As a teenager, I wanted to visit my boyfriend who lived in an adjoining town. I took my mother’s car; paid no attention to the gas gage.While there, I had fallen asleep watching TV and awoke well past midnight. I was panicked, it was dark outside and very few vehicles on the streets. I passed through a part of town on my way home that did not allow trucks. (Parkway in TN {usa} near the zoo. The area where the wealthy brought their horses to ride the boulevard). I ran out of gas. I had no or little money. Gasoline was about twenty-five cents a gallon way back then. My allowance was $5 a week which had to pay for school lunches as well.)

It was a time when cell phones did not exist. Certainly no phone booths around, who would I have to call? My boyfriend had no car, only a Honda50 motorcycle. Awaken my mother, my 7 siblings and my father? All a moot point because there was nothing commercial in site. I was just out of luck. Period.

However, I immediately got out of the car. Such a stupid thing to do. Walked to the back of the car and stopped. The gas tank was on the driver’s side of the car. (Now this is very odd because I remember walking around the back of the car to get to the gasoline port. Just as immediate, a huge 18 wheeler stopped, a male got out with gasoline container in hand, put the gasoline in my car. He said not one word. I said nothing. (Very unusual for talkative me.) He got back in the truck and left. I have no memory of the sound that a huge 18 wheeler makes. My car started without hesitation (!! How often does that happen when you run out of gasoline?) and I was on my way.

It took me years to understand what happened. How did he get his 18 wheeler onto a street prohibited to him? It was residential. Was I dreaming? No. I caught a bit of a sermon for coming home so late and taking my mother’s car AND for leaving the car empty of gasoline. So, it was real. Did the sign really exist? It had for years but I went back to find it. It was still there. Parkway is a beautiful, beautiful street, I had never seen 18 wheelers on any of the Parkways that ring the town but this section is the only one that has signs prohibiting trucks. The street has lights but not the same as bright street lights. It was dark but maybe as much light from a full moon shown through the trees.

I could not describe what the man looked like. No words exchanged. I came to know in my heart that person was sent to help a teenager girl, out of gasoline, on a street not well traveled by cars much less trucks (because they were not allowed) and to keep me safe from harm. This happened many, many years ago, over 50. But the image of that night still comes to visit me from time to time. I no longer question that it happened. It was real. But how??

Sandra OConnor