A Letter of Gratitude to a Stranger

Tasked with writing a letter expressing gratitude to someone who changed their lives but whom they never thanked, my students had a project for Thanksgiving to write the letter of gratitude and to surprise the person they were thanking by reading the letter aloud to them. Today it seems appropriate to express my gratitude to the total stranger in Germany who came to our aid one cold November afternoon.

Dear Guardian Angel/Schutzengel in Neresheim,

During my first Fulbright year teaching in Neresheim, Germany, I was on my drive home up the hill past the monastery with my two children in tow. We had just been to the doctor and had picked up medicine. I thought it odd that cars were off both sides of the road with people standing outside them. When I approached the top of the hill, the car came to a stop. Only then did I realize that I was driving on sheer ice. The day had been overcast, and by afternoon, the fog and mist caused the road to freeze. Major highways were sanded near the town, but no salt was used on streets.

I applied the brakes and thought over quickly what I was going to do. I could not drive up the hill, but backing down the hill didn’t seem a good option either. Was I to spend the night in the town and try to drive home the next morning? When I decided to back down the hill, I glanced in the rear view mirror and almost jumped out of my seat. I saw a man’s face. He came around to the driver’s side, and I quickly explained that my children were sick, and I was trying to get them home from the doctor’s. But where did he come from?

This perfect stranger told me to drive ahead up the hill while he pushed the car at the same time. It was miraculous how this maneuver worked. Just when I had gone over the top of the hill and wanted to stop to thank this man for his kindness, he simply motioned for me to drive on and not stop. All I could do was shout out Danke (thanks) to the man as I drove home.

Today, I want to personally express my gratitude to this man for helping us in our hour of need. I have never forgotten him and truly appreciate his kindness. Although I realize he can’t listen as I read my letter of gratitude to him, I think he must know in his heart. So today I want to thank him for his good deed. Vielen Herzlichen Dank!

With a grateful heart,

Dr. Mary Ann Niemczura
Fulbright Exchange Teacher to Neresheim, Germany 1990-91

This entry was posted in a German guardian angel, compassion of a stranger, Fulbright Exchange Year 1990-91, gratitude letter to a stranger and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to A Letter of Gratitude to a Stranger

  1. Darlene says:

    There are guardian angels everywhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Such a wonderful challenge for your students, Mary Ann… Your gratitude letter is lovey. Thanks for inspiring us to to take up your challenge.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bette, thank you one thousand times over. It proved a wonderful exercise for them too. Speaking from the heart seemed to inspire my students as well. If only I knew the true identity of this guardian angel in our hour of need! One day… Enjoy your weekend. Brace yourself for the snow! oxox

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! What a story! Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Annika Perry says:

    A beautiful letter of gratitude … and a touching true story of help from a stranger! Precious moments in life!😀

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Peter Klopp says:

    It was truly a miracle that happened to you on that icy road in Germany. To this day, you feel thankful for this unknown stranger. A wonderful story, Mary Ann!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter, very perceptive of you as you read the story. Yes, truly a miracle. Thank you so much. This stranger became our guardian angel in our hour of need. There are many angels among us in life! Happy Advent season! “”__””

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Clare Pooley says:

    What a kind man – a true guardian angel!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Oh, my goodness! I can imagine the scene you describe; the icy road. In fact, I know it quite well, I’ve driven on; it is scary to say the least. That kind stranger was god-sent. I hope through some miracle or coincidence, he finds and reads your beautiful and touching letter of gratitude one day.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Khaya, thank you for your heartfelt comment. Icy roads are to be avoided at all costs – except the one I was on trying to get sick children back home. I have often hoped and wondered if this kind stranger or a friend of his finds my letter. Thank you once again for your kind words. This world needs more kind strangers! “”__””

      Liked by 1 person

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