When I was thirteen, I met an angel, named Wayne, two days before Christmas in 1998 following a car accident involving my aunt, my two sisters, and me during our last-minute Christmas shopping expedition to downtown Winnipeg. The traffic on Marion was heavy for a Wednesday afternoon as we travelled westbound towards St. Boniface. My two younger sisters chattered away in the backseat while I watched traffic through the front passenger side window. My eyes flitted suddenly to the back of the white half-ton Chevy in front of us as the truck’s break lights glared back at me like two red eyes. My aunt slammed her foot on the breaks, but the car skidded on the ice, heading straight for the Chevy. She jerked the wheel to the left in an attempt to get traction, but the ice guided the little car over the median into eastbound traffic where we collided with a rusting brown cube van. We felt a jolt and heard the crunch of metal on metal before the impact knocked the car back into the westbound lane as if we were pieces on a crokinole board. The left side of the cube van’s front end crumbled, littering debris all over the road.
Once we regained traction, my aunt turned down a side street and parked. As we went through the preliminaries of checking to see if anyone was hurt, the driver of a silver Ford half-ton, who had been sitting at the stop sign and witnessed the entire accident, reversed until he was beside us. He rolled down his window and asked if we were okay. Then he informed us that the cube van kept on driving as if nothing had happened. He offered to go after the van for us and take down the license plate number. My aunt gratefully consented. After he left, we got out of the car to survey the damage. The left side of the frontend was squished like an accordion up to the tire and a ragged chunk of metal held the tire at knifepoint without puncturing it.
The Ford driver returned a little while later, regretful that he had lost the cube van somewhere down a side street. He took my breath away when he stepped out of his Ford to look at the damage with us. He looked exactly the way an angel should look: his beautiful face rendered powerful by his dominant nose, but softened by his light brown hair falling around his ears. He could have crushed my head in one of his massive hands, but his blue eyes told me that he wouldn’t hurt even the smallest of ants. He stood at a height of at least seven or eight feet, or so it seemed to me with my meagre height of five. I had to limbo just to look up at his gorgeous face, and I couldn’t help but feel that giddy thrill a schoolgirl feels while watching the boy of her dreams walk down the hall towards her.
He introduced himself as Wayne. He and my aunt discussed the damage and the disappeared cube van for several minutes and then exchanged information so she could call on him as a witness, if needed. Before he left, he grabbed the chunk of metal holding the tire at knifepoint with both of his massive hands and bent it upwards to keep it from shredding the tire so we could drive home.
Wayne may not have been a literal angel in the spiritual sense, but he certainly was our Christmas angel. He could have decided to turn onto Marion and keep on driving as if he hadn’t witnessed the accident, but instead, he not only took the time to stop and check on us, he went above and beyond the good Samaritan when he pursued the cube van. His kindness impacted me so much that I still remember this particular event with fondness. I felt especially thankful that Christmas because we all walked away without a scratch, reminding me that not everyone has the same good fortune. I felt God’s presence radiating through Wayne’s gentle face that day and I knew we were being taken care of.
Copyright © 2012, Small-Town Girl at Heart, All Rights Reserved
Originally published in the December 2012 edition of The Carillon
You are not alone.
You. Are. Loved.
I hope you find love, hope and peace in these words.