The noise started about 10 or 15 minutes into my trip. I was traveling a back road heading home after a day-long meeting when I heard it. Something wasn't right. I pulled off to the side and groped for my cell phone. Larry answered on the second or third ring. "Something's not right with the van. It's shaking and making a horrible racket and I think the engine might be overheated." I was pretty sure that was steam rising from the hood. He had tried to get me to take our new car for the day, but I'd insisted on driving the vehicle that was pushing two-hundred-thousand miles and becoming more and more temperamental. "I'll be fine," I'd told him that morning as I'd headed out. "Where are you?" he asked. I knew there was a church just a mile or so further down the road. "See if you can get that far," he encouraged me.
I sat there for a minute or so longer. Then breathing a prayer, I turned the key. I knew as soon as I hit the pavement things were worse. The van was shaking almost uncontrollably, but I pressed on a bit further until I saw a couple of houses to my right. I stopped and pulled over as far as I could onto the grass, climbed out and walked around the perimeter of the car. The front tire on the passenger side was flat, the rim completely exposed. Three kids were playing in the front yard and stopped to watch as a young man came flying across the yard from the next place over. He took a good look at the damage. "Looks like you could use some help. I'll be right back."
I called Larry again. This time he answered on the first ring. "I've got a flat and I don't even know where the tire or the jack are in this thing!" But I needn't have worried, for at that very moment my rescuer was back, driving a small tractor with the largest jack I'd ever seen sitting in its dump bucket. In a matter of just a few minutes, he had the car up, the culprit off and the donut on. "Just don't go over fifty going home," he said, "and you'll be fine."
Turns out his name is Cory. He lives with his dogs and races demolition derby. He'd hit a deer a couple days earlier in his pickup and was out in his front yard working on it when I just happened to pull over in front of his place. "I could hear you coming, " he told me. "I knew you had a flat." He was a lot smarter than me. If I'd known I'd had a flat, I wouldn't have budged from where I'd pulled over the first time. But the One who watches over me had it all worked out ahead of time. He had someone in place who is really into cars, ready to help and to send me on my way. He was my angel that day and I told him so. He just shrugged as if it was no big deal. But it was. It truly was.