When I was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, I used to drive up to my parents’ house in Mississippi just about every weekend. Just me and my then 6 month-old-daughter, in the car, cruising… I loved those drives because I’d pump up the music real loud and sing to the top of my lungs. Anyway, this particular weekend, I had driven up to Mississippi to pick up my new-to-me car (a custom painted 1985 Pontiac Fiero, thank you very much). I loved that car and still have an affinity for Fieros. For whatever reason, the car wasn’t ready for me to drive home, so I borrowed my sister’s car and began the drive home at about 10:30 or 11 PM (stupid to be driving by myself with an infant that late at night, I know -and remember this was 1993, before everyone had cell phones).
About half way onto one of the loneliest parts of the I~10 stretch between Mississippi and Louisiana, the car broke down. Right there on the side of the road. It just died. Now let me set up the picture for you: it was about 1 something in the morning, and on the right side there were nothing but trees, then a two-lane one-way road, a divisor with more trees, then another two~lane one-way road with trees on the other side. Very few streetlights anywhere.
I sat in my car staring at my daughter for what felt like hours, but was really only half an hour. I wasn’t sure what I should do: should I get out of the car and walk along the side of the road until I reached a gas stop or sit in the car and wait for daylight? The whole time I was sitting there, I never saw a car pass me and, quite honestly, I was scared.
I decided to risk it and walk. So I gathered my daughter, her diaper bag, my wallet and a flashlight and started walking. A few steps in, a trucker pulled up behind me and stopped (I kept right on walking, fully aware of the rig behind me, but I figured if he was gonna kill me, he was gonna have to catch me first). I heard a male voice yell: “Excuse me! Miss! Excuse me! Someone told me there was a lady walking with a baby on the side of the road who needed help!” I stopped dead in my tracks. I hadn’t seen a vehicle pass me while I was walking, how could this be? And the other side of the road was blocked by trees…
I slowly turned around and saw a man standing a few steps in front of his rig, his arms raised up to the sky like he was being held up by someone with a gun. “Please, get in the truck. I don’t want anything to happen to you and the baby. I’ll take you to the truck stop so you can call someone.” I stood there staring, not sure if I should get in the rig, run or just stand there.
I decided to put my faith in Him and get in the rig, but as I did, I silently prayed: “Please, God, if this man is dangerous or planning to kill me, let him leave my baby alone or take us both out at the same time. Amen.” I sat so tight up against that door, I felt like I had the imprint of the handle in my side for weeks.
Anyway, the trucker and I road in silence to the truck stop where I darn near broke the door trying to get out of the rig. Inside, the trucker handed a waitress a wad of bills and said “Bring the baby some oatmeal and get her a soup and sandwich, keep the change for yourself.” He looked at me, “Call someone to come and get you.” What? I had pretty much assumed this man was hanging bodies in the back of his rig and now he was buying me food and over tipping the waitress?
I called family members and a couple of long-time friends and they all said they couldn’t come and get me. Yeah, seriously. Let’s just say the friends and I no longer speak and it took me years to forgive the family members. I ended up calling the man who would later become my husband to come and get me and he arrived in no time flat.
I have to break in the story to tell you that I’d had a date with the hubs-to-be scheduled for that very weekend and I stood him up. I didn’t call to cancel, didn’t let him know I was going out of town or anything… I was just flat out rude but oh so excited about getting my car. So when I called him, I was fully expecting him to tell me to go pound sand, instead, he got clear directions to my location, left his job and came to pick me up. Not only did he come and get me but he gave me the keys to his truck so I could have transportation until my car was fixed.
After making sure that someone was coming to get me, the trucker sat at the end of the counter and waited. I walked over and asked him his name and he refused to give it to me. I said “thank you” and he simply nodded. When my ride arrived, my now husband asked to meet the trucker but he was gone.
To this day, I don’t know the trucker’s name or where he was from but I do know that from that point on I believed in guardian angels. I know this man was an angel sent by God to protect me and my daughter from some unknown danger…
And, well, God was also playing the ultimate matchmaker.