In 1980, driving north near the San Antonio Union Stockyards on Interstate 35, traffic stopped both directions on the overpass. Forward and to my left, was the cab of a jack-knifed 18-wheeler. It was literally hanging, perhaps 40 feet above a drainage creek that flows west of downtown parellel to the expressway.
Spurred by adrenaline, I jumped out of my car to join several others who ran toward the dangling truck.
The driver was mostly laying on his steering wheel looking down below. Of course, he was in near shock. We coaxed him to roll his door window down and try to climb out so we could reach him.
With some older men holding me and my belt, I stretched downward until the man and I locked arms. As we all struggled, someone yelled, “watch out. It’s gonna fall.”
I can only remember a woman screaming and a then a blaring, shattering crash as the side rail went down.
Three of us were able to get the trucker over the mangled guardrail and onto the asphalt with us.
Frank Cantu, the driver, clutched both arms around me in sheer relief.
“Thank you,” he cried out and hugged us each. “Thank you all. Thank God. YOU ARE MY ANGELS!”
Over the years, I know I have crossed paths with living “angels” and thought about those intense moments involving Mr. Cantu.
Often, we watch the news or hear about the evil and bad in people. It doesn’t seem to be as easy to notice the good that is constantly around us. But it’s true, there are human angels all around.
Police, fire, emergency responders, and ordinary people go to help others everyday in some of the most tense and trying moments of our lives. Hurricanes, floods and disasters cause us to step in and help those in need. There are heroes and angels abound.
Dodie is a devoted Bible reader and spends daily time with her devotionals and study guides. Her heart flourishes with kindness and care for others. Maybe that’s one reason she was a registered nurse since the late 1970s.
A very sweet friend from our youth, Becky Taylor–who also takes care of others with health care needs– recently enjoyed a good meal with us in the John Wayne Dining Room at the OST (Old Spanish Trail) Restaurant in Bandera, Texas.
Dodie and Becky had not seen each other in over 45 years since our days at McCollum High School in south San Antonio.
After the meal we went outside to a bench to chat and watch tourists, shoppers and cowpokes (Bandera is the Cowboy Capitol of the World) stroll by. It was almost midnight by the time we left.
Becky had recently sent me an email about her three encounters with angels during her life. We wanted her to share these with us in person. They are included in this article.
When I was in the third grade, I escaped an attempted abduction by a sex predator who tried to get me in his station wagon. At the same age, Dodie also ran from a man who invited her into his car and when she refused, he stopped and started coming after her in her neighborhood when she was walking home from elementary school. She ran to a nearby neighbor who let her in.
In my case, I distinctly heard a voice or message tell me to run. I did run! Even today I wonder where the voice in my head came from.
Hearing Becky’s experiences prompted a search about angels.
“Angels are certainly real; the Bible repeatedly tells us about them and the work God has given them to do,” wrote Billy Graham. “They are spiritual beings, the Bible says, who were created by God to do His will. The Bible says, ‘Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?’ (Hebrews 1:14).
Graham said “one of heaven’s joys, I believe, will be the joy of looking back over our lives and discovering just how often the angels intervened to save us or bless us — although we weren’t even aware of it at the time. The Psalmist said that God ‘will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways’ (Psalm 91:11).”
The following are Becky’s three encounters with angels.
Angel Encounter 1
“The first one was when I was 4 years old. We were raised in the church, and I remember Mama asking for prayer for me as I had to have surgery on my thyroid, but all I could comprehend was the anxiety of my parents and that I was going to be away, alone and I would not feel well.”
“I was so afraid the night before I was to be admitted, I couldn’t sleep.”
“The way my bedroom I shared with my two sisters was arranged, the door to the bedroom was directly at the foot of my bed leading into the kitchen.”
“As I was lying on my back, worrying and being scared, I saw the sweetest lady, dressed all in white, whom I’d never seen before, walk from the right side of my bed to the left, looked at me and smiled, then walked through the door and into the kitchen.”
