Expressing Gratitude to a Stranger in Germany

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!

This entry was posted in Fulbright Teacher in Neresheim, Germany, Gratitude to a Stranger in Germany, ice storm, Schweindorf and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Expressing Gratitude to a Stranger in Germany

  1. Gratitude expressed so beautifully in this touching story about your stranger–grateful for so many angels unaware that enter our lives. I’ve encountered quite a few and am so thankful for each of them too… ❤ Blessings and love.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Bette, for your insightful comment. I am convinced this angel was sent by my deceased father who had died just one month before. I have no other logical explanations for a man alone on an icy hilly street pushing a car while I drove. Mine is not to question. We are forever in his debt and grateful. I trust you had a lovely TG. Hugs to you and yours. oxox

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for a touching comment. Much appreciated. Those wonderful angels we encounter in our lives have special places in our hearts. Hugs and blessings to you this Thanksgiving weekend. Stay warm!


  2. balroop2013 says:

    He was indeed an Angel! Thanks for sharing this wonderful encounter. Stay blessed.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m glad your story had a happy ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. roninjax says:

    Scripture tells us that we may entertain angels as strangers. We may never know but even if it was a human being being at the right place at the right time he was still serving and showing love, compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A beautiful story that moves the soul and warms the heart. I am sure your angel was sent to you from your dad.
    I hope your children have had a speedy recovery and all is well now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for such a lovely comment. I thought too at the time that the angel was sent by my Dad. As for the children, it was a strep or ear infection or both as young children do get. Hope you enjoy the weekend.


  6. Arno Bode, Cologne,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann ,
    ich hoffe , Du hattes ein schönes “thanksgiving Fest ” und hast am ” black friday ” lukerative Einkäufe getätigt.Es ist eine ganz besondere Freude an den Erlebnissen deiner Vergangenheit teilnehmen zu dürfen. Du verstehst es mit ausgesuchten Worten wunderbar Emotionen zu beschreiben. Die Winterbilder sind eine ausdrucksvolle Ergänzung deiner Schilderung. Nachdem
    wir hier in Cologne einen Herbst mit frühlingshaften Temperaturen erlebt habe ,wird es jetzt auch bei uns etwas winterlicher. -Die Zeit vergeht ja so schnell,und Weihnachten kommt immer so plötzlich sagt man scherzhaft.- Zum skiing ( Ski fahren ) ist der Winterurlaub in Österreich schon wieder gebucht.Ich freue mich schon jetzt auf die Zeit im Schnee.
    Dir,liebe Mary Ann, deinem lieben Mann Russell und deinen Kindern wünschen wir eine segensreiche Adventszeit.
    Alles Liebe und Gute aus old Germany
    wünscht Dir
    Dein Arno

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lieber Arno,
      wir hatten ein wunderbares Essen im Mirbeau Inn in Skaneateles, wo es ein entspannendes Spa und ein kleines Hotel wie in der Provence, Frankreich, gibt. Ich kaufe heute meistens online ein, seit ich in eines der Geschäfte gehe, die ich mag, sie haben nicht das, was ich online gesehen habe. Von jetzt an bis etwa Januar werde ich nicht in Läden gehen, die zu voll sind, ebenso wie die Parkplätze. Für Geliebte zu kaufen wird auch schwieriger. Mein nächstes großes Abenteuer neben Prag wird eine Oper in der Met in New York City sein. Ich habe wenige Wünsche im Leben. Ich lese täglich und lese wieder John Grisham, weil ich seinen Schreibstil und seine Einstellungen liebe. Einige seiner Bücher wurden auch zu Filmen gemacht. Nochmals vielen Dank für diesen schönen Kommentar zu meinem Blog und zu meinem Schreiben. Ich freue mich, dass Du gerne Ski fährst und freue mich auf weitere Fotos aus Österreich. Es ist gut, die Landschaft zu wechseln und dem Alltag zu entfliehen. Es entspannt sich und lädt die Batterien sozusagen auf. Ich wünsche Dir und Lilly wunderschöne Wintererlebnisse in Österreich. Nochmals vielen Dank und alles Gute für Dich und Deine Familie.
      Deine Mary Ann

      Dear Arno,
      we had a wonderful meal at the Mirbeau Inn in Skaneateles where there is a relaxing spa and small hotel like in Provence, France. I do most of my shopping online these days since when I do go to one of the stores I like, they don’t have what I have seen online. From now until about January, I won’t go into stores which are too crowded as are the parking lots. Buying for loved ones gets more challenging too. My next big adventure besides Prague will be an opera at the Met in New York City. I have few wants in life. I read daily and am reading some John Grisham again because I love his writing style and settings. Some of his books have been made into movies as well. Thank you once more for such a lovely comment on my blog and about my writing. I am happy you enjoy skiing, and I look forward to more photos from Austria. It is good to change scenery and get away from daily life. It relaxes and recharges the batteries so to speak. I wish you and Lilly wonderful winter experiences in Austria. Thank you once again and all the best to you and your family.
      Your Mary Ann


  7. Peter Klopp says:

    Your wonderful story of the unknown angel reminded me of a similar incident that happened to my wife and me, when we were living in a small Prairie town in the late 60’s. In the middle of winter at minus 30 degree weather we were driving over a deserted country road to the dentist in a small town in Saskatchewan. On an icy patch I lost control over the car and landed it in a ditch. After several futile attempts to get the car back on the road, we realized that we might freeze to death unless … You guessed it. Suddenly seemingly from nowhere a tractor appeared . The farmer, who noticed our predicament hooked up our car to a chain and pulled it out of the ditch. Here also like in your story we had barely time to say thank you. My wife and I are forever grateful for this act of kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Clare Pooley says:

    What a lovely story! I always found that my children were always ill or something went wrong with the house or car when my husband was away from home!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Murphy’s Law at work everywhere it seems. Young children pick up all sorts of germs and when they are in close quarters, they pass it back and forth. Unless there was a car rental nearby, you could just have the vehicle that you absolutely need, towed for repairs. So annoying when that happens. That’s why life is sometimes a bumpy road. ^___^

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Annika Perry says:

    Mary Ann, this is a beautifully written account of your meeting with the friendly helpful guardian angel … you brought us along on your journey. Luckily I’ve come across such angels in similar weather conditions – often a group of volunteers will turn out at the worst hills during snowstorms and lend a hand to push cars up the hills. Thank goodness – many times we’d have been stuck otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Annika, for a lovely comment. My Schutzengel/Guardian Angel was certainly with me that day. I discovered that Germans do not salt their roads but only sand major roads. In Upstate NY, we salt the roads; otherwise, I imagine life would be at a standstill here during the winter. How is it in the UK and in Sweden with winter roads? Oh, speaking of Sweden, we have been watching some series in Swedish and one called “Missing” had a man singing. I was able to ascertain who he is: Daniel Norgren. So talented a writer, singer and performer. Have you heard him at all? I thought of your son and his songwriting. Well, a Happy Advent season to you and upcoming Nikolaustag. Enjoy! ^__^ oxox

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annika Perry says:

        In Sweden they plow the major roads and on tractors owned by farmers clear the smaller tracks. They also use sand – overall there are few problems as the tyres are winter/studded! When we were over in October, despite the warmish weather, the winter tyres were on the hire car and it made a heck of a racket! Oh, here in the UK a centimetre of snow brings the country to a standstill, despite the use of salt. We all despair and moan but nothing changes!

        I’m now enjoying the music of Daniel Norgren – I’ve never heard of him but love his music already. I’ll be sharing this with my son at dinner tonight (don’t want to disturb his physics revision!) ‘Missing’ looks great but alas no over here … yet.

        Wishing you a lovely Advent too. I can’t believe how quickly it has arrived! xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • There are some cities especially in the South which don’t know what to do with a small amount of snow. We laugh when that happens. They don’t own snowplows either. Winter tires can be noisy. My Jeep tires don’t have to be changed and are excellent for most conditions. Nothing helps with sheer ice. We have a device called ROKU on our TV and get a station called MHz Choice. I get all sorts of programs in the foreign language which I absolutely love. Norgren has such a great voice and is an excellent songwriter. I wish he would lose the baseball cap when he performs but that’s just a quirk I have. My sister has encouraged me to write some song lyrics. My mind has to think in poetry and not in song lyrics. In my spare time, I might try. Busy with performances Dec. 7,8,& 9 of Charpentier Messe du Minuit and Rutter’s Gloria. We singing with an orchestra as well as with brass which tend to be very loud. I gave up trying to order gifts online to be sent here when the kids live elsewhere. I just have them sent directly to them since it probably will be just the two of us with lots of music to sing for Christmas. Enjoy your Advent and let me know what your son thinks of Daniel Norgren. Everlasting Friend is so beautiful. I am binge listening!


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