Joan was driving her eight-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, to her weekly ballet lesson.
They were very late, and Joan was beginning to think she should have cancelled it instead of rushing around like a mad woman. There was always so much to do, and Joan, a night-duty nurse at the local hospital, had recently worked extra shifts in order to make ends meet. She was a single mom, raising Elizabeth all on her own, and needed to take all the work she could get. She didn't want to let her little girl down and knew she had to be strong for the two of them.
She was exhausted. The snow storm and icy roads added to her tension. Maybe she should turn the car around and just go home. What kind of crazy person goes out on a day like this?
"Mom!" Elizabeth cried. "Look!" Just ahead, a small car had lost control on a patch of, what appeared to be, black ice. As Joan tapped the brakes, the other car spun wildly rolled over, then crashed sideways into a telephone pole.
Joan pulled over, skidded to a stop and threw open her door. Thank goodness she was a nurse - the wreck looked bad and she might be able to help these unfortunate passengers trapped inside the crumpled car.
Then she paused. What about Elizabeth? She couldn't take her with her to the mangled mess that lie ahead. Little girls shouldn't see scenes like the one she anticipated. But was it safe to leave her alone? What if their car were hit from behind?
For a brief moment Joan considered going on her way. Someone else was sure to come along. But, her conscious would not allow her to leave. She had to help. No! "Elizabeth, honey, promise me you'll stay in the car!"
"I will, Mommy," she said as she ran, slipping and sliding toward the crash site. It was worse than she'd feared. Two boys of high school age are in the car. One, the blonde on the passenger side, was bleeding from a large gash on the side of his head. His face look crushed and it was apparent the boy was not breathing. He was dead, killed on impact.
The driver, however was still breathing. He was unconscious and, still strapped in with his seat belt, pinned in the wreckage. Joan quickly applied pressure to the wound in the teenager's head while her practiced eye catalogued the other injuries. A broken leg, maybe two, along with probable internal bleeding. But if help came soon, this young man would live.
Suddenly, a trucker had pulled up and after seeing the grave situation began quickly calling for help on his cellular phone. Soon Joan heard the ambulance sirens blaring ever close from the distance. A few moments later she surrendered her lonely post to rescue workers.
"Good job," one said as he examined the driver's wounds. "You probably saved this man's life, ma'am." Perhaps Joan thought.
But as Joan walked back to her car a feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, especially for the family of the boy who had died. Their lives would never be the same. Oh God, why do such things have to happen? Why is God so cruel? Shaking her head, she thought how unfair life was to have robbed this young man of his life. To put a period on his future.
Slowly Joan opened her car door. What should she tell Elizabeth? She was staring at the crash site, her soft blue eyes huge. "Mom," she whispered, "did you see it?"
"See what, Honey?" she asked.
"The angel, Mom! She came floating down from the sky while you were running to the car. And she opened the door, and she took that boy out."
Joan's eyes filled with tears. "Which door, Elizabeth?"
"The passenger side. She took the boy's hand, and they drifted up to Heaven together. The boy had a pair of wings and they flew disappearing behind the clouds."
"What about the driver?"
Elizabeth shrugged. "I didn't see anyone else."
Later, at the hospital were Joan worked, she was able to meet the families of the victims. They expressed their gratitude for the help she had provided. Joan was able to give them something more - Elizabeth's vision.
There was no way she could have known what happened to either of the passengers. Nor could the passenger door have been opened; Joan had seen its tangle of immovable steel herself. Yet Elizabeth's account brought consolation to a grieving family. Their son was safe in Heaven. And they would see him again.