January 30, 2008
A while back I was watching a talk show featuring a popular male host whom anyone would recognize if you saw him walking down the street. I frown upon mentioning celebrities in this space; but suffice it to say that the program itself wasn’t important, yet the topic was. A prominent “psychic” was his guest and audience members were encouraged to ask her questions. A young woman, perhaps in her twenties described an experience she had at a toll booth where her car had a broke down and she needed assistance and the toll booth collector wasn’t very helpful. She went on to describe how she was startled by an attractive young man in an expensive sports car who came up to her from behind and told her where a gas station was. She turned to the toll collector, and when she looked back at the Good Samaritan, in her words “he was gone.” She deepened the mystery by saying that the toll booth guy said that he never saw the man. The psychic claimed that she was visited by an “angel.” The woman readily agreed.
Now, I’m not going to dispute the presence of angels in our lives; but I’d like to think that if they were able assist those in need, they can use their time more constructively and step in to stop an execution or find a missing child or something else important. All the woman with the over-heated engine had to do was use her cell phone to call for a tow truck. With that said, the phony psychic and the lady with the hyperactive imagination need to hear some tales of a real-life angel who saved lives by the side of the road. I know she is real because I have seen her in person. In fact, I married her.
Roughly a decade ago when our daughter was only two years old, my wife took our daughter, strapped into the car seat of our fuel efficient Honda Accord, to her mother’s house for a visit. She drove along the scenic route, entering the Sagtikos Parkway south to the Southern Sate Parkway. These parkways were designed by Robert Moses as thoroughfares to be used to visit Long Island’s many, beautiful parks and beaches. The shoulders are wide, grassy spaces backed up by trees, and the overpasses are constructed like Roman arches with stone facing. Commercial vehicles are banned from using these roads. The parkways are pretty to look at, but if you break down, you’re officially stranded.
At the point of the merge to the Southern State Parkway, my wife noticed a car on the grass and it’s occupants outside in apparent distress. At fifty-five miles per hour, they were like blips on her radar screen, yet she noticed the woman for several reasons. They were dressed in Middle Eastern garb, dark cloth fabric with their heads covered, and they one of them looked to be screaming. Something told my wife to stop.
With our two year old daughter in the back seat, she defied conventional wisdom to mind her own business and pulled off to the side of the road about one half mile from the scene of the trouble. She had to back all the way up, pausing within about twenty yards or so to have a better look. Immediately, she noticed one of the women holding a baby boy. From the distance she was away, she noticed that his skin was tinged with blue. With an eye on our daughter she backed up closer, and then paused again.
“Mommy’s going to be right back, okay sweety?” she said. Our baby girl didn’t react, but my wife felt queasy entering the situation. She opened the car door and the screams of the women hit her like a blast. My wife got out and went over to them leaving the driver’s door open, partly so our daughter wouldn’t over heat, and to make a hasty retreat if she had to.
None of the women spoke English very well; except for an older woman whom my wife learned later was the little boy’s aunt. What happened was they were all driving home, the mother was of the one year old was in the back seat with him and the aunt and another relative in the front seats. The mom was feeding her son when a chunk of food became lodged in his throat.
My wife took the baby from his mother, the poor woman was screaming, as were the other two women. The aunt with whom my wife was communicating with remained calm enough to tell my wife what was happening. The boy wasn’t breathing, which as obvious. My wife knew something was in his throat blocking the airway, and she had to clear the blockage. She turned the boy over on her forearm, tipped his head downward, and gave him a few quick taps with the palm of her hand between his shoulder blades. Within moments, color returned to the boy’s cheeks.
The mother provided a blanket and my wife placed the boy down and reached for her cell phone in her pocket book. The one we had back then was a primitive, early model which was a plastic hunk of a thing with a retractable antennae, and not much of a range due to the fact that cell phones were still relatively new. She dialed nine-one-one and told the operator what was going on. She was unable to give an address, of course, but using landmarks and road signs, she was able to give an accurate location of where they were. When she was done, she tossed the phone to the ground and went to our daughter. Our girl was okay and she returned to se another motorist, a young man giving the baby boy mouth to mouth resuscitation with the family of the boy looking on in earnest.
“No…stop, stop!” She yelled.
The man looked up at her. The boy had stopped breathing again.
“He has something in his throat.” His eyes widened and his lips parted. He had the look of someone who knew they made a huge error; and then he stood up and backed away. Once more, my wife had to turn the boy over and deliver blows to his back. It worked again, but he had little room to breathe and foam appeared at the corners of his mouth.
Thankfully, at that moment she heard the yelp of an emergency vehicle. Looking up she saw a Suffolk County Police squad car racing towards them on the grassy shoulder. The car’s lights were flashing and the officer stopped a few short feet away. This parkway is ordinarily patrolled by the New York State Police, but in this emergency, the closest available officer answered the call. The officer checked the boy and he kept him wrapped in the blanket and monitored him until an ambulance arrived a few moments later. The boy was removed to the local emergency room and my wife followed the ambulance and the family, as she was desperate to learn if the baby was going to be okay. At the hospital, the family showed immense gratitude, hugging her, and kissing her cheeks.
I don’t remember where I was that day, but I do recall coming home before my wife did in the late afternoon, wondering where she was. She pulled in the driveway and I went out to greet her as I had been standing by the window waiting. She emerged from her car looking like she played football. He pants were covered in mud and her hair was frazzled.
Immediately, I became concerned and we went inside with our little girl who was as calm as can be. My wife told me what happened and I was both alarmed proud of her.
Days later, my wife called a telephone number given to her by the family. As they were recent immigrants to this country, they did not have their own phone and this line was for one of their neighbors. A woman answered the phone and knew right away who my wife was.
“Oh, you’re that woman. Thank you, thank you so much.”
What my wife wanted to know was if the boy was okay. “He’s doing great, thanks to you,” said the woman. A few more moments of chatting, and my wife hung up the phone and was removed from their lives forever. Their baby lived, my wife did a wonderful thing, and this is a documented case of an angel coming to the rescue of a family in need.
This story on its own would be enough to qualify one as a savior. But it seems that my wife found another person in distress. That’s the subject of part II to this story.
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