Something happened yesterday and I want to tell about it. I went to meet some friends for dinner – a dinner I didn’t really have time for so I was waffling about going at all and ended up getting there very late. I had to order takeout because by then everyone was finishing up.
On the way home I passed a car on the side of the freeway. A man was standing in back of it waving his arms frantically at the cars whizzing by. I passed him so fast there wasn’t anywhere to stop. I wondered if anyone else would stop for him, but figured they would. Besides, it could have been a scam. I was alone, it was a dark, cold night, and what was I going to do with him if I did stop? I’m no mechanic.
I drove on, looking in my rearview mirror and seeing that no one else had pulled over. It was in the mid-thirties, cold and dank. I wished him the best.
But something nagged me, and I decided to go up the freeway to the next exit, which was a few miles away, turn around, and go back and make sure he’d gotten a ride.
That takeout was wafting up from the seat beside me. I scarfed a couple of French fries, but I knew this detour was going to make the meal all cold and gooey. Still I pressed on and prayed, as I headed back in the other direction, that he had gotten a ride and someone else had dealt with the problem.
I circled back and drove very slowly past the car – slowly meaning around 45 because big semi’s were thrusting by me, pushing my little car sideways like it was a bug someone was blowing across a table. Thank goodness, I said out loud, he wasn’t in the car. Someone had saved him. Yippee!
I could see a ramp leading off to the side as I accelerated back up to speed, and in the black night somehow I saw the silouhette of a man pulling a suitcase. By the time I got stopped on the shoulder, I was a quarter mile down the freeway. There wasn’t anything to do but back up, which I did in absolute terror because the shoulder was narrow with a steep bank on the side, and any little play in my steering wheel would have made me a pancake on the front grill of a semi.
I arrived next to him and yelled out, “Do you need any help?” Of course he couldn’t hear me from up there with all that racket, so he started down the bank. As he got closer I saw he was wearing a thin leather jacket and had a sweater wrapped around his hands. When he was closer I yelled again. “Yes, I need help. I’m about frozen to death.”
I told him to get in the car and cranked up the heater while he explained that his car had broken down and his daughter was coming to get him but he was trying to find somewhere warm because he was frozen through. I offered to take him home but he just wanted a warm building to wait for her. A few exits down was a McDonalds, so I said I’d take him there. He tried to call his daughter on his cell phone to tell her where he’d be, but his hands were shaking so much that at first he couldn’t dial the numbers.
“You saved my life,” he said, several times. “I would have frozen to death out there. I had to start walking but I couldn’t even see any lights where I was.”
I took him to McDonalds and he thanked me profusely and assured me his daughter would be there in a couple of minutes.
This story isn’t funny (what do you mean neither are all the rest of them!!). But I’m telling it because it made such an impression on me. Not that I did a kind deed, because if it had been up to me I would have been smackin’ on takeout a half hour sooner with no remorse. But I felt compelled to turn around, and when I think about not wanting to go out in the cold for dinner but deciding to go anyway at the last minute, and choosing that route home instead of the other one, and glancing up at the ramp and barely seeing a human in the black night, well all I can say is, anyone else would be an idiot to do what I did. Let a strange man in my car out in the middle of nowhere and haul him around? If my daughter did that I would have smacked her up side the head.
But I did it, planning my escape the whole time, “If he pulls a knife, I’ll do this, and if he grabs me, I’ll do this, and if he hits me I’ll do this, and if he tells me to pull over, I’ll do this.” Scoff if you must, but I believe I was being guided by an angel, and since I’ve had good experience with angels many times before, I don’t doubt them one bit.
And guess what else? My daughter and I are going on a road trip tomorrow to see the Ducks play in the Rose Bowl!!! GO DUCKS!!!!!!
And guess what else? There’s three inches of snow that fell this evening outside and it’s beautiful. We made snow cream – snow + milk + sugar + vanilla, tastes fantastic! And tomorrow night I’ll be in Pasadena.
Here’s a great video to paste in your browser about the DUCKS!!!! Woo-hoo!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eucA0aElOAQ&feature=rec-LGOUT-farside_rn-2r-6-HM I smell roses….
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