It happened in Ocala, Florida. I had gone for a late meal at the Bob Evans Restaurant in Ocala with my sister and her husband, Bob. My wife had passed away just 6 months before at our home in Wingate, North Carolina and I decided to move down by my sister and nephew, at least for a temporary period of time.
In Ocala, I lived maybe, 10-15 minutes away from my sister Loraine and her husband Bob. During the meal at Bob Evans, my sister said she was having trouble breathing and so I suggested we box up the food, which we had just begun to eat, and that they take their portion home, which they agreed to do.
Since my sister had been having some physical problems and being now near 80 years old, and her husband Bob had been suffering the ravages of Alzheimers disease for several years, I decided to call their oldest son Bobby who lived in the area, to let him know the situation. I was driving west up highway 326 toward home, trying to reach Bobby on my cell phone, and it was now dark.
I was not concentrating on the roadway but on my unsuccessful efforts to reach Bobby. Besides, there are but few street lights along the way. Up ahead was a familiar railroad track that I had crossed many times before, almost every day, in fact. Momentarily, looking out to the highway, I suddenly saw the railroad crossing up immediately up ahead. I had no idea I was that close to the tracks.
And the arms were down, which I had not noticed until I was almost upon the crossing. Mere seconds away. In fact, I could feel the rumble from the vibration of the train. And then I saw, the engine’s headlight. With the mind’s ability in times of threat, to immediately make instant decisions, I realized I did not have sufficient time to stop. I would have to either crash the gate or swing around it to the left and then veer back to the right to miss the arm on the other side of the tracks.
Hearing the train’s warning whistle, as I sped along, I suddenly knew it was a race for life. I hit the accelerator- hard! I could sense and then glimpse, the threatening black monster off to my left, as it was about to destroy everything in its path. The car lurched forward. Then in a blur of motion, I swung around the first gate and in another split second, I hurtled toward the gate on the opposite side of the track, and not not quite clearing it, I felt a bump on the back of the driver’s side of the car, that sort of boosted me completely over the tracks.
I first heard, and then simultaneously saw, in my rearview mirror, the train hurtling on down the tracks in the dim light behind me. I didn’t have time to be terrified, because the entire incident happened in just seconds. Now, safely on the other side, I stopped a short ways up on the side of the road to take in what had just occurred. It was then that I realized how closely I had come to certain disaster. Mere fractions of a second separated me and my car from being on the track or over the track.
I got out to look at the side of the car to see what damage the “bump” I felt had caused. The back door on the driver’s side had a deep dent right in the middle of the door, and also, a crease of 18 or 20 inches extending down from the dent, visible evidence of my narrow escape from the oncoming train. I breathed a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks and continued on up the road to the mobile home park where I was living at the time.
It was not the first time I was aware that my “guardian angel” had protected me. According to the description in Hebrews , the writer asks the rhetorical question concerning the holy angels of God, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them that shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14). Thank God, at the direction of the Lord the holy angels are watching over us, even when we are totally unaware of their presence. For once in my life, I was glad I missed the train!
I still drive that way quite often, even though I live a longer distance from my relatives. But you can believe, every time I pass that way, I thank God again for letting me miss the train. Yes, there really are "guardian angels" who watch over and protect God's children. This time I might have put my angel on emergency alert!
Wow, incredible story. So wonderful to hear you were protected. My husband often is an engineer or conductor on these trains, and I hear stories from their side, and let me say they are just as traumatized as the people in the car. Thanks for writing this. I can imagine you're reminded everytime you pass that spot.