A Street Angel

snowstorm_0The last few days an unexpected snow storm blew freezing rain, sleet, and snow across the south. In a matter of hours, thousands were stuck on slick roadways, in their offices or the home/business of a stranger. Many angels unveiled their secret wings.  This is just my encounter:

As we made our tedious way along residential back roads yesterday in bumper-to-bumper traffic, trying to get out of town, we encountered a downhill slope ahead. Ahead of us, an African American man gestured and approached the passenger window of the car in front of us. I would like to think that my reaction had more to do with his demeanor and intimidating size than the color of his skin, but I don’t know. All I know is that my first thought was that he was taking advantage of the situation in some way, trying to solicit money, as some people do in congested traffic intersections.

As we watched, however, we realized that he was literally pushing the car as it slid sideways on downhill ice, trying to keep it in the roadway, and had probably been doing that for hours in the bitter cold. His own feet kept slipping, and I caught my breath, because that car could have knocked him down as it slid, but he just grinned and shuffled back to push it again. When the car ahead of us finally made it safely down, a hand with money reached out the window to him. He just laughed and shook his head, filling me with simultaneous pride and shame. It was only one small act of selflessness from an anonymous person in a day filled with such, but I will never forget it.

Do you have an angel encounter story?

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T.K. Thorne is a retired police captain (Birmingham, Alabama), director of City Action Partnership, and an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction.

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About T.K. Thorne

I live on a beautiful mountain and write about whatever moves me while two dogs and a cat vie for my lap. I’m a retired police captain and eclectic writer. I'd love to hear from you!
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3 Responses to A Street Angel

  1. Nolan White says:

    Here in Lower Alabama, a customer I happened to know in a Dollar General store told about weathering the ice storm. She confined her family to one small room during the two days when temps were dangerously low. A space heater was not enough to keep them warm so they huddled together beneath blankets. Late in the month they often survive on bread bought at a discount store–food stamps are used within three weeks.
    The lady’s husband has an old car but it’s not road-worthy. He’s 68 and has a hernia but is paranoid about going to a hospital under what he calls Obamacare. They have a 23-year-old son who is partially disabled from a trampoline accident (pulled muscle). But he’s smart. Despite his pain and insomnia, the son does yard work in the summertime to help his mom & dad. Last summer I shuttled him back and forth to his part-time job because he’s not a licensed driver. His sister is deaf, yet she’s in her second year of veterinarian school in Talladega, Ala. and wants to own her own practice.
    On the morning after the storm, the lady risked walking down an ice-covered lane to an old camper trailer where a very sick friend welcomed her sharing a thermos of coffee. He’s an unemployed construction worker. Ignoring her own toothless condition, she wondered aloud in the store why people shun “poor people like him.”
    I do what my limited resources will allow me to do to help, but I know wealthy people who could help but refuse. Instead, they blame the government for creating dependency on welfare entitlements. If they only knew to what extent the poor are victims of their own fear and lack of hope. And then victimized again by those who are apathetic to their plight.

  2. Nolan White says:

    Teresa,

    Loved your thought-provoking blog this month. I posted an angel story, too. To alleviate cabin fever during the ice storm, I took a short walk but slipped on an icy sidewalk and fell hard on my side. Quick reflexes and the training from a judo class I took years ago kept me from breaking a hip, so I’m okay. I didn’t realize the danger but ice can be treacherous.

    Nolan

    • T.K. Thorne says:

      Indeed, that was an angel story, Nolan. Thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to those people who are so very poor in resources but rich in spirit.

      Didn’t know you were a student of judo. I took Aikido for many years and the art of the fall is very similar. It has saved me a few times from broken bones or worse injuries too. I’m grateful to my body for remembering these things.

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