A Tale of ordinary angels
Saturday morning was a really golden fall day. The air was sweet and cool like apple cider, and it was sunny. It was a pleasant day for a drive home. Chris and I piled in the car, after filling our matching travel mugs with freshly brewed tea, and headed out of town. We were past the outlying town of our college city, when a bolt on the caliper decided to take an impromptu vacation and fall off the literal and proverbial band wagon (a.k.a my mid-sized car). It started making an awful noise, which makes sense since it was the bolt that held part of the bracket for the brakes in place, so I pulled over.
Chris got out the jack and instructed me to look for the bolt. He was concerned and felt partially responsible and annoyed with himself since he had just replaced my brakes a month ago. I was surprisingly unalarmed, and started walking back the way we came on the side of the highway. I tried to not look overly concerned for fear that those passing on the roadway would get the idea that I was fleeing my vehicle and significant other on foot. I smiled to myself and praised God that it was neither raining nor snowing. My toms would not have survived that. I continued on my way. A mile was about how far I walked before somebody stopped. It was this sweet older middle-aged couple. The woman seemed very concerned and said, “Are you okay? Can we give you a ride somewhere, sweetheart?” I told her I was okay- just looking for a bolt from my car, but that my fiance was down the road assessing the situation and that they could stop and ask him how it was going if they’d like. They stopped.
I began walking back to the car, scanning the roadsides and wondering how long it would be before we called friends and had them drive out. It was not looking like we’d make it home today. Before I reached the car, the woman was already walking back toward me.
“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, huh?” I agreed and smiled wryly.
“I’m Rachel.” I said, extending my hand.
She clasped it and responded, “I’m Teresa.”
Her husband was watching as Chris topher examined the wheel well. We would need another bolt to get going. Again, Teresa and her husband offered to give us a ride. They were from the next town, having traveled from the same place we had started. Chris topher told them what we needed and that if they could get us back to town, we could find a bolt and he could get his car.
They didn’t give us a ride back home; they gave us a ride to the outlying town we had just passed, and took us to not one, but two different hardware stores in order to get what we needed. Teresa was so kind, and spent the time we had waiting on the men to wander through the parts section to talk about life, her daughter, their work, and a lot of her life history. I hardly noticed the time passing and enjoyed talking with someone new. I could not believe how caring and unhurried they were. Even though there were plenty of things they could have been doing with their time, they invested a couple of hours in helping others.
Thankfully, it only cost about $10 to get our supplies and get back on the road. Our unexpected good samaritans stayed until they saw we were successfully on our way, and I even exchanged phone numbers with Teresa just in case we needed to get in touch. She insisted that we call if we needed anything else. She even texted the next day.
When Chris topher said goodbye, he thanked them profusely, and I could tell that he was genuinely moved. Our ordinary angels just said, “We believe what goes around comes around and that we would want others to help us when we’re in the same position.”
As we got in the car and drove away, I noticed how contemplative Chris topher was.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, I just really wasn’t expecting that. What they did was incredibly kind.”
“You’ve never had anyone stop and help you like that?”
I had never recognized it before, but I have been extremely blessed in God’s provision of strangers and helpers in my times of need. I thought about the totaled cars I was in with my mother, the should-have-wrecked-but-didn’t situations, and all those times I have dealt with dead batteries or other travel complications. God has simply always always ALWAYS kept an eye on me, particularly in travel. I reflected a moment more, and smiled.
“Then I’m glad you finally got the chance to experience that. Maybe we don’t get to go home today, but I think this day is still well worth it.”