Monday afternoon. I get into my 2019 Kia Sorento after staying at work about 15 minutes longer than intended. Typical these days. I’ve been staying later than intended most of the year because I need to play catch up on a variety of things. I feel like I’m always running behind and still can’t stop to catch my breath some days. I always leave the school parking lot and head to pick up my kids at my mom’s house the same way. I go through 32nd street then straight through Avenue L and turn onto the access road to the Interstate. Red light. I’m in the midst of quite a few cars, but I’m the first in my lane. I wait. Green light. I hesitate a moment because I have this habit of waiting for the car next to me to move before I start moving. For some reason I think I may perceive what I’m supposed to do wrong. It’s funny because I’m not at all color-blind. The car to my left starts to inch forward into their turn, so I hit the accelerator and take off. A little more than halfway through, though, and a loud crash hits my ears. My car is hit. Airbags pop out. I scream, “Shoot!” and confess I’m surprised that’s all that escapes my mouth. I put my car in park immediately and take out my keys. I don’t remember doing this, but the keys are in my hand. Here’s where my story really begins.
I do a quick self-check. I’m not really hurt. The airbag hit my thumb, which aches a little, and the seatbelt sort of cut into me. Nothing bad. He came to my car door, which I’d opened. His truck was white and parked upon the median. It wasn’t the car next to me at the light, and I don’t know where it came from. He was Hispanic and wearing a white hooded jacket. He asks, “Are you okay?” I tell him yes, that I wasn’t hurt and could get out of the car. He says, “Okay, let’s get you to sidewalk.” He walks me halfway, and I see my broken car for the first time. Pieces of it are everywhere. He goes out in front of my car and starts directing traffic. Cars move, and all I really see is my own – the first new car we’d ever bought just over a year prior. He comes back over to me to see if I called anyone. I’d already dialed 911 to report the wreck and called my husband to tell him our new car was totaled. My eyes locate the car that hit me. Three people are in it, but it’s pulled up completely across the intersection. I don’t go over to it but instead ask the man if the other people were okay. He says he doesn’t know because he’d only come to me. He goes back to directing traffic, and I watch and wait. Not many seconds after, the first sirens come belonging to a police officer. He asks me if I’m okay and what happened and if I had called someone to come get me. A second set of sirens is over by the other car, and an ambulance pulls up in the middle. I talk to the officer and tell him I think the other person ran a red light because my light was green. A woman who says she was right behind me verifies, and someone else who saw the whole thing does, too. He asks me if there were more than two cars involved, and I say no. He asks about the white truck, and I point to where it was and tell him it wasn’t hit but saw what happened. The only thing is the truck isn’t there. I didn’t see the man leave, but he was in my view the whole time. The truck was there, then it wasn’t. I didn’t see or hear it take off, and I was close to it the whole time. Two of the people in the other car are out, and they use the jaws to get the driver out. They are loaded onto the ambulance, but the officer tells me he believes they are okay and just want to get checked. I myself decline getting checked three times. I get the case number, my mom picks me up, and I get in her car where my kids are waiting.
It takes me a couple of days to fully process what happened. The next day at work is filled with people checking on me, asking questions, and telling me they’re so glad it wasn’t worse. I am, too! It certainly could’ve been worse. I recount the story to my friend, Irene, and leave nothing out. When I get to the part about the white truck just disappearing, she says, “Oh my goodness, what if he was an angel?” My thoughts are interrupted because I go over every detail I can remember about the man who came to me, directed traffic, then mysteriously was gone. I’ve never thought much about angels honestly. I don’t deny their existence or that they’re good. I just don’t think about them. Until now.
Now I find myself thinking about the angel I saw that day often. And I thank God for him. I’ll probably never know if he was actually an angel or a person just like me. My friend, Jacey, says she always thinks angels will be in white, and my angel was. So I tell this story in honor of him because I don’t need proof – just belief. Thank you, Lord, for sending me an angel in a moment when I truly needed him. Forgive my unbelief of the past, and help me to truly see. Amen.
“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it.” –Hebrews 13:2