Emily Williams Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 29, 2007

Influence of angels felt on writer’s eventful Gulf Coast vacation

Commentary by

 Emily Williams

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I once read, “Where there is love, there is an angel nearby.”

This thought came home to me after a trip to the Gulf Coast last weekend to attend the Mississippi Press Association convention.

I was very worn out after the long drive to the Beau Rivage Hotel in Biloxi, but still had a little bit of energy to check out the beach, or so I thought.

It wasn’t long after walking up and down the beach that my pregnant intuition let me know it was time to eat.

I told my husband Jeremy it was time to get back. As I used my last bit of energy to walk back to the truck, I realized that my husband had locked the keys in the truck.

A few of the local homeless people noticed we were stressed and offered us the number to the local police station.

After a 20-minute wait, it turned out the police couldn’t help.

The baby let me know that it was time for supper and a nap.

A nice man in a camper let us borrow a coat hanger to attempt to break in to our own vehicle, but neither Jeremy nor I have experience with that sort of thing.

I started to tear up at the thought of sitting at that beach any longer.

One of the homeless locals said, “Let me help.”

I whispered to Jeremy, “I bet he’s going to ask for a tip.”

The man told us that he was formerly of Chicago and knew what he was doing.

“Don’t get the wrong idea. I have changed,” he laughed. “I am married to a Christian woman now.”

He maneuvered the coat hanger for about 45 minutes until the truck was unlocked.

He refused to take money as a reward for helping us.

As he walked away toward his temporary home under a bridge, he turned around and gave us a sincere smile and waved.

“He must have been an angel,” I said to Jeremy.

On our way home I saw a billboard advertising an art exhibit.

“The angels are here,” it said.

I took it as a sign and smiled to myself.

As we got closer to home we were feeling very tired and anxious to get our kids and get in our beds at home.

But we couldn’t get home as fast as we wanted.

We came upon a car just after it had wrecked.

“Do you want to stop and help?” Jeremy asked.

“No!” I screamed. “Those people aren’t alive!”

Jeremy ignored my command and stopped anyway.

As he got out of the truck to check on the people in the car I heard moans.

One cry was from a child and I felt something push me out of our truck.

A  man who witnessed the wreck said that the family had hit a deer and flipped their new car.

Every window was broken and there were toys and personal belongings tossed all over the side of the interstate.

The passenger of the vehicle was okay, but concerned about his wounded wife in the driver’s seat.

He unstrapped his three-year-old son and placed him on the ground.

The little boy stood beside the car and started crying in fear.

As I picked him up to comfort him, I felt his body tremble. His lips were quivering and he was scared.

“Where is my baby? Is my baby okay?” I heard the voice of the mother still inside the wrecked vehicle.

I stepped up to the window and said, “He is here and he is okay.”

She calmly said, “Thank you.”

The little boy put his head on my chest and I felt his body stop shaking. His name was Brevran and he was going home to Missouri after a vacation trip to Florida. We made friends and he didn’t want to let go when the ambulance arrived.

“Keep up with these people. They have been our saviors,” I heard Brevran’s father tell the EMT.

During the wait for the ambulance we offered to take all of the family’s belongings out of the wrecked car to the hospital.

We followed the ambulance to the hospital and dropped their belongings off. The doctors said the family would be all right.

We drove home with our adrenaline pumping.

Angels, I read, are messengers of God, guardian spirits, and guiding influences.

I believe angels must have guided and influenced us.