It was about two or three years into my Colorado experience when I decided to go to a strip mall near my apartment to visit the bookstore. As I was leaving the store and was about to step off the sidewalk into the parking lot I heard, “Ma’am.”
I stepped off sidewalk. I don’t know people here. “Ma’am!”
I guess that’s me. I reluctantly turned around and saw two young ladies who rushed over to me.
“Can you help us?” One asked.
The other one explained that they had come from Commerce City on a bus to go shopping on this side of town and the bus left them behind. They both had babies at a daycare that closed at 6:00pm. It was 5:20pm. None of us had cell phones to call the daycare. (I don’t know if they tried to use a store phone.)
I was so not sure what to do. I mean this was a time in my life when I didn’t really think of myself as an adult who would be brave enough to do something like picking up ‘hitch hikers’. An internal struggle went on in my brain as I stared at them waiting for me to answer. I was very aware time was ticking away and the longer it took me to decide, the closer six o’clock came. Commerce City was thirty minutes away! What should I do?! It’s two of them and one of me. I wasn’t a black belt in anything, and I had once been warned that Commerce City was a dangerous suburb of Denver and to never go there. I was kind of freaking out.
And then I felt a sudden peace, as if Jesus Himself were standing next to me or at least His energy, assuring me I would be safe. It felt strange to think that, but I knew it was true. I told the ladies, “Sure. I can take y’all.”
We walked to my car and settled in and they gave me directions. I got onto I-70 heading east. Melissa (I honestly don’t remember their names) sat in the front and her friend Brandy sat in the back. Melissa talked to me the whole drive. I noticed when I merged onto I-270 toward Commerce City, that Brandy had fallen asleep. Well, at least she trusted me. I knew I should be more trusting, but as we got closer to their destination, I was listening to Melissa with one ear and trying my hardest to memorize the route backwards.
“Turn left at the first light,” she said. I thought, So on the way back, remember it’s going to be right…
I couldn’t help my fears slipping past Jesus. In my overactive imagination I thought these women could have boyfriends, who threatened them to go to Lakewood and trick an unsuspecting, gullible woman to come back with them and meet them. Those evil boyfriends could be waiting for us in a warehouse, to then rape and murder me once I was delivered. So I guess if I was murdered, I wouldn’t need to memorize the directions home so intensely. But if I could escape, I would definitely need some lay of the land.
Melissa had directed me through many turns. I was starting to forget the backwards way out.
“See that park over there?” I looked ahead and to the right. “Drive straight, through that light and then turn right and park on the side at the other end.”
I looked at the park as I drove around it. There were tents set up everywhere. I noticed a sign announcing that it was a Boy Scout camp out. I was breathing a little easier. I remembered the time when I was ten and riding my bike, I hit a patch of dense sand that stopped my bike abruptly. I flew over the handle bars, face planting into the gravel of my street, right in front of a neighbor’s house where a Boy Scout meeting was being held in the front yard. When I lifted my head, I was surrounded by all members of the troop, who then helped me up. I knew now, that this was the place to be if I needed any help.
When I stopped my car, the women had five minutes to run as fast as they could to the daycare to get their children. They both thanked me for the ride and Melissa told me a short cut to get back onto the highway. I was safe.
Jesus’ energy was with me the whole time, I didn’t need to doubt His presence. I don’t mean to sound religious because I am on a different spiritual plane than I had been long ago, but I just really felt a greater presence letting me know I would be safe, and that I would be helping these women out in what to them was a real emergency. He was watching over all three of us. It was one of those Guideposts ‘He works in mysterious ways’ moments, from the other side of the story. The significance of it was not lost on me and I will never forget the experience.