As a temporarily-single-parent during my first Fulbright Exchange Teacher Abroad year in Neresheim, Germany, it was often challenging especially when the children were ill. It was only on the way home up an icy hill outside the village did I realize that the roads were untreated.
On this cold November afternoon with dusk approaching, I noticed cars off the road and people standing and watching as I continued my drive up the hill. While I thought it odd, I never put two and two together that I was driving on ice. As I approached the top of the hill, I glanced to my right to the monastery and tiny chapel and said a quick prayer that we get home safely.
Suddenly, my car made no further progress as I attempted to drive. Fog and mist froze quickly on the road. After applying the brakes, my mind tried to weigh my options. Back down the hill to the village and try to stay overnight there? Try to pull off to the side as the other cars had done?
Having decided to back down the hill, I slammed on the brakes as I saw a man in my rear view mirror. What if I had hit him in my attempt? The stranger came to the driver’s window, and I quickly explained in German that the children were both sick. After seeing the Dr. and picking up medicine, I was trying to get home to another village, Schweindorf, where we lived.
This perfect stranger and my earthly angel came out of nowhere and told me to drive on. He pushed as I drove slowly up the final distance to the top of the hill. As I tried to stop and thank him, he motion me onward and told me to drive and not stop. I shouted Danke out the window and arrived home safely. In good weather, the drive was only ten minutes. On this day, it took almost one hour.
Today, I want to personally express my gratitude for helping us in our hour of need. I have never forgotten him and his random act of kindness. I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude for people like this man in our lives. Thank you, kind sir. Forever grateful!