Eighteen-year-old Donna Funkhouser worked various hours in a grocery store at the edge of a large mall. This was Donna’s first “official” job; and as long as the weather stayed reasonable, she felt confident and even a little proud of herself.
One night, she was on the late shift. By 10 o’clock, when the store closed, snow and ice were coating the parking lot. The employees scurried to their cars, and quickly drove away. All but Donna. Her car wouldn’t start.
Over and over, the ignition refused to catch. Finally, it did, but the car chugged only to the middle of the icy and abandoned street before it died. Donna had no cell phone, and she knew her mother would be worried when she didn’t arrive. Frightened and cold, she looked around. She was alone.
But no! Suddenly, an elderly man was knocking on her window. “Try it again!” he called.
Donna was startled. She hadn’t seen anyone. “Where did you come from?” she asked him through the glass.
“I’m right behind you,” he answered. “Try the car again.”
She turned to look and sure enough, there was his car. Her windows were foggy, but how had she missed seeing or hearing him pull up? She turned the key in the ignition one more time. The engine roared to life.
“I’ll follow you home,” the man told her, and walked back to his car.
Strange. He hadn’t even asked where she lived. She was only 15 minutes away, but he surely didn’t know that. And he was too old to help her if she slipped into a ditch. But Donna was too cold and worried to think about anything but getting home, and relieving her mother’s certain concern.
Slowly, carefully, Donna drove home, and true to his word, her Good Samaritan stayed behind her, even pulling up behind her into the driveway. Donna saw her mother watching out the window, and without looking back, she jumped out of the car, staggered across the snowy lawn and into the warmth of the hallway. “Where have you been?” her mother cried in relief.
“The car wouldn’t start right away, but a nice older man followed me home, all the way into the driveway,” Donna explained. “Wait—I need to thank him before he goes!”
Her mother gave her a strange look. “No one followed you home,” she said. “I’ve been right here, and I saw you pull into the driveway, and get out of the car—alone.”
The two women looked at each other. Did angels work in snowstorms?
Donna never worried about winter driving again.
Joan’s new book Where Angels Walk is the 25th Anniversary Edition, available now at Loyola Press.
Joan Wester Anderson has written many books on angels and miracles. She can be reached at P.O. Box 127, Prospect Heights, IL 60070.