Many people have stories of strangers who seem to materialize out of thin air just when they most need help. And once the strangers have provided the necessary assistance, they disappeared just as suddenly. In fact, this once happened to me.
My story happened many years ago. I was working in a boarding school, and since I lived in a dormitory, I would often take students on shopping trips or outings. This particular weekend, I had promised a group of students that I would take them to see a movie on Saturday evening.
Initially, Saturday was a clear, cold day. However, by the time evening started came around, it was snowing. Hard. The storm was not supposed to be lengthy—only a brief snow shower—but its poor timing could affect our trip.
The four girls I was taking to the movies were keen to get off campus, and I was much more adventurous in my young adulthood. After much back and forth, we decided to set out on the trek to the cinema, knowing that we could always turn around if the roads were bad.
As I drove, the falling snow obscured my vision and ensured I maintained a crawling pace. The roads were covered in a deepening layer of snow, but I inched along. Few other cars were on the roads, and the only light was that of my own headlights as we continued on our journey.
We were nearing the intersection of the main road (which I knew would be clear) when my slow-moving vehicle hit a patch of ice and for a brief second, the car would not do anything I wanted it to do. I tapped the brakes and turned the wheel, but the car’s momentum took it in a direction I did not want to go. The car swerved off the side of the road and continued into a small ditch where we came to a stop with a jolt.
I took a deep breath. “Everyone okay?” I asked, as I ran through the list of possible ways out of this mess. Back then, there were no cell phones, so calling for help was not an option. No doubt, there would be some walking involved on this very snowing, rather dark night, and I had the sudden realization that sneakers might not have been the best choice of footwear on a snowy night.
I said a silent prayer, and in the rear view mirror, I saw the headlights of a passing car, the first I had seen for several miles. The car slowed and stopped. Several young men got out and approached my vehicle. I rolled down the window and in the rearview mirror, I caught a glimpse of the surprised expressions of the girls in the backseat as they looked at each other.
“You need some help?” one of the young men asked.
“I guess I kinda do,” I replied, as I put the car in reverse. The young men surrounded my vehicle, and I pressed the gas pedal as they pushed it up and out of the ditch. In just a few seconds, the car was freed from the ditch and back on the road. The young men ran back to their car.
“Thank you!!” I hollered after them out my still open window. Their car passed me and disappeared in the still falling snow. I closed the window and continued the slow trek to the main road.
The teenage girls in my car were amazed. “How did you do that?” one of them asked. “No sooner did you go off the road then a whole car full of cute guys arrived to push us out!”
Indeed, one could say we were very lucky that night. But I’d like to think there was a bit more to it than luck. Divine intervention or no, that night showed me the amazing way our lives all work together for the greater good.