push with the driver’s door open and my right hand on the steering wheel. The big Oldsmobile didn’t want to budge.

Suddenly through the rain I heard a man yelling, “Get in, get in!” I looked behind me and saw a small, slender man at the rear of my car with his hands on the trunk. He was motioning for me to get in the car, yelling over and over, “Get in, get in!”

I jumped into the car, thinking that this little man who weighed less than I did was not going to be able to push this big, old car with me in it. I had no choice but to do what he said as the oncoming traffic was getting closer and not going to stop. I mentally prepared myself for a serious collision. Suddenly I felt the car move forward. I turned the steering wheel, cleared the two oncoming lanes and coasted safely into the bank parking lot. I even ended up parked straight in a parking space. As relief and gratitude swept over me, I quickly jumped out of the car to thank this man for helping me. He had quite possibly just saved my life and anyone who would have hit me.

I expected him to be right there since he’d just pushed the car into the parking lot. When I didn’t see him, I turned and looked in the other direction. No one was there. I looked across the street in both directions and all around; he was nowhere. The only thing I saw were two lanes of cars whizzing past me.

The whole event seemed to move in slow motion, but transpired so fast I didn’t have time to really think about what had happened. Where did he come from? Where did he go? I was bewildered beyond words and suddenly felt something larger than human intervention had just taken place.

I’ve read that God commands His angels concerning us. I couldn’t reason with myself or explain what happened. I thought that maybe my rescuer didn’t want to get wetter and once he saw I was safe, simply ran off in the other direction to seek shelter. I couldn’t stop thinking about the incident the rest of that day and finally accepted that my small, slender hero was an angel.

God used what happened that day to show me that He was with me, and I wasn’t invisible to Him or forgotten. I felt cared for and protected. It didn’t matter that I had to go back to the office with damp hair and clothes.

Twenty years later, I still remember the fresh touch from God I felt that day. So far, that was the most memorable lunch hour I’ve ever had! I don’t know where that angel is today, but I hope he knows that I’m still telling his story and thanking God for sending him to me that dreary, rainy day.

~Terri Webster

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