Early Saturday afternoon I was driving home from the temple with 5 young women in the Ark. We had had an amazing experience combined with a gorgeous (and very pink) sunrise.
The drive home from the temple is 2 hours and we were nearing the end, just starting to get into metro Cincinnati.
I, following the speed of traffic, was going close to 80 miles an hour and in the far left lanes, getting ready for the freeway to divide.
Even though I was going fast there were still cars whizzing by.
All of a sudden I heard this awful grating noise that sounded like metal running or dragging on pavement.
I glanced around and realized it was me and it was coming from the back right area of my van.
Confused and worried about what was going on, I signaled and managed to weave through four lanes of traffic until I could pull off on the shoulder.
I thought maybe I had a flat because the van didn’t feel right, but it didn’t sound like a flat.
I got out of the van and walked around to where I heard the noise and my jaw dropped.
Luckily, the bishop was a little ways behind us and managed to get over and pull off barely in front of us. He came back, looked at my tire, and told me what he saw.
From a little ways behind us he saw and impressive explosion of black debris fly at least fifty feet in the air. Pieces of tire flew everywhere. Cars were weaving trying to dodge the stuff, and some of it hit his car. He has a motorcycle, and said that if he had been on it, the flying debris would have taken him out. At first he thought it was a truck and trailer, but his son said he thought it was us. He knew as soon as we started slowing down and changing lanes.
He commended me on my superb control of the van saying he couldn’t believe how steady I kept it and didn’t swerve or anything.
“Bishop,” I said, “I didn’t feel a thing. The van didn’t jerk, or swerve, nothing. All that happened is I suddenly heard an awful sound and I knew something was wrong, so I started changing lanes to pull over.”
It wasn’t me keeping control of that van. Having a tire blow like that, at that speed, on a crowded MAJOR freeway… we’re lucky to be alive, let alone healthy, happy, completely unhurt, and our van untouched and needing nothing other than new tires. I know we had hosts of angels around us keeping us safe.
We dug around trying to locate the jack (we had to move a giant bag of clothes someone had given me, a camp chair, two strollers, and two car seats) and things we’d need to drop the spare tire stored under the van. We were all nervous standing on the side of the freeway with cars speeding past us. Thankfully, after a bit, I remembered I had a AAA membership. I used one of the girls’s phone to call. Because of our location – on the side of a major and very busy freeway, about a mile away from the closest exit – we were bumped to top priority.
We stayed in the van with our seat belts on. The girls were wonderful – a little worried, but not freaking out or anything and one suggested a prayer. We did so and spent our time waiting by chatting with each other.
The other van that had gone up to the temple was a ways behind us and as they got closer they saw tire debris scattered across the freeway. “That was some tire blow out,” one of them mentioned. A short while later they saw the Ark and the Bishop’s car stopped on the shoulder with our hazards flashing. After calling to be sure everything was fine, they decided to drop leaders and young men off at the church and come back for the young women to get them safely home.
About ten or fifteen minutes after we had been rummaging around the back end for the jack and such, a car pulled up behind us. I could see a man and his wife in the car. Feeling like it was safe, I hopped out of the van as he approached.
“We saw the tire blow and you guys digging for a jack, we wanted to make sