Angel in the Playground

Suzan Spitzberg
Montgomery, IL

During World War II, my father was one of the later draftees because he had a wife and child (me).  When he finally was inducted into the Navy, he did his basic training at Great Lakes, IL, and then was stationed in San Francisco. I was two years old at the time. My mother and I traveled by train from Chicago to be with him.

We had been in San Francisco about nine months when my father was shipped to Guam. After a few weeks without him, Mom became homesick and decided to return to Chicago.  However, by that time, all transportation was reserved for the military; we were stuck in San Francisco for an indeterminate amount of time.

Angel on the Playground One day, while we at the local playground, Mom started to think about her family and Chicago and the tears just started pouring down her cheeks. A woman we had never met approached and asked her what was wrong. Mom explained that she was trapped in San Francisco with no family and no way back to Chicago. The woman told her to be at a certain place at a certain time and ask for a certain person – and there would be train tickets to get us home!

Mom didn’t really believe the woman but figured “what the heck.” We followed the lady’s instructions anyway – and three weeks later, found ourselves back on a train to Chicago and family! We never knew the name of our benefactor, or how she was able to pull strings to get us home. Mom always felt bad that she didn’t get a chance to thank her. Who knows how long we would have been alone in San Francisco without her help?

I don’t actually remember San Francisco or any of this happening, but as my sister and I grew up, Mom often told us this story. She called the woman her “angel in the playground.”

To this day, when I notice someone who seems confused and alone, I try to see if there is something I can do to help them… and I always remember the angel in the playground when I do.

Originally published as HeroicStories #854

2 thoughts on “Angel in the Playground”

  1. Angel in the Playground is a wonderful story of kindness and generosity from a stranger towards another. It also shows us how easily we can each rise to the occasion when circumstances demand
    it of us. a simple moment in time out of our everyday lives, yet how we react to it, will leave an impact on both the giver and the receiver. Angels come to us in all disguises and we in our own way play our part in the forever unfolding amazing Universe.

    A note to Heroic Stories. Keep up the good work! Keep the stories coming, there are always lessons to be learned and wisdom to be gained. The World never stop moving. God Bless each and everyone!

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