A Little Angel Named Miguel

I’m convinced after this past weekend that there are lots of little angels in the world. I’m not talking so much about good friends as I am about strangers who enter our lives when we’re lost or need a pick-me-up. More often than not, these angels remain unnamed.

I encountered one of these little helpers last Friday while on my way to Washington, D.C., for a journalism workshop. I was looking forward to the trip but then got worried when I found out that I wouldn’t have a ride from the Dulles Airport to my friend’s house, which was 45 minutes away in Arlington. I didn’t want to be alone in the city late at night, and I didn’t know much about D.C.’s public transportation system, having never been to there before. I wasn’t sure how I would get to the workshop each day, either.

On the way to the airport, we hit traffic. My trusty airport driving buddy, Leslie, had agreed to drive me, not knowing that her car would break down on the way. Pitter, patter, putter. Out it went. The cranberry-colored Saab happened to break down right next to a car crash on a median strip alongside the airport exit. I called AAA and then waited and hoped the tow truck driver would come soon so he could drop me off at the airport before taking Leslie’s car to the mechanic. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Forty-five minutes before my flight left. Still no tow truck. I was about to call a cab when a Super Shuttle pulled alongside the car after a police officer had flagged it down.

The shuttle driver took my bags and put them in the back of the shuttle. I gave Leslie my AAA card and hopped into the shuttle. At that point I didn’t even want to go to D.C. I’d been traveling a lot lately and felt like staying in town for the weekend. As I drove toward the airport, I started to cry.

“Why are you upset?” the shuttle driver asked.

“I’m nervous I’ll miss my flight, and … I don’t know, it’s been a long day.”

He responded with something to the effect of: “Don’t worry. No need to cry. God has a way of making things happen. He will help you. There are lot of reasons to worry in the world, but this isn’t so bad. You will be alright, you will be fine.”

I realized once I got to D.C. that he was right — I didn’t have reason to worry. I made my plane (barely), I took a cab to my friend’s apartment, and I traveled on the metro while in the city, quite easily in fact.

I’ll probably never see the shuttle driver again, but I’ll remember what he did for me, helping to give me. I wanted to know who he was, and I didn’t want him to be forgotten.

As he handed me my bags, I thanked him and asked, “What’s your name?”

“Miguel,” he said, nodding his head and smiling.

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

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