Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Angel on a Bridge

Years ago, before everyone had a cell phone, I ran out of gas on the Throgs Neck Bridge, twelve miles from New York City.

As my car lost all its power, the steering wheel locked and we rolled to a stop in the right lane, just after the curve. From this position, oncoming motorists couldn’t see us until they were 50 ft. away. Approaching at 60 mph, they swerved around us, brakes screeching. Several shouted rude remarks, shaking their fists.

I could make excuses: It was Thanksgiving and we were running late. I had a terrible cold. My two-year-old daughter had been screaming on and off for two hours, upsetting her four-year-old brother and distracting me. Exhausted, overwhelmed, I’d missed the red fuel light on my dashboard. Still, it hardly mattered why we were stuck—I had to do something to protect my children, and my car, from being hit.

My son was fast asleep. Pulling my wailing daughter from her car seat, I set her on my hip and walked behind the car. There, I began flapping my free arm like a broken windmill, warning approaching motorists away.

Suspended high above the choppy Long Island Sound in high November winds, the guardrail only up to my thigh, Katie and I could easily have been blown right off the bridge!

Holding her tighter, I shuddered: God help us! I prayed.

A moment later, a small red fire truck pulled up before me, lights flashing. As it parked protectively behind my car, a Boar’s Head delivery truck pulled in front of us. Provisions, read the sign, painted on its side. Sandwiched between them, we were saved!

“I almost hit you," the driver of the fire truck said. ”I was looking down changing the radio stations and wham! There you were! Walking down the road with this baby in your arms. What a picture! I knew I'd better stop before someone else, not as careful as me, hit you.”

The other driver approached more quietly. “Ran out of gas?” he asked, and sensing my embarrassment, he added, "No shame in that. Happened to me once.”

“Really?” I asked, feeling a good deal less ridiculous.

I put Katie back in the car and the two men found the bridge’s emergency phone, and called for a tow truck.

Then, “The tow truck is going to push you off the bridge," the Boar's Head driver explained. "Turn off on the Clearview and pull over first chance you get. I’ll drive ahead and get you some gas.”

“Bless you, thank you,” I said. The tow driver came, barking instructions, "Put it in neutral, stay off the brakes," and BANG! we were off. He pushed, I steered, doing some of the deep breathing I'd been saving for emergencies, and we made our bumpy, jerky way down the exit ramp where I pulled into a grassy embankment at the side of the highway and stopped.

But… "You idiot!!!" the tow truck driver came running from behind. "You had an angel meeting you, you didn't listen"

"What? I don’t…”

"That guy, he was meeting you at the Clearview, the Clearview," he shouted, face red. "This is the Cross Island!" Storming back to his truck, he left us there.

I cried for a while. Then, I put a blanket around Max’s shoulders and wrapped Katie inside my jacket. We began to walk. I could see some stores about a quarter mile away, behind the embankment. Maybe I could get something warm for the children to eat. We could go to the bathroom. Maybe they’d let me use the phone...

“Mommy,” Max asked. “Who's that man by our car?" I turned and... there he was-the driver of the Boar’s Head truck, already putting gas in our tank.

When I tell this story, I usually leave out the part where he lifted one end of my car and shook it, to make the gas run into the lines. It seems so outlandish – even I’m unsure sometimes if that really happened. I skip ahead to the part when my car was turned on, the engine humming, the heat warming my children's hands and I turned to thank our rescuer.

“Let me pay you for the gas,” I said, holding up a twenty, all the money I had. “Let me buy you dinner.”

He smiled. And I noticed, for the first time, his beautiful eyes. “You keep it, Ma’am,” he said. “You go home and live a good life and raise these kids and that will be thanks enough for me.”

“But,” I stuttered. “I want to do something to thank you… at least, tell me your boss’s name, I'll send a letter."

"My boss knows how sweet I am," he said. "Go on home."

As he walked away, I scribbled down the name of his company and the phone number painted on the side of his truck. Then, I put my car into gear and drove my children to their grandparents’ house. All the way there, I composed the letter in my head. I imagined the gift I’d send: An American Express gift certificate, tickets to a show…

But when I called the number I’d carefully copied into my journal, it was out of service. When I phoned the Boar’s Head company they told me there was no distributor in the town that had been painted on the side of that truck, no driver on record with his name.

Then, I didn’t know how to explain it. But I do now: He was an incarnated angel, sent, in a truck marked Provisions, to rescue two children and a frazzled mom from the top of a bridge, and to remind us: You are never alone.

- - - - - -- -

This is the first of many stories in my new book, Sea of Miracles. If you'd like to be put on the mailing list for the book's release, please send me an email: oscaramyr@aol.com. The book should be finished in early January.

If you have an angel story you'd like to share with me, I'd love to hear it. You can send it by email or post it on my FB page, where I'm collecting stories for this, and future books.

10 comments:

Dwayne said...

About a Month ago I was driving a friends car. Going down the road at 60 mph three deer ran out in front of me. I appeared to have hit one. I seen the deer come up over the vehicle. My nephew was behind me and my daughter was in the passenger seat. My daughter said to me, daddy did you see that dear fly? I pulled over and got out of the car to see how much damage was done to the car. Not a scratch on it anywhere. My nephew that was behind me was shocked. He said all he seen was the three deer run out in front of me. Said the first one looked like it just jumped into the air, did a few flips and landed on its feet. It walked away with the other two. My daughter says it never touched the car, but deer are not circus stars and don't do flips in the air. Something moved him from my path. I have looked at that vehicle every day since then trying to find some evidence that I hit that deer to make it flip. There is none.

I'm a story alchemist... said...

No, deer are not circus stars - though I have seen one jump over my daughter's head when she was four!

I interpret experiences like yours as if they were dreams. Deer ARE powerful dream messengers, often delivering messages about gentleness, patience and family. The significance of there being three deer, when you were three humans in the car, is the first significant feature of your story. The next one can be found in the classic "dream" meaning of a deer appearance.

Essentially, I'd interpret your experience as a message: Your family may feel as if it's topsy turvy right now but rest assured, you will land on your feet, unscathed.

I've included a link, to some more information about deer as a symbol, if you'd like to follow up: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism-deer.html

Thank you so much for your story!

MarjnHomer said...

oh wow..amazing story

Writergrrl said...

I love this! I am glad I 'found' you on Twitter and allowed the connection between you and (a woman I feel is an angel) Sally_G. Looking forward to helping spread the word about Sea of Miracles and Spirited Writers Collective...

I'm a story alchemist... said...

I'm thrilled you found me! Thanks for the comment and for Sally_G! She's wonderful - supportive and helpful and interesting. Love her work, too.

wholly jeanne said...

now, this is the kind of story that restores my faith in human beings and makes me want to be a better one. great story - perfect way to start my day. look forward to our paths crossing again.

Michelle Mangen said...

Amy - what a beautiful story. So touching. I can't wait to know when your book is released!

@mmangen

james.pyles said...

I was just talking to some people the other day about how angels don't often leave their names. More than any other point in your rendition, this told me that it really happened.

Julie said...

and all this time, I thought I'd heard the whole story, long ago...

how sweet to hear the missing bit

Happy New Year, you

Julie said...

and all this time, I thought I'd heard the whole story, long ago...

how sweet to hear the missing bit

Happy New Year, you