During the end-of-the-year holidays, I was out shopping with my best friend. Even though it was late, after 11 pm, we were in a major discount store that was open 24 hours. This was not a store I normally went to because it was in a seedy part of town.

At one point, someone tapped me on the shoulder, very insistently. I turned to find one of the most hideous-looking souls I had ever seen; a tattered and bedraggled woman who looked as though life had handed her some pretty tough lumps. She said something to me which I didn't understand; it was as if she was speaking a language I did not know. When I asked her to repeat what she said, she pointed to my purse, and said in a clear voice: "You should close your purse. You're making it too easy for someone to reach in and steal your wallet."

To my horror, she was right! My pocketbook had fallen open and anyone could have reached in and grabbed what they wanted. I was stunned that no one had done so already. Thanking the woman gratefully but hurriedly, I tried not to lose sight of my friend in the crowded store. Because I had poor vision, I needed to keep a close eye on my friend or else I would loose track of her. I was very focused on this at that moment and didn’t give another thought to the woman. Now that months have passed, I keep coming back to that incident in the store. Was the woman just a kind-hearted stranger or something more?

I have heard that angels sometimes don't look like the beautiful creatures we have been shown in paintings and stories, and something makes me wonder about the poor soul I encountered. Kind gestures like the one the woman showed have happened to me more than once in the past, so I know it's not simple gratitude that keeps bringing the incident into my thoughts, unannounced.

Could she have been my guardian angel?

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