One of the cool things about traveling around the country is the people we’re privileged to meet and the testimonies they share with us. Following is an amazing true story from a friend we met in the West. She was rather shy in relating this story as she didn’t want to be labeled a kook. But I appreciated the encouragement I received from hearing it. I am a total believer in all the ways God can show up in our lives. There are no limitations with Him, and He will find us wherever we are, by whatever means He deems necessary. I’m renaming our friend to honor the fact that she is a private person. Other than that, the facts remain intact.
Before the life-changing inventions of cell phones and call boxes, traveling America’s roads was not just full of simple adventure, but a bit more like walking on the wild side. Pulling onto the highway meant facing potential dangers with few lifelines …
It was a far piece from the tiny, one-horse town of Rodeo, New Mexico to the big city of Denver, Colorado. Erin eyed her truck which was anything but reliable. But, it was all she had and her only choice to shuttle her to a new job and a new life.
Loading up a small suitcase, a plant, and her cat, she pulled out of the driveway for the last time and started the journey toward Denver. Gusts of snow flurried and stuck to the roadway as she gripped the wheel and leaned forward. The truck struggled and groaned, and she prayed. Somehow it chugged all the way to Glorieta Pass, northeast of Albuquerque. She caught her breath as the old pickup finally stalled and gave out.
The snow stopped falling, and Erin stared out the window at the clear, starry, empty night. No houses were visible in the inky blackness. She was totally alone. And it was cold. Really cold. So cold, in fact, that her plant froze, and she couldn’t feel her feet. She envied the cat with its thick, fluffy fur.
She grabbed her CB. “I need help!” she cried over the airwaves. But she discovered, along with the heater, the CB had died too. What am I going to do? She sobbed. I’ll freeze to death out here!
Suddenly vehicle lights reflected in her rearview mirror and two huge semi-trucks rumbled up. One of the big rigs parked behind her, the other swung around and parked in front. Both drivers jumped out and strolled to her window. Tentatively she cracked it open and peered up at the two truckers.
“Are you OK?” asked the first man, the lines in his dark features deepening in concern.
“We heard your cries for help over the CB,” said the other man, his blue eyes piercing into hers.
Hmmm, the CB? she thought, but just replied, “My truck won’t start.”
The first man, who introduced himself as Charlie, strode to the front of the pickup and busied himself under the hood. Strangely enough, she trusted these men. She opened the door.
The second man, who called himself “Midnight Cowboy,” crouched and reached for her feet, rubbing the circulation back into them.
“All set,” came a voice under the hood. “Fire it up!” Erin turned the key and the truck roared to life. Unfortunately, the head and taillights didn’t work.
“We’re on our way to Denver same as you,” said Midnight Cowboy. “I’ll lead out, and Charlie will tail you since you have no lights.”
Funny, I don’t recall saying anything about Denver, Erin thought. Oh well. Relief flooded over her. She relaxed, knowing that if her truck died again, she’d have help. The two men hopped in their trucks, and the little convoy rolled down the road toward Denver.
Bright lights from a truck stop gleamed on the horizon, and they pulled in. As she sipped her steaming coffee, she noticed her newfound friends never ordered anything, not even coffee.
They continued their journey; the trio stopping periodically at weigh stations. They figured out a routine: Erin drove around the stations, waited for her friends to pass through the scales, and met them on the other side. Before they hit the highway again, one of the men kindly rubbed the circulation back into her feet. She appreciated that neither of the men ever made a pass toward her—they simply helped her.
Sunlight peeked over the distant mountains as they pulled into the last weigh station. When they met on the other side, they hugged and said their goodbyes. “It’s morning so you should be able to make it safely to where you’re going,” said Midnight Cowboy. Erin thanked her new friends again, and they all pulled out onto the highway.
She traveled through the morning light, pondering the events of the previous night. She wondered at the fact that her friends’ rigs had no company names or writing on them anywhere.
Midnight Cowboy’s rig rolled ahead of her. But something wasn’t right. Her vision seemed to blur. She quickly glanced to the side of the road to double-check her eyesight. Shifting her gaze back to her friend’s semi, she stared wide-eyed as it faded like a mirage and disappeared. The open road and the bright Denver lights shown directly in front of her. I’m going crazy, she thought. She jerked her head up, peering into the rearview mirror. Charlie’s truck was still behind her. And then, just like Midnight Cowboy’s, Charlie’s semi faded and disappeared.
Stunned, she drove the last few miles to her destination where the pickup promptly died in the driveway. She called a local mechanic who towed it to his shop.
“Where did you say you drove from?” asked the mechanic, eyeing her from beneath the hood.
“Rodeo, New Mexico,” she replied.
“That’s impossible,” he said, staring at her.
“But I did,” she insisted.
“Look, this truck couldn’t have gone five feet, let alone 786 miles.” He shook his head. “There’s an engine part missing.”
That evening, she related her entire adventure to her Pastor-friend, elaborating on the truck drivers who came to her rescue. “So, what do you make of all this?”
He grinned at her. “Did you ever think that you might have met up with some angels?”
“I never thought of that.” Her eyes narrowed. “But wait a minute, if they were angels, why didn’t they fix the heat too? Or the lights?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe you needed to stick with them to get you safely to Denver.” He chuckled. “At any rate, I know there’s more to this than just a couple of truckers helping a gal on a lonely highway.”
*Exciting announcement!* Walk Like a Warrior: Inspirational True Stories of God's Encouragement on the Trail Less-Traveled is now available in print and Kindle editions through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the WestBow Press bookstore.