I’m not convinced this was an angel. For years afterward, I thought it was God Himself.
I was about thirteen. My mom and I were driving from my grandmother’s house back to ours, at night, in the blinding rain.
Grandma lived under the F line at Avenue J. We would typically take Avenue J most of the way home, and so it was this night.
For those of you who’ve never been to Brooklyn, let me give you the layout of this particular neighborhood. We had passed Ocean Avenue but not by much. On these blocks, the houses become palatially big (for Brooklyn) but none of them face Avenue J. The littler cross-streets (East 21st Street, East 22nd Street, etc) are the direction the house entrances face. You can park on Avenue J, in other words, but all the house numbers and entrances are on the side streets (all of which are laid out orthogonally to the avenues.)
That night, as we drove through the sheeting rain, we passed an old man walking in the curb of Avenue J (not on the sidewalk) halfway between two side streets pushing a walker. Judging by the way he was dressed, he was Hasidic, all in black and wearing a hat, and he looked debilitated, only inching along with his walker. He didn’t have an umbrella.
My mother and I looked at one another. I said, “Let’s see if he wants a ride,” and she replied, “I was just thinking the same thing.”
She made the U-turn on Avenue J (I know, I know, but there was no one coming in either direction) and we went back to get the old man so he wouldn’t get soaked and die of pneumonia.
We drove back, only he wasn’t there. My mother went another couple of blocks, but he simply wasn’t around. She made another U-turn on the still-empty avenue, and this time we crawled along at barely greater than walking speed, looking up the blocks as we passed. Still, no one.
There were no entrances of homes facing us. No cars had come along. There was nowhere for this man to have gone, and yet, gone he was.
We decided to continue homeward. I mean, we’d tried, but the guy clearly wasn’t there.
Two miles away, we passed the scene of an accident. It was so new that the cops hadn’t even come yet. A car traveling in our direction, in our lane, had been t-boned by a pickup coming off one of the side-streets, and the damage was insane. Broken glass everywhere, and the passenger seat had taken the brunt of the crash.
In other words, I believe we would have been right there had we not turned around to look for that man. And I was the one in the passenger seat.
Sometimes, I believe God gives us the opportunity to bless ourselves. We tried to do a good thing for an elderly man in the rain, and instead, it may have saved my life.
For the first accidental miracle post, click here.