by Nancy Quinonez
My family didn’t have a very exciting New Year’s Eve planned for the last day of 2001. I had the day off, but my husband, Will, a fill-in bus driver, had picked up a long route that night driving travelers back and forth 40 miles from Boulder to the Denver airport.
There would be no parties or champagne this year. The kids and I rented videos, picked up some take-out chicken, and toasted the new year with sparkling cider.
After midnight, Will’s route ended and he headed home. On a nearly empty street, he noticed something odd. Two people, a man and a woman, appeared to be wrestling on the side of the road. He drove past but, thinking something might be wrong, turned around and headed back.
As he reached the couple, he saw the man slam the woman’s head down onto the pavement. She was struggling to get away, but he was on top of her. Will stopped the car and yelled at the man. Although he didn’t carry a cell phone, he lied and told the man that he had already called the police, and that he was going to stay there until they arrived. The man yelled back, and approached Will’s open car window. Will grabbed at the only thing he had to defend himself, the sharp end of a snow scraper, and swung it at him. That was enough to send the man walking away.
The woman was still there. Her lip was split open badly, and she was bleeding and crying. There was a shopping center nearby, but all the stores were closed and dark for the holiday. Will offered her a ride home, or a ride to a phone. She seemed scared to get into the car with him. He gave her some tissues and paper towels. He didn’t want to leave her there alone.
He suggested that she take a cab home. She told him that she didn’t have any money. He reached into his pocket for the tips he had made that night for hauling people’s luggage in and out of the bus. He gave them to her.
Just then, the police drove up. Someone had called them. They took the woman into their car. She wouldn’t tell them who the man was, just that it was someone she knew. The police took Will’s statement and radioed the description out to try and find the man.
Then Will came home. We don’t know what happened to the couple. I hope she is safe. If Will hadn’t told me this story the next day, nobody would have known. When our son overheard part of it, Will brushed it off as “nothing”. I suppose I didn’t have such a bad New Year’s Eve after all. I wanted my husband home with me, but I believe he was in the right place that night.