“It startled me but did not scare me. I jumped up and went into the kitchen but she was gone. In my heart, I knew it was an angel to calm me. (My subsequent surgery went well and I was home I think in about two weeks.)”
Angel Encounter 2
“The second one is rather sensitive as you know the husband here in this story. But this one also has stuck with me through many hard times with and about him.”
“We were still very young, in our 20’s, taking our first (and only) family vacation with our two small children.”
“My husband had recently received his pilot’s license so we were flying to Arlington, Texas for a few days to visit Six Flags Over Texas there.”
“We had already gotten the rental car and checked in to our motel room before heading out to the park. Even with the rental car, we had quite a distance to walk before being able to enter.”
“The youngest son was very fussy and would not settle down which frustrated his father so much so that he demanded we leave the park just after we had finally arrived.”
“After pleading not to give up yet and try to salvage the day, an argument ensued.”
“And the argument continued.”
“To make a long story short, he then decided the vacation was over and we were to fly home that night. He was very angry by that time, blamed everything on me, and I remember being very afraid of what would happen to me once we were home.”
“As we sat there in silence the whole flight home, I remember how I felt – scared, sad, confused, angry, disappointed, and praying. Praying to just be happy and not be so afraid all the time (of his anger and subsequent demonstration of it), and just needing God’s help in what to do with this situation and my life.”
“The little Cessna we flew home in only sat four people. We had decided the best seating arrangements were for me to sit in the back with the youngest son and the older son sat in the front next to him as he piloted the plane back to San Antonio’s Stinson Field Airport.”
“I am sitting behind and to the right of my husband with only the window to my very immediate right (those planes are small and loud) and I distinctly and quite clearly heard a female voice I did not recognize, say to me in my right ear, “You will never be happy with this man.”
“At the time I heard this, it really startled me. I looked around and even asked him if there was a radio on or something and if he heard anything.”
“There wasn’t. And he didn’t hear anything. But I knew what I had heard and through the years, that advice continued to help me.”
Angel Encounter 3
“Third time, was the morning of December 5, 2019. As you know I work overnights and I was driving home when a van pulled out in front of me and I T-boned him.”
“Standing close to the road and to the driveway was the nicest human angel. As soon as my car came to a rolling stop, and I started to assess everything, he runs up to my car door and starts to help me.”
“He was very excited and shook up saying he witnessed it all, and kept repeating “are you all right?” He helped me get out of my car, my right foot was hurt and my shoe was stuck at the brake pedal, then he grabbed my shoe, helped me put it back on and helped me hobble a few feet away to safety.”
“Then he took an extra t-shirt he had and tied a tourniquet on my right forearm as I was bleeding. He said a few different things that really stood out to me and that I’ve replayed in my head many times: he said he’s seen that type accident before and it killed the person and he was praising God I was alive.”
“He said he then understood why he was there at that time because he had been standing at a different gas station across the highway telling people about God and got run off, where he was waiting for his ride to take him to work, but this was where he was meant to be.”
“He said he was a new Christian and prayed over me. He gave me his name but didn’t have a phone or any contact info so he gave me a postcard/flyer from his church to try to contact him there.”
“But the one thing that really stood out to me and I remember being surprised and distracted from everything else going on, was his eyes. They looked exactly like my daddy’s.”
“My earthly daddy, who passed in December of 1995. He told me he would stay to talk to the police and be a witness for me because I was taken away in an ambulance. But his name wasn’t on the police report and I was never able to find him calling the church. Frank, and I can’t believe I’ve forgotten his last name.”
“Do angels still appear?” wrote Rev. Graham. “I’m convinced they do on occasion — although sometimes we may not even be aware of them, because they have chosen to appear as ordinary human beings.”
“We should thank God for His angels, but at the same time, we shouldn’t become overly preoccupied with them,” Graham noted. “Nor should we worship them, for only God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — is worthy of our worship.”