Wednesday, December 06, 2005… while at work, my cell phone beeped. I picked up the phone and thinking it was the maintenance department who sometimes called, I said, “Go ahead.”
When no one responded, I looked at the name on the caller ID of my Nextel and saw my son, Chris’s name. Knowing he was at work or either on his way from the shop where he works to the jobsite, (which is usually at Atlantic Beach, Myrtle Beach or Wilmington,) I thought he just might want to say good morning or chat for a minute while on his drive.
I suddenly realized we had already had our morning chat before I left home. I beeped his cell phone again and said “hello.” Still, there was no response. Finally, after a third time of trying to get back to him with no luck, I decided that it must be a poor connection since I was inside a building.
Getting up from my desk, I walked outside and once again tried to reach him on the two-way. Still no answer. I began to think he had been driving through a bad reception area and could not get back to me. When he finally came on the phone a few seconds later, I knew something was terribly wrong and he needed help.
Chris busted out crying. When I asked him what was going on he kept repeating that he didn’t know. This continued for a while and all the time, he wouldn’t let go of the button so that I could talk to him. Once I did call him back, I told him, “Chris, we can talk about whatever is wrong later, where are you?”
He didn’t say one word. He beeped my phone and just held the button down. From the sounds in the phone, I could hear the wind blowing into it and knew he was driving. I hit the exit button on my phone to cut it off and begged him, “Chris, please tell me where you are!”
Still, he didn’t say where he was. He just kept sobbing uncontrollably and repeating that he was worried and talking strange. As soon as I could speak to him, I asked him if he was driving and if he was alone. In a weak voice, he finally admitted that he was. Frantically, I begged him, “Chris, where are you son? Please, please just stop! Wherever you are, just pull over son! Just stop the truck!”
Chris is the oldest of my two sons. He was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was five years old. Now at age twenty-seven, he still from time to time has problems with his blood sugar. I knew in my heart he was in insulin shock.
I could hear him keying the phone but not saying a word. The only sound was the wind blowing in the phone. Not knowing what to do next, I run back inside the office and told my boss that I was clocking out, I had to go. “Chris is in trouble, Darlene. I have to go!” She too could hear the phone with not a sound except the blowing wind.
Hysterically, I told her what I thought was happening. After working together almost seventeen years, she was all too familiar with the situation. This was one of many times I had to leave to go where he was. Frantically, she said, “Debbie! Where are you going? Do you know where he is?” Realizing I didn’t know where he was, I said, “No, I just have to go!” She pleaded with me not to leave but let her call 911.
I decided to call his work – maybe someone knew where he was going and the route he would take.
After desperately searching for his work number (which I usually knew), I called the office. I spoke with his boss and was informed that he was indeed on his way to Myrtle Beach, SC and the route that he would take would be Interstate 95. I went into a tizzy!
Today seemed to be a repeat of April 16, 2000. Chris had left work in Smithfield to go to lunch. His blood sugar had dropped while driving on Highway 70. He hit a ditch tile and a light pole after he passed out. In the automobile accident he suffered a concussion and a broken back. However, he was left with no permanent damage.
After seeing the scene of the accident, we knew he had been protected by his guardian angel. Even though he was hurt, it could have been much worse. This young man had hit a ditch tile in a yard and even a pole, but he didn’t cross over the four lanes of busy traffic. He was still alive and no one else had been hurt. That was a lot to be thankful for.
All I could think about was him being in another accident. This time on a busy interstate, on the company truck and alone! After his boss said he was on his way to find him, all I could do was pray that someone would get to him before it was too late!
Dot, our secretary, stopped by my office door. All I remember her saying was, “I’m going to pray!” I don’t remember if I said anything back to her or not, but I had no doubt that she would. As a pastor’s wife, I had heard a lot of her prayers answered before. And I knew that at this moment, Chris definitely needed prayer.
From my office I could hear Darlene on the phone with 911. She asked me what he was driving. I had no idea. I said, “A box truck with eight or ten wheels, I think it’s white!” I said, “It says Stephenson’s Heating and Air on it I think!” I don’t know why I had said that. I had never seen or heard him describe the truck other than, “A box truck.”
Darlene gave 911 the information and explained to the person on the phone that he was diabetic and was very disoriented and desperately needed help before and the same thing was probably now happening.
All the while, Chris was still holding onto the Nextel button, with his finger slipping off, then immediately back on it again, only to allow me to hear the same sound of the wind. I felt so helpless!
Back in my office, I cried, “God, please help him!”
I couldn’t get him to hang up long enough for me to call anyone else and while not really wanting to lose the little bit of contact that I had with him, I knew I had to find out exactly where he was. There had to be a way!
I thought of his girlfriend, and after he let go of the button once again, I quickly tried to reach her on her Nextel. She answered. I told her what was going on and she said she would try to talk to him to find out where he was.
At that moment, that was all I wanted to know! I knew that if I could find him, he would once again be all right. It was my only hope!
After a minute or so, Cheryl called me back to say he was at mile marker 32 on I-95. I began to feel like it was hard to breathe. He was so far away and knowing what might happen next was unbearable. Cheryl lived only three or four streets from where I work. Within a few minutes she was at the office. She knew I was unable to drive, and she had come to go with me to find him. I told her I had begged him to just tell me where he was. She said. “He wouldn’t tell me either, but he told Eric.”
Eric and Chris had been best friends for at least five or more years. We had our differences in the past but right now I thanked God for him. I later realized that had it not been for Eric, our 2005 Christmas would never have been the same.
As we were getting ready to leave, I heard a very weak voice come on the phone. It was Chris. “Mama, I think I will be ok in a few minutes,” he said.
I was so happy to hear his voice! I said, “Chris! Are you OK?” Again, he said, “I think I will be in a few minutes — I am eating something now.”
I said, “Have you stopped?”
He said, “Yeah, I am sitting in my truck beside the road.”
I said, “I am on the way. Where did you get something to eat?”
He said, “I’m eating a candy bar and drinking a Mountain Dew. The man you sent brought it to me.”
Puzzled, I asked, “The man I sent brought it to you?”
“Yes,” he said.
Thinking about Darlene calling 911, I said, did the Sheriff or Police find you? After a few seconds he said, “No – not the law. why? Are they looking for me?”
Still shaken and astonished but greatly relieved that he was safe at least for the moment, Cheryl began talking to him and told him they were looking for him and Darlene had called 911. She explained to him that we figured out he needed help and because he was so far away, we knew no other way to get help to him.
I have never had such a feeling as when he said, “A man stopped and gave me a drink and a candy bar so I think I will be all right in a few minutes.”
Everyone looked at each other. I thought to myself, the police had to find him; he was just disoriented and didn’t realize who it was. But in my heart, I knew different.
I asked, “What man, Chris? Who are you talking about?”
All of a sudden, he seemed a little agitated. He said, “Mama, that man you sent with the Mountain Dew and the Kit Kat! I don’t know who he was “the man with the long white hair and the white beard!”
All I could do was cry and Praise God! I knew without any doubt that God had sent an angel to help him. I didn’t know anyone with long white hair and a beard.
After what seemed to be the longest ride in my life, we reached mile marker 32. Cheryl exclaimed, “There’s his truck!”
The truck was sitting beside the Interstate but instead of being in the southbound lane, it was in the northbound lane. He was headed back toward Dunn instead of Myrtle Beach. Right now, it didn’t matter. We had found him!
We continued driving past him looking for an exit to get off and turn around to get where he was. We drove to the next exit about 3-4 mile turned off, went across the bridge and headed back north to where he was. When we got close to the white truck, I read “Stephenson Heating and Air.” I knew then God had truly given me the description.
There was no one around except him. I walked to the truck, and he opened the door and began to get out. He was holding a Mountain Dew and the wrapper from the Kit Kat was in his lap. I knew a miracle had happened. Chris hadn’t stopped to buy the drink and candy. There was no store around to stop at. No one would have known to stop with a candy bar or a drink. If anyone had stopped to ask if he needed help, they would probably have thought he was intoxicated. They may have called law enforcement but not with an unopened drink and candy to help someone they didn’t even know; much less know he was diabetic! Again, I thanked God because I knew He was there!
I lightly touched Chris’s neck. The truck had been running, the heater blowing, but he was ice cold! I said, “Chris, are you all right son? Why are you so cold?” He said, “I don’t know mama, but I’m all now.”
He climbed into my truck, and I asked him about the drink and the candy again. I’ll never forget the look in his tearful eyes as he described the angel that saved his life on a cold winter day:
“I heard someone telling me to stop. My brain was thinking stop but I couldn’t pick my foot up off the gas pedal and put it on the brake. I could hear them saying stop the truck but I all I could do was let off the gas so the truck would slow down, but I couldn’t make it stop.”
I asked him why he kept holding the button on the phone but wouldn’t say anything. He told us that he wasn’t able to talk but he was scared that if he let the button go, he couldn’t push it again. He said, “My finger kept sliding off and I knew I wouldn’t be able to call you back.”
Almost in tears, he continued, “When I finally stopped, I was just sitting here. A man with long hair that was kind of curled at the end and a white beard knocked on my window, but I couldn’t roll the window down. The man opened the door, touched my shoulder and handed me a drink and a candy bar. He said, “Son, sit right here, you’re going to be fine; help is on the way.”
Chris said, “I couldn’t even thank him, so I just nodded my head and he left. I don’t know where he went but I’ll never forget his face.”
Tears were rolling. Only now they were tears of joy! I always believed in angels. Maybe I had a previous experience with one but this one saved Chris’s life! This angel, sent by God, had been with my son when I was twenty-five miles away and couldn’t be.
By the time we reached the Emergency Room, Chris seemed fine. His blood tests came back okay. Once again, I realized that God is in control.
I knew what God could do. I had known for many years, but this event has changed my life forever. And I have to tell everyone. God is GOOD!