83: Road Angel

83: Road Angel

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Road Angel

We are never so lost our angels cannot find us.

~Stephanie Powers

I admit it; I’m directionally challenged. I lack an internal compass and use landmarks for directions. I’m extremely grateful for hightech vehicle navigation systems, as well as those maps and diagrams that have the words: “You are here.”

To feel confident and not worry about getting lost, I’ve always made a few trial runs when required to travel to an unfamiliar destination. That’s exactly what I did when I was summoned for jury duty at the courthouse in the city. The day before I was to appear, my husband showed me the best route for bypassing busy commuter traffic on the freeway. I had no worries about being late for jury duty the following morning.

Driving to the courthouse via an expressway and surface roads, I arrived early enough to purchase a cup of coffee before reporting to the juror waiting room at 8 a.m. The jury pool consisted of 200 people. Waiting for our numbers to be called was difficult. Many of us nervously fidgeted and squirmed in our chairs, or strolled to the back of the room to see what the three vending machines had to offer. Finally, fifty numbers were called for prospective jurors at 10 a.m. At noon, the rest of us were given an hour lunch break and told to report back to the juror waiting room at 1 p.m.

After lunch, I passed the time by reading a paperback mystery novel I’d tucked in my purse for the occasion. At 3 p.m., my number was called and my group of potential jurors were ushered into the courtroom and seated in the jury box. The judge informed us that jurors were being selected for a robbery trial. Since a large embezzlement of funds had occurred at the company I worked for, the prosecutor wanted me to serve on the jury. Needless to say, the defense attorney disagreed and requested that I be dismissed immediately. The judge complied, thanked me for my service and excused me from jury duty for three years. A feeling of disappointment mixed with relief washed over me when I left the courtroom.

But then I thought about my plans for the evening. In less than three hours, my husband and I would join my best friend and her husband for dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant. It had been a while since we’d caught up on each other’s lives.

As I left the parking garage, I turned right onto the surface street behind the courthouse leading to the expressway. To my dismay, I spotted a detour barricade with flashing lights up ahead and a policeman directing me to turn left instead of right. I had no choice but to drive into an area of the city I didn’t know. Even though I didn’t recognize the street signs, I kept driving and hoping I’d recognize a landmark to get my bearings. But I seemed to be driving in circles. I thought I was home free when I pulled into a gas station to ask for directions. Alas, that was not the case.

“Hey, pretty lady, you gotta pay for that information,” a young man taunted after I’d rolled down my window and asked him for directions to the expressway.

Before I could speed away, two cohorts joined him. “Give us your money,” they chanted in unison and began to rock my car back and forth. A jolt of sheer terror rushed through me. I trembled uncontrollably as one of the men raised a tire iron to smash the car window to grab my purse from the passenger seat. The car door was locked, but I realized my negligence in having a purse in full view, which had made me a target.

Suddenly, a large white sport utility vehicle with blinding spotlights and headlights appeared and pulled in behind my car. Fortunately, the three hoodlums scattered. I couldn’t see his face clearly, but my fear subsided as the SUV driver, wearing a white epaulette uniform, approached my car. “Follow me and you’ll find your way home,” he said.

For a moment, I sat there dumbstruck and unable to speak. How did he know that I was lost? And how did he happen upon me at exactly the right time? But I came to my senses when he blinked his headlights to signify he was ready to proceed on our journey. For ten minutes I followed him until I could see the familiar expressway sign in the distance. Then the vehicle disappeared as quickly as it had appeared to save me.

I was thankful for being safe and able to find my way home after such a frightening ordeal. Never had spaghetti tasted so good.

~Georgia A. Hubley

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