Have you ever had an experience where you needed support and someone showed up,
helped you and disappeared before you could even say, thank you? I call these people angels. Sometimes they pull you out of danger's way; other times, they teach you something you needed to know; and sometimes they provide you with financial support when you
desperately needed it. Can you think of an angel in your life?
ANGELS IN THE CITY OF ANGELS
My first angel experience occurred when I
was living in the city of angels, Los Angeles, California. I used to live near Whittier College with my wife and three children, all below the age of five years. I worked on the weekends selling Time Shares in Pasadena, to make a little extra money. I realized
later that believing that selling Time Shares was a real money making option was pure fantasy because, in reality, most of the sales people I knew, make little or no money over the three years that I worked in the industry.
At the time, I owned a four
seater BMW which had just enough space for my three child seats in the back and my wife, Berkeley and I, in the front. Since we had one car, Berkeley would drive me to work in the mornings with the kids in the back and come back in the evening to pick me up
after work. To get Pasadena from our home in Whittier was a twenty-minute drive up the 605 Freeway and then another twenty minutes along the 210 Freeway to the Time Share offices in downtown Pasadena.
One Sunday near closing hours, a stranger walked
into the room, approached me and said, "Are you, Baron?" I answered affirmatively. He excitedly continued, " Your family needs you." "Your car broke down, and your wife and three kids are stuck on the side of the 210 Freeway." Those were the days before cell
phones, and Berkeley had no way to reach me except through this man who drove twenty minutes out of his way to find me and take me to her. As we set off to get my family, I asked, this total stranger, why he was doing this. His answer was that working with
the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, gave him an opportunity to hear many stories about stranded people on the freeways suffering abuse or worse. And, he did not want my wife and kids suffer that faith.
When we arrived my attention went immediately
to my wife who was attending to three babies on the side of the highway. I ran over to make sure that she was okay and to discuss what to do with my car. When I finally turned to say thank you, my angel was gone.
MY NIKON D80
I love to take pictures, and for most of the twenty years I have been taking pictures, I used a Nikon film camera. However, as the technology
improved, I planned to purchase a digital camera, but each time I looked, the price was too high for me.
However, around three years ago, a terrific friend, Barbara Jeske, decided to give me her Nikon D80 camera because she was not using it. I was in
extasy. I had to make some minor corrections to get it working right. To add to the significance of my Nikon D80, Barbara died, and the D80 was a small part of Barbara that I could carry around with me as I traveled the world taking pictures.
my first trip with the camera, I was going on the Long Island Railroad to see my friend, Fred, before I departed from Kennedy airport for the Ukraine. As is my custom, I would fall asleep on the train but hopefully, wake up before I arrive at the Stony Brook
Station. This time I became present when the conductor shouted, "Stony Brook!' In a panic I grabbed the three bags I had and ran off the train, leaving my D80 camera on the seat behind me.
"Oh my God!" was my first reaction as I stood on the station
platform watching the train pull away with my camera. The only good news was the next train stop was the Port Jefferson Station, the last stop on this train line. My immediate thoughts were to follow the train as quickly as possible and look for my camera
at the next stop. When Fred arrived, I screamed, "Follow that train. I left my camera on the train." Without hesitation, Fred put the car in gear and raced toward the Port Jefferson Station. However, the traffic was quite heavy, and we could not move as fast
as we would like, but after about fifteen minutes we arrived at the station, but there was no train had already left.
in, "The train must be in the train yard, and I know where that is." Off we went along the back streets of Port Jefferson until we found the train yard. It was dusk when we got there, and there were no cars around. Fred stayed in the car as I sheepishly walked
in the depot. The train was there, but there was no one in sight except one man leaving his office near the back of the yard. I ran over to the man, told him my problem and asked him for help. To my surprise, he sprang into action immediately; running to the
front of the train to find the engineer. He told the engineer that I left my expensive camera on the train and would he take a look to see if he could find it.
Off the engineer went looking side to side in each car, moving as fast as he could but he returned
shaking his head to indicate that he did not find my Nikon D80. I had lost my only piece of Barbara. I was dejected and about to walk back to the car when I ask the engineer if there was a Lost and Found area. He answered that the Lost and Found was in that
locked garbage bin against the wall.
We ran to the bin as the train started its journey back to New York City. The bin had a huge lock on it with a relatively small lid for people to drop things through the hole. When I look through the hole, I saw
nothing but darkness but my friend had a smartphone with a light, and when he put the light in the hole, we could see the camera at the bottom of the bin. I erupted with laughter. However, when I inquired about the process to get the camera from Lost and Found,
I discovered that it would be a long, complicated process. I decided to get the camera out of the locked bin. I found a long stick with a hook and with the help of light from the smartphone, I was able to get the camera out of the bin. I hugged my friend and
gave him a kiss and ran off to tell Fred the good news. Our efforts had paid off.
There were many angels in this story. Fred and his speeding car and his unquestioned commitment to help me catch the train. The rail yard worker with the smartphone and
the engineer who was willing to delay his train to help someone he did not know. I can remember being in an awkward situation without help. But this time, with the coordinated efforts of my three angels, I was able to take my D80 to Europe and captured some
AN ANGEL AT THE HUNTINGTON TRAIN STATION
I not sure why but my angels
seem to show up at train stations. I was again off on one of my yearly trips. This time I would be traveling for two months, and so I was carrying four bags - two large fifty-pound bags and two small carry-on sized bags. Usually, I would only take my computer
bag and a rolling suitcase with all my clothes. But since I was going to away for around sixty days, I needed my computer, travel documents, my Nikon D80, medication, since I am diabetic, and my clothes.
Navigating four bags is a struggle even when
they roll. I had to get them on or off trains, wait for the elevator instead of using an escalator. And there is no way; I could easily carry one hundred pounds of bags up and down stairs. I had successfully made my first train ride from Albany, New York to
Penn Station and had used the elevators and the relatively smooth rolling surfaces to get around. However, my first challenge occurred when I was forced to use the escalator to get to the Long Island Railroad ticket counters. As I stood at the top of the escalator
trying to figure out how to safely get onto the escalator, a good samaritan offered to take one of my large bags down with him.
I made a shy of relief. After getting my ticket, I positioned myself in front of an elevator to wait for the track number
for the train to Huntington. At Huntington, I would have to change trains to go to Stony Brook. The ride to Huntington was uneventful, but as I got off the train, I could sense that I might have some problems.
Usually, the train to Stony Brook comes
in on the same track as the train from Penn Station. However, tonight, I noticed that everyone was climbing the two flight of stairs to get to the narrow corridor that would take them to the platform on the other side of the station. I stood there in disbelief
as the train to Stony Brook rolled into the station. My first thought was to find the elevator. At this moment of indecision and uncertainty, my angel showed up. To tell you the truth, he looked like a homeless man who was about to approach me for some money.
I asked him where I would find the elevators to get me to the other side of the station. He said that the elevator did not work and if I did not hurry, I would miss my train. It was eleven at night, and I was not sure if this was the last train and what would
be consequences if I missed it.
Without saying another word, this man grabbed my largest bag and started to run. He was quite high because he ran with he ran with the fifty-pound bag as it was a feather. At first, I did not know what he was doing. Maybe,
he was stealing my bag. I wasn't sure. I ran after him. He started up one flight of stairs then another as if he was an athlete. I struggled to keep up, but at least, I realized that he was trying to help me catch the train. I was huffing and pushing as I
ran across the corridor to downstairs to the train. My angel was already on the platform holding open the last open door on the train. As I got to him, I extend my hand, he shook it, I got on the train, and he disappeared into the darkness of the night.
I felt inspired, lucky, blessed and decided to write about him. But as I started to write, I realized this was a reoccurring experience. My life is full of angels. I am a fortunate human being who has been supported and helped by so many great people. I
am who I am because of the angels in my life. I will tell you about some of the people who have changed my life forever in upcoming stories.