In 1976 I was laid off my secretarial job in San Francisco and put on medical disability, so my eldest daughter asked me to come stay with her and recuperate in Oklahoma that winter. It was a long drive and I wasn’t well, so I drove through Nevada to avoid high mountains.
Alone with my CB radio and clothes stuffed in my big old convertible, I saw a hospital outside Las Vegas and realized I was a danger to all on the highway because I was so sick. I stopped, and the emergency room doctor saw my condition and checked me into the hospital for a week — until my medical insurer said “No more”. Though still weak, I continued my journey and drove away.
Just before sundown, a truck driver’s cheerful voice appeared on my CB radio. We chatted, and I mentioned feeling queasy since my release from the hospital just hours before. Thoughtfully, he warned that he was about to pass me, to watch for the coming surge of wind.
The cab of his big rig passed me — and behind it a double-decker *empty* trailer for hauling cars. I wished aloud that my vehicle was on the car carrier so I wouldn’t have to drive all the way to Oklahoma.
The trucker offered over the CB that we pull off the next freeway exit so he could load my car on his trailer. He took the next exit, expecting me to follow. I was momentarily wary: an angel in disguise or a trick? But the next exit was upon me with no time to think of the possible problems.
Taking the ramp, I saw a slim young man had stepped down and was unfolding his ramp so I could drive up onto his trailer. He flagged directions for my wheels to find the ramp.
When the stranger helped me up into his cab, he invited me to use his bunk behind the seat, to rest while he drove. Other than one truck stop where he fetched some food out to me, I slept the entire way until we reached Oklahoma and a freeway exit just a few miles from my daughter’s house.
He was a young family man “deadheading” homeward after not getting a return load, so he had no income from his return trip. I had planned to use my last $70 for gasoline anyway, so I gave it to him. He finally was kind enough to accept — it was so little for the huge help he had provided an older, quite sick stranger.
Now I am 71, living in a Texas retirement center, and it’s been many years since this happened. But maybe, just maybe, somewhere out there in cyberspace my stranger angel may read this… and feel the appreciation I felt as he carried me aloft to safety 27 years ago.