To Alex, the Angel of the Larpenter Avenue Exit

Alex the Angel

I cannot thank you enough. When you pulled over to help me dig out my car from the snow at side of the road on Saturday, you were a godsend, and I am eternally grateful for your kindness.

I was in Minnesota for my cousin’s wedding and driving from the ceremony in White Bear to the reception in downtown St. Paul with my elderly, fragile mother in the passenger seat when the worst of the April 14th blizzard hit. The roads were practically obliterated under ever-deepening snow. It fell so rapidly, with such a strange, sticky consistency that it clogged onto our wipers and our windshield froze over with ice, making it impossible to see.

The first time I pulled over to clear our windshield and wipers, our car was stuck but not badly. By rocking back and forth, I was able to get free and ease back onto the road.

The second time, on the on-ramp to 694, I pulled off to clear the ice from the window and though we were stuck, I was able to dig out the tires enough with the window scraper that we were able to get back on the road. My phone was down to 10% batteries, and we decided to turn it off and save the power in case we needed to call for emergency help.

We were in whiteout conditions on the freeway, unable to see more than a couple dozen feet in front of us, and it was futile to make out the edges of the road, let alone the lanes. The wipers started clogging, but by leaning to my mother’s side, I was able to see out enough to keep steering. We followed the red taillights of cars ahead of us for several slow miles and merged onto 35E, but when, for the third time, the windshield once again became impenetrable and I faced driving completely blind, I followed the taillights of the car in front of us up the exit ramp to Larpenter Ave. There, unable to see the road as anything but a gray and white blur, and afraid of blocking traffic, I eased to the right into a track left by an earlier car.

That is where we were well and truly stuck when a plow passed on the left, a good six feet away. And that is where I stayed, alternately kneeling in the snow with my window scraper to dig packed snow out from under the car, and trying to drive out of the rut, for Lord knows how long when you, Alex, pulled over ahead of us and came running back, carrying two short shovels from your open trunk.

You helped me dig out the car, wished me well, and ran back to your car. Then, when I still couldn’t get out, you returned a second time and helped me dig it out again. Then you stood by my open window, in the pouring, blowing snow, and called directions to me: “Turn your wheels left! Now go forward! Now back! Now straighten! Now forward again!” and so on until finally, mercifully, we lurched onto the plowed section of the road.

I drove ahead and parked behind you long enough to jump out once more and give you a hug and thank you and ask your name.

“Blessings on you. I can’t thank you enough. What made you pull over?” I asked.

“I saw you in your skirt,” Alex said. “I figure this is my good deed for the week.”

“It’s your good deed for the year,” I said.

In truth, you may have saved a life. My mother has diabetes, and if we’d been delayed much longer, she might have had serious blood sugar complications. As it was, we made it to the reception safely, a good two hours after we’d left the ceremony on what normally would have been a twenty-five minute drive.

And so I thank you, Alex. You are an angel. I wish blessings upon you and yours, and if you are ever in need, I hope some other big-hearted stranger will materialize to aid you. Your generosity is an inspiration to me, and I’ll never forget your kindness.

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