Everyday Angels

An angel stops to help...and changes her life

Almost two years ago, I was commuting uptown and came across a two-car accident that had just occurred at the I-77 exit ramp on Trade Street. I was stuck at the red light and saw many cars pass right by, even though you could tell at least one person needed help.

I dialed 911, pulled to the side and ran to the first car. A jogger went to the second car. That driver had not been hurt. I couldn’t believe we were the only two who stopped.

I stayed with the woman until the ambulance and her son arrived. The woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance. She had a broken wrist; a few cuts, and chest, back, neck and shoulder pain.

Although I was the so-called “Good Samaritan” that day, the woman was actually my Everyday Angel. In talking with her at the scene, I learned her name was Joy. That word has special meaning because my name is Jennifer and my husband’s name is Troy. At our wedding, the minister mistakenly said, “Joy” when he meant to say each of our names.

My life hadn’t been very joyful in the years prior to this incident. I was in the midst of some challenging years and had lost myself along the way. At the time, I was working mostly from home, and that day was the first time in months that I was driving into the office. I was driving a route I never drive.

I believe that everything happens for a reason – the route, the timing, and her name. It reminded me of who I really am at heart and of the things that used to be – and should be – most important to me.

The experience was the start of an attitude adjustment. I started trying to be more grateful and, well, joyful. I really focus on each moment as it’s happening. I’ve learned to say “no” more often but also try to say “yes” more, too. I also tend to speak my mind a bit more, which is both good and bad. I try to look for the good in people and to do good every day.

Joy and I are still in touch today and continue to be angels for each other. Jennifer Burns, Marvin

Share your story

Did a stranger step in to offer you help out of the blue? Email rwilkerson@charlotteobserver.com. Include name, hometown and daytime number. Or mail Everyday Angels, Charlotte Observer, 600 S. Tryon, Charlotte, NC 28230. Find more Angel stories at charlotteobserver.com/everydayangels Roland Wilkerson