Guardian on the Road
In the winter of 1985 my mother and I were heading home from work. We were running a little late and the weather was cold and foggy. We knew if we didn't get home soon everyone would start worrying. I was 16 years old at the time. I, being the youngest of 10 children had taken a job at the restaurant where my mom worked to help make a few bucks to get us by. Things were very hard at this time and Christmas was nearing. We were talking about the situation on our way home and speaking of how we should all just be grateful that we are all healthy. And speaking of the fact that there are many other people out there who have much less than we did.
Well the gas tank was nearing empty and we still had almost two weeks to go until payday. We were on our regular route home when rounding one of the sharp curves, there in the midst of the fog stood a slender figure in a long overcoat. This startled us both as we slowed down to a roll. This figure was nearly standing in the road. My mother pulled to the side of the road to my disapproval. She rolled her window down to check if this person was alright. I clenched my fists and started shaking tremendously, thinking of what my father had always said. "Never pick up a stranger." I begged my mom to roll up her window and just continue on, but she insisted that if this person needed help she was going to give it to them. I reached around the back seat and grabbed onto a large flashlight that was on the floorboard. As this figure walked around to my moms side of the car I held it firmly in my hand. The figure was a woman. Tall, slender and quite docile it seemed. I, however would not be fooled by this act. I just knew she was up to something. She started to speak to my mom and to my surprise she spoke German! My mother is from Germany and most of my older siblings speak very fluent German. I could not understand a word they were saying. Yet I still held the flashlight tight! Then my mother rolled the window up a ways and asked me if I would mind giving this woman a ride home. Her ride had apparently not shown and she would be stuck out here if we didn't. I asked my mom why this lady couldn't call someone else. My mom told me that this woman had just moved here from Germany and they had not yet had their phone turned on. I felt this to be very strange and said that I really didn't like the idea of giving her a ride. Mom patted me on the shoulder and said it would be alright. I insisted that I sit in the backseat then, that way I figured that if she pulled something funny I would be able to whack her on the head and take care of any problems. Mom said that would be fine.
The woman got into the front seat with mom and I just watched intently, waiting and waiting. They were jabbering to each other a lot and I was starting to get irritated that I could not pick up even a word of what they were saying. My mom started driving in a direction I was not familiar with. It seemed to me we were getting farther and farther away from our direction of home. Then it dawned on me, the gas! We were almost on empty. I brought this to moms attention and she looked a little disturbed too. She said for me not to worry, she would dig through her pennies if she had to to get us home. Now please remember, this German women spoke no English. Well I was still worried, but I knew mom always took good care of us so I tried to relax.
We drove quite a ways on the freeway then pulled off onto an exit neither of us were familiar with at all. This woman directed her to an area we never knew of. When we finally reached this womans home I was happy to know she would be exiting the car and we could just go home. She stepped out of the car and said something to my mother. Then she started walking up the walkway to the door of her quaint looking home. I said "Lets go mom". But mom told me the woman had asked her to wait to make sure she could get in. This brought back the fear in me and I was sure that now she was going to pull a stunt. I watched as she walked up toward the door, the fog still fairly thick and I was certain that she never even touched the front door! She turned to come back toward us and I gripped the flashlight with all my might as I leaned up toward my mom. She came up to the window and held out her hand. My mom said "No I am just happy to help". She made a motion to insist that mom take what she was giving her. My mom then took it. She closed my mothers fist over what she had given her and said a few words. My mom just held it in her hand. The woman turned and walked back towards the door. We finally drove off and I asked what she had said. My mom said that she had said that we were some very good people and she blessed us. She said that she wasn't sure about taking a ride from strangers but she had no other way. Then she told my mom to get home safely because the fog was bad.
We drove home then finding it easy to find the freeway and talking about this strange happening all the way home. Amazingly not even thinking of our situation of fuel. We made it all the way home and in the front of our house my mom opened up the paper this woman had put into her hands. To her amazement it was 5 one hundred dollar bills! She just started crying. She said she could not take this and that in the light of day she would take this back to the woman. I agreed and felt so shamed that I was thinking this woman was going to try to hurt us. When we got inside the house everyone was in an uproar. There had been a terrible accident on the road we normally went home on. Many cars piled up and many fatalities. We were both shocked. I started crying then realizing that we would have been there at just that time had we not been approached by our "Angel". We looked at each other and begin to tell everyone about our experience.
The next morning as mom said, we headed out to find that womans home to return her "gift". Well you may not believe this but I assure you it is the truth, we could not even find the exit this woman had directed us to. We searched for a couple of hours and still could find no inkling as to where we had been the very night before. We were very quiet on the ride home and emotions ran deep. I know that this was truly our "Guardian On The Road". I believe in angels, and someday I believe I will see her again.