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There have been a few times in my life that I feel as if I have narrowly escaped something really bad happening if things had gone in another direction. I’m not sure why I was spared, but in hindsight; I am deeply grateful for having been. Here are three instances:
As I recall, a couple of my sisters, a girlfriend (she drove) and I, all went out of town to Tampa one night to attend a rock concert. Tampa is about an hour and a half drive from Orlando where we all lived. All of us were in our late teens. I can’t even remember who was performing that night–the drama afterwards erased it from my memory! After the concert, we left the auditorium, started on our way home and soon found ourselves stranded, out of gas! Young, silly girls! Eventually, a couple of guys pulled over and offered us their assistance. A ride to a gas station was offered and the use of their empty gas can. We gratefully agreed and all piled into their large, creaky station wagon and rode with them to get gas. The can was filled and placed in the far back of their “wagon” and we headed back to our car. It soon became evident that the gas can, which had been filled to the brim and had no cover on it, had started sloshing out a bit–fumes filled the car. We were choking and freaking out! Horrified, we then noticed that the driver was smoking! We become terrified that the car was going to go up in a ball of fire created by the fumes and the lit cigarette. We started yelling (begging) for the guy to throw his cigarette out and to slow down. He laughed and ignored our pleas. We miraculously arrived intact back to our car and after fueling it, our “rescuers” pointed us in the wrong direction while trailing after us. We quickly realized we were going the wrong way, our friend turned her car around, and finally we found I-4 and eventually, home.
By God’s grace we were saved from being the victims of having been blown to bits or who knows what else!
On another occasion, after having moved down to Miami, (barely 20 years old) I hitchhiked home from work one day. My ride had not shown up and I had no way to get in touch with him. I was new at the job and didn’t have it in me to impose on anyone. So out on the street, having waited over a half hour or so, I decided to “thumb” my way home. I had never hitchhiked before (except that crazy Tampa fiasco). It was a hot, summer day with daylight lasting well into the early evening. I think that gave me some courage too–that it was still broad daylight. So I stood by the curb and stuck out my thumb–I don’t remember standing there very long before a small car pulled over with three or four guys in it. They were very friendly and asked me where I was going–I said Kumquat Avenue, Coconut Grove–sure, they said, get in. I got in. I didn’t think a thing of it. Nothing in me told me I couldn’t trust these guys. And after a friendly chat with them all the way, they dropped me off, in complete safety, at my front door with a cheerful “take it easy”.
Today, I don’t think someone could pay me to hitchhike!
One dark evening, as I stepped from my car after pulling into the driveway, I was approached by a man walking very quickly towards me. He was talking excitedly as he swiftly closed the gap between us. He was telling me that he had run out of gas and that his wife was back in their car and asked if I could help them. Something inside me made me put my hand up in a “stop” position. I then told him to stop and that I was uncomfortable with him coming closer. He stopped in his tracks and said he understood. I told him I would go inside and tell my husband of his trouble and that we would get help for him. I went inside and told my husband that someone was outside needing assistance. We both immediately went to the front yard where I had left the man moments before and found that he had vanished.
I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t had the intuition to “stop” him.
There have been some other near misses through the years that still leave me in awe when I remember them. Clearly, I have been protected from harm and I don’t for a minute take it lightly. I always whisper a prayer of thanks.