I was driving back from Bingo in my neighborhood in Saint Cloud, Florida, like I have every Wednesday night for the last year. It was around eight-thirty and almost dark. I was the third car in line with my blinker on to turn left. When the light changed, I followed the green arrow after the first two cars. As I approached the intersection, I saw a dark figure and heard him yell, “Whoa!” I slammed on my brakes, but it was too late. I heard a crunch and saw a man’s head in front of my passenger-side bumper. What had I done?
I laid my head down on the steering wheel and started sobbing. I glanced up and saw the man, dressed in a black hoodie, scramble out from under the car. He started yelling at me, using words that didn’t exist in my vocabulary. A young Spanish woman opened my door. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I am a nurse, and I am here to help you.” Her voice was soft and calming. “Are you hurt?” she asked.
I shook my head. She handed me a tissue as I continued to bawl. When I looked up, I saw four cars stop in the middle of the busy road, and the drivers ran over to me. One of them, a young man in his twenties came up to the passenger window. “It wasn’t your fault,” he said, “He was weaving in and out of traffic.”
“D-d-did I hit him?” I asked wiping tears from my eyes.
“No, just his bike,” he answered. “Back up a little. You are still on the bike.” I put the gearshift in reverse and slowly took my shaking foot off the brake.”
“Do you want me to move your car?” he asked. I nodded.
The woman with the sweet voice helped me out of the car, and I leaned against a lamppost. Just then the man grabbed his bike, moved toward me, and started yelling. His backpack fell to the sidewalk, and a bottle of booze three-quarters empty rolled out.
“I’m scared. Please don’t let him come near me,” I said to two young men who were standing at the pole with me. They stepped in front of me, and one said, “Don’t worry; we won’t let him come near you. He’s drunk.”
We heard sirens, and the man took off on his bike and headed behind a nearby building.I slid down the lamppost to the ground and put my face in my hands. The woman kneltbeside me. “Can I help you call someone?” she asked.
“I want to call my mother,” I said and pulled out my cell phone. My hands were trembling as I fumbled to dial.
“Please let me,” she said. I handed her my phone and she dialed for me. When my mother answered, I started sobbing and couldn’t talk. She took my phone and spoke with mymother. Sixty-three years old, and I am still calling my mother in an emergency.
The young men helped me to my feet, but I was still shaking. The woman gently held meby the elbow. I was feeling dizzy and closed my eyes for a moment.
I felt a gentle nudge. “Ginny, are you okay?” It was the familiar voice of my mother. She and the woman huddled around me. That’s when the police officer showed up. We watched as he spoke with different people in the crowd that had formed.
Then he walked over to me and asked me what happened. I tried my best to tell him through my tears. “I don’t know,” I sobbed. “I was just turning left with a green arrow, and then I saw a figure and slammed on my brakes.”
“I want you to know this wasn’t your fault,” he said. “I already got the story from eyewitnesses. I am not giving you a ticket.”
The crowd thinned out, and the police officer said I was free to go. I was still shaking, and the sweet Spanish woman offered to drive my car home as I rode with my mother. “No problem,” she said. “My husband can follow us in my car. I promise you it is no burden to us. I just want to make sure you get home safely.” Her serene countenance calmed me down. I handed her the keys, and she hugged me. “You are such an angel,” I said as I hugged her back.
When I got back home, my mother offered to stay with me. “No, I’m okay,” I said. I went in and sat down, replaying the crash over and over again in my head. Then peace swept over me as a Bible verse ran through my mind, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11 (NKJV).
I thought of the sweet Spanish woman with the calm voice, the young man who moved my car, the two men who shielded me from the angry bike rider, my mother, and the police officer. God had sent his angels to watch over me during one of the scariest evenings of my life.
More about Ginny: Ginny is the proud mother of two children and four grandchildren. She lives in St. Cloud, Florida, where she is a volunteer at a food pantry and enjoys reading, sewing, and playing bingo.
*Background photo by Jevon Thorpe from Pixabay.