Christmas Eve Traveler

For those who enjoy my stories, I have a longer one for you from Christmas eve. First let me say I have a reputation among my family of being someone who might skip an occasional family holiday party to just go out shooting photos instead. That was the case Christmas eve when we were invited to the usual in-law gathering and I basically felt like being alone which happens this time of year with depression. I had stopped here earlier in the week on business and wondered to myself if I could get a nice image sometime? Well Christmas eve came and off I headed to this church. I waited till the service got going and the stained glass started to glow as the ambient light dropped. Everyone was inside for the candle light service and I was scurrying around outside trying to put a shimmer on the road and get the nativity to be visible. I ended up shining a light behind the star on the display and guided the shadow where I wanted it to appear on the grass.

Almost the entire time I was shooting which was about an hour, I kept hearing firetrucks screaming down the road in the distance and figured something huge was going down, so I packed up to go find this huge fire! Turns out Santa was cruising the town on the Fire Truck which made me wonder why they aren’t at home with their families on Christmas eve, then a little voice whispered “and what about you”?

If you made it this far, keep going, it is the main part of the story. As I was heading home on the highway, in the distance I could see a vehicle with very faint 4 way flashers on the side of the road. There were dozens and dozens of cars whizzing by all seemingly oblivious to the vehicle and I too drove by to my exit about two miles away. It was then I wondered who the person was and what might happen to them, so I decided to get back on the highway and eventually cross where the Police usually sit. I managed to get back on as cars were going at least 70mph non stop and I finally got to the car with my high beams on it. Before we go any further I am fully aware of what possibilities are out there when stopping, so I do the best evaluation I can because my family needs me too. I got out, saw the plate was from Arizona and then I walked up to the window and it was an African American woman who appeared to be quite concerned about her situation.

I introduced myself, asked if she was really from Arizona, and she replied “we just moved to Maryland recently”. I am no mechanic but I asked how she ended up on the side of the road and her comment was “I think my engine blew up” I said open the hood, maybe its something obvious and folks, imagine opening your hood and then taking two buckets of the driest dirt you can find and just toss it in there because that is what it looked like and she said “all cars in Arizona look like that”? The car would not turn over, and there wasn’t a hint of oil on the dipstick, so I figured maybe her assessment was correct? By the way she said she was sitting there over an hour with not a single soul stopping? I told her since I have a rubber push bumper on my Jeep I could carefully push her the two miles to a Sheetz were she would be safe till she figured out her next move. She told me she had been at a mall shopping, had no clue where she currently was and no idea how she was getting home.

Wow, we are almost done! A few final tidbits. I told her to put it in neutral, and once I get you going to just coast and I will assist if needed. I specifically told her when you get to the exit ramp, if there is room to safely pull over,please do so! Ladies and gentleman, when we got to the ramp she was picking up speed and I was beeping for her to pull over? she stopped right under the red light and as I walk up, her eyes are like golf balls and she says “I had no brakes or power steering” This little detail got forgotten in all the mess but thank goodness she managed. I pushed her into Sheetz and you could see her relief. We said our goodbye and I headed home but all I could think was she is two hours from home on Christmas eve and most likely will sleep in her car overnight? I sat at home for a while asking myself why I didn’t offer her to stay at our place? It can get complicated when you have a wife and daughter to keep safe so I waited till they got home to ask. I got a solid “absolutely not” from the wife and our teenage daughter emphatically stated she is not having a complete stranger watch her open Christmas presents in the morning! Stopping is not for everyone, but I hope if my family ever needs help, there will be someone willing to help another human being! I never knew how it ended but two mechanic friends told me her alternator probably died and the car just shut off and I even had a jump box with me but never thought to try it.


16 responses to “Christmas Eve Traveler

  1. What you did for that woman was so much more important, and more in the spirit of Christmas, than visiting your in-laws that night. Nothing is more scary than sitting in a car that won’t work at the side of a road with cars whizzing by. It’s even worse in unknown territory! I have been in that situation. Aside from fearing that another car might hit you, there is the fear that a stranger with bad intentions might take advantage of your vulnerable situation to harm you. From Sheetz, at least she could contact someone who could help her, sit inside where it is warm, and where other people are around.
    I am thanking you for what you did for that woman. It was a lot for you to do, but it was very, very good of you to do it, and well worth your effort.

  2. What a great photo with that star shadow and stained glass!!
    I love your stories and I’m thanking you too for helping that woman. You were her brave angel and especially on Christmas Eve, it’s wonderful you took time and cared!
    God was certainly in this and protected her from crashing and who knows what else!

  3. Donald thank u for stopping. We need more people who are willing to help others. Like the Good Samaritan you helped where you could. I like your pictures and stories. May God bless you!

  4. Bless you Don, for heeding the Lord’s prompting, becoming His angel to assist a
    stranded stranger on a dark night. Your act of mercy will be rewarded. Your picture of the church on Christmas eve is inspirational. Blessings in the New Year.

  5. Thanks, Don, I’ve been in that situation more than once and as a woman you feel so vulnerable. Your Jeep came in very handy. Thank God, you didn’t have the skeleton riding shotgun.

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