A group of women gathered around my book-signing table in a Lexington, Kentucky bookstore to tell about their neighbor, Barbara,* who had not been able to come and tell me the story herself. Barbara was driving down the highway, her six-year-old son Benjamin in the passenger seat. Ben was late for his piano lesson and Barbara was beginning to think she should have canceled it. There was always so much to do, and Barbara, a night duty nurse at the local hospital, had recently worked some extra shifts. She was feeling unusually tired. And today's sleet storm, and resulting icy roads, were adding to her tension. Maybe she should turn the car around. "Mom!" Ben cried suddenly. "Look!"

Barbara saw it at the same time. The car ahead of them had lost control on a patch of ice. As Barbara hit her brakes, the other car spun wildly around, rolled over, then crashed sideways into a telephone pole. The impact was horrible.

Barbara pulled onto the road's shoulder, skidded to a stop, and wrenched open her door. Thank God she was a nurse-her skill might make some difference in the fate of these unfortunate passengers! Then she paused. What about Ben? She couldn't take him with her--little boys shouldn't see scenes like the one she anticipated. But was it safe to leave him alone? What if their car was hit from behind, or a stranger approached him? For a brief moment, Barbara considered going on her way; someone else was sure to come along.... No! She pushed the door wide. "Ben, honey, promise me you'll stay in the car!" she cried over her shoulder.

"I will, Mommy," she heard him say as she ran, slipping and sliding, toward the crash site.

It was worse than she had feared. Two high school-aged girls had been in the car. One, the blonde on the passenger side, was dead, apparently killed on impact. The driver, however, was unconscious and pinned in the wreckage. Barbara quickly applied pressure to the wound in the teenager's head while her practiced eyes ran over the other injuries. A broken leg, maybe two, along with probable internal damage. But if help came soon, this girl would live. A trucker had pulled up just ahead, and was calling emergency on his cell phone. Soon Barbara heard the ambulance sirens. A few moments later, she was glad to surrender her lonely post to the rescue workers. "Good job," one said as he examined the driver's wounds. "You probably saved her life, Ma'am." Perhaps. But as Barbara walked slowly back to the car, a feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, especially for the family of the passenger who had died. Their lives would never be the same. Oh, God, why did such things have to happen? Slowly she opened her car door. What should she tell Benjamin? She glanced at her son. He was staring at the crash site, his blue eyes huge. "Mom," he whispered in awe, "did you see it?"

"See what, honey?" she asked.

"The angel!"


"The angel, Mom! He came down from the sky, real softly, while you were running to the car. And he opened the door, and he took that girl out."

Barbara's eyes were filling with tears. "Which door, Ben?"

"The passenger side. He took her hand, and they floated up to heaven together."

"What about the driver?"

Ben shrugged. "I didn't see anyone else. Just the blonde girl. She looked so happy. They were talking and laughing... Mom, it was cool!"

During the following days, Barbara was able to meet both families. They gave her their love and gratitude for the help she had provided. But she was able to give them something too, the gift of Ben's vision. There was no way he could have known--by ordinary means--who was in the car, and what had happened to any of them. Nor could the passenger door have been opened; Barbara herself had seen its tangle of immovable steel. Yet Ben's account brought consolation to a grieving family. Their daughter was home safe in heaven. They were closer to her now than they had ever been. And they would see her again.

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