I wrote this story almost ten years ago. Lord willing on my birthday, April 16, I will be fifty-five years old. This is how it went: My name is Mae Williams at the time I was a Cancer Studies Assistant employed for the past twenty-five years at the PRM Hospital. I was told by a traveling nurse who read my palm that I had Good Guardian Angels watching over me. I would like to share with you what happened to me in the ’70s.
I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life, and I can count on one hand how many times it’s snowed here. I’ve asked my daughter Courtney, who is now thirty years old, and the youngest of my three children about this encounter, and she doesn’t remember a thing. Courtney was born in 1978, so I figure she was a little over a year old when this happened. I was married then, living in a two bedroom apartment at the bottom of a hill surrounded by a seven-foot wire fence, there was one way in and only one way out.
I remember it had just started to snow. Courtney was at her great grandmother’s house, my now ex-husband’s grandmother, so I thought I’d better go get her and I’d stop by the grocery store while I was out because the cabinets were pretty much empty and who knows, we might get snowed in, “joke.” I bought a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, whatever else I had purchased I don’t remember, but I had a big bag full of groceries. The snow was steadily falling.
I arrived at my daughter’s great grandmother’s house; she begged me to stay because she felt the weather was too bad for me to drive all the way back home in. Well this was one time I wish I had listened to her. I assured her that we would be okay and that I’d be home in no time, so we left. The snow was falling harder and faster. I had to go across a bridge; my car kept sliding and skidding towards the rails of the bridge. I was so scared. I couldn’t control my car. I’m a terrible driver. I thought, “Oh God, please just let me make it home safe with my baby.” We must have been about five miles from home, traffic was terrible. The snow was falling heavily, the roads were slushy and icy, the traffic lights were out, and a police officer was conducting traffic. I made it across the bridge but my car was out of control. I kept sliding towards the curb the police officer blew his whistle at me. I remember his exact works, “Ma’am if you can’t drive it, park it! So I tried one more time still sliding I couldn’t control the car. I parked the car on the side of the road, got my daughter by the hand, and grabbed my bag of groceries. I walked about half a block up the street to a pay phone. I thought I’d call home to see if my husband could come get us, well all I got was a busy signal so I called a cab. Cabs weren’t running the weather was so bad. I thought, “Guess we’d better start walking.” Just then a man walked up to me and said “Can I tote that bag for you?” I said, “Yes, thank you. I have to walk home.” I explained that I couldn’t drive my car; he said, “I’ll see you home safe.” He reached out his arms for my bag of groceries and led us across the street. The traffic was so bad, I don’t think I could have made it across the street without him.
I remember looking at him, he was different, I can’t tell you exactly how he looked, but he was a black man, he wore a turban around his head, he had on a long robe with a sash tied around his waist, and I remember he had on combat boots; he said he was a Muslim. He told me his name and what it meant but I can’t remember what it was, he said he was married and he had children. It was freezing cold, I took off my jacket and wrapped it around my daughter, we took turns between carrying the groceries and my daughter. He would tote her a while and I would carry the groceries, I would carry her a while and he would carry the groceries but mostly he carried her. (She was heavy.) We walked and we talked but I can’t tell you what we talked about, my feet were frozen, my hands were as cold as ice and numb, I was miserable.
We must have walked about three miles, we past a Laundromat I don’t remember what was said but he made us go inside, and he took my shoes off, put them in the dryer and he gave us a cup of hot chocolate. My daughter was running around playing. I drank the hot chocolate, put my warm shoes on and off we went maybe two more miles to go. We headed out again walking and talking, still can’t tell you what we talked about. I was freezing, my whole body was numb, but finally I could see my apartment at the bottom of the hill. I was so happy, we made it! I walked up the steps to the back door, and set my bag of groceries on the kitchen table. I heard my husband and son, Cedrick, upstairs; when they heard me come in they started running downstairs. I turned to the nice man still holding my daughter in his arms and reached for her, he handed her to me, I turned to put her down, she ran off playing as if nothing had happened. My husband and son came running in; my husband said, “Where have you been?” I gestured and said, “If it wasn’t for this nice man here, we wouldn’t have made it home. “My husband and son looked at each other and then they looked at me and said, “What man?” I said, “This man.” I turned, it was only seconds, it was as if he had disappeared into thin air. We looked to see if we could see him walking up the hill, he wasn’t there. My husband said, “Look, there is only one set of footprints here coming towards the door, if someone was with you, where are his footprints?” I was too tired and too cold to try and figure it out. I told my husband where the car was parked, and he and my son went to get it. I dragged myself upstairs and fell into bed. My body was numb. I drifted off to sleep. The next day I asked my son Cedrick and my husband if that had seen the nice man walking that had helped me when they went out to get the car. I described to them what he was wearing, they said, he would have been easy to spot and, no, they didn’t see him. My husband said, “Your footprints were the only ones there and there’s only one way in and only one way out, we would have seen him.” So to this day I think he was one of my Good Guardian Angels. I know we wouldn’t have made it home without him. It all seemed like a dream but it wasn’t.