To the Woman on the Porch,
I’m not sure where to start or even who to address this letter to. I mean, how do you start a letter to a woman you don’t know but briefly met over ten years ago?
I guess I can start by saying thank you. 12 years ago, sometime in the summer, when the sun was shining and life was good I, along with my twin sister and grandma where in a horrible car accident right outside your home. To this day I’m not sure whose fault it was my grandma’s who had a stop sign and was turning left or the drunk man that was speeding down the road at 80mph. All I do know is one minute it was clear and the next it wasn’t. And then, time froze. I looked to the right out my window and considered climbing out of the car and climbing onto the small grassy mound that was part of someone’s front yard because there was more than enough time to get to safety. As I turned to my grandma to tell her my plan the cars collided and everything went black.
And then a man, the one that had been sitting on your front porch with you was opening my grandma’s door and putting her cold-water bottle to her forehead while telling her not to move. I went into control mode and quickly climbed out of the car, wanting to help just as my grandma began panicking thinking that powder from the airbags was smoke. As the man calmed her I unbuckled my twin sister who was in the backseat behind me and pulled her from the car. We thankfully where able to walk away. But my grandma wasn’t so lucky.
By now my parents, little sister, and paternal grandparents where on the scene and I broke. I was only 11 but was disgusted with myself for crying but I couldn’t stop. And I only cried harder as I ran to my parents who were parked down the street and passed the man who had hit us. He was covering his face with a bloody towel. I would later learn that he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and had hit his windshield. I’ve never hated anyone before but I hated that man. My grandma was being loaded into an ambulance at that moment because of him and we weren’t sure she would live. His car had hit her door perfectly, the car was totaled.
As my family and I made are way back to the scene to see my grandma off to the hospital my tears became heavier and I realize now that I was having a panic attack. Then, you approached. The man that had helped us was long gone but you where there with presents of all things. Offering each one of us a stuffed animal which I gratefully accepted and hugged it to my chest. Realizing only in that moment that my chest hurt, I had a slight burn from the airbag on my chest. But that didn’t matter. All I cared about was my grandma. As the ambulance left you offered words of comfort to us. Explaining what the neck brace she had been wearing was for and that everything would be okay. And then you were gone but I have never forgotten you.
I was a stranger to you and you cared for me. You were a blessing. My family and I could have crashed and no one could have come to our aid. Neither my sister, grandma, or I had a cellphone and what would have happened to the drunk man who was nearly unconscious after we crashed?
Yet you were there and you helped me. Someone who could not pay you back. And while I no longer have the stuffed animal you gifted with me or even remember what it looked like I remember you and always will. You and that wonderful man that were seated on the porch.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. -Matthew 25:35