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Letter: Were They Angels?

It was the 4th of July and I left my daughter in Oyster Bay early because my heart was bothering me.

Suddenly, coming down the hill from Oyster Bay around the pond, all systems of the truck seemed to fail. I tried steering with all my might to no avail. At the last second the vehicle stopped just at the fence guarding the pond.

Relief washed over me. Suddenly a car coming down the hill slammed into me. The driver got out, looked, saw no damage to his car. He took off, offering me no help. I was stunned at the apparent human disinterest. I then realized that all the subsequent cars would hit me as the visibility was none.

Out of nowhere, a red van pulled up. My preconception was not good, and it was getting dark. A large, heavyset man approached. Again, relief mixed with panic enveloped me. He offered to pull me with his hitch to Glen Cove. I noticed a woman and teenage girl in the van. The driver, Earl Grant, said his wife would not let him continue his evening without helping me first.

They all pulled me all the way to the shopping center in Glen Cove where my truck promptly exploded. I did not know how to thank them. Earl explained that no thanks were necessary and thanks will come in this life or the next. Filled with gratitude at their kindness, I explained they could now leave me.

I sat down on the bench outside of Stop & Shop. All of a sudden my heart started acting jumpy. I started making calls, getting no one. It was the 4th of July and everyone was at the fireworks display. While crying, a young man tapped me on the shoulder, asking if I was OK. I saw Dave Ruiz, the owner of Juicy Burger on Glen Cove Avenue and his girlfriend standing there. He said, “You are Alex’s grandmother.” He knew me from bringing my grandson to his stand for ice cream. They decided to forego their plans and kindly drove me home to Glen Head.

I learned so much that night. My fate was sealed from the start I am sure. I am equally sure that Earl and Dave came from a good place. It is that place in people’s hearts we think of as goodness, love and empathy. Were they angels of a sort? I don’t know. I do know that their actions made all the difference that night. Instead of my becoming fish food that evening, I was home safe. Whether you call it fate, God’s work, or the intrinsic good in mankind, it doesn’t matter. This night gave me faith in hope.

Sylvia Von Zuleger