by Cara Grandle
Teri Halverson juggled the Christmas presents she brought for her coworkers into one arm, so she could press the lock button on her key fob. With her car locked tight, she settled her purse strap higher on her shoulder and made her way out of the parking structure.
Before she left the dry safety of the concrete building, she pulled the hood of her black rain jacket over her cropped auburn hair. Rain poured down around her in the predawn darkness. Only the faint twinkle of Christmas lights danced across the wet structures and streets. The wind kicked up, and she pulled the hood further over her head, making sure none of her hair was exposed.
When the crosswalk light flashed for pedestrians, Teri looked down past the gifts in her arms at her Dansko clad feet and stepped into the street. This was not a day for admiring the towering skyscrapers shadowed in holiday light if she wanted to arrive at work with makeup intact. She had a couple more years to admire them before retirement kicked in.
Nothing but plans for Christmas, only two days away, and what her friends might think of their gifts was on her mind. She never heard or saw the silent Prius as it missed the red light.
The little car made no sound when it struck her soft body. Teri crashed against the windshield and landed ten feet away—unconscious in the wet street. Her shoe and Christmas gifts still in the crosswalk.
After spending the holidays recovering and healing, she was well enough to go back to work. Bruises, black eyes, chipped teeth, a traumatic concussion, and an ocular brain bleed the doctors hoped wouldn’t affect her eyesight long term made her returned slow, but she was alive and grateful it wasn’t much worse.
She increased her hours as her brain allowed.
Weeks later, when she’d slipped back into the routine of work, she received a call from Marvin.
Marvin was one of two hundred engineers that worked for the same company she handled payroll for. Their paths had crossed on the phone over the years, but they didn’t know each other. He asked her a normal work question, and they made typical small talk as she found the information he needed on her computer. “You sound a little tired, Teri.”
“Suppose I am. It’s the end of the day and I still get tired after the accident.”
“Yes. A car hit me out in front of the building.”
“When did that happen?”
Teri could hear a change in the tone of his voice—from concern to attentive.
“The accident happened the morning of December 23rd.”
“That was you?”
“It was.” She assumed most of the thousands of employees had heard about it by now.
“I’m glad to know you made it. I found you in the dark and stayed with you. You were unconscious, and you didn’t even wake up when the paramedics helped you. I called the ambulance—it was a close-run thing not to get hit in the dark myself. I stood over you and signaled traffic to go around the best I could, but the drivers could barely see us. I was wearing a dark coat with no reflectors, so each time the light turned green, I thought we were done for.”
Tears pooled in Teri’s eyes. Even with the thorough accident reports, there had been gaps in the details between when she was hit and the hospital. And here she was getting answers she didn’t think she would ever receive at work of all places. “You were the one that called 911? And you stayed with me?”
“I did. There was no way the oncoming traffic would’ve seen you. I’ve wondered about you.”
“Thank you, Marvin. I think I may well owe you my life.”
“I’m glad to hear you’re okay and you can bet I bought a reflective coat after that.”
All she could do was thank him. After she hung up the phone tears of gratefulness slid down her cheeks as she thought of his willingness to protect and guard her. Sometimes angels are flesh and blood and some might even be coworkers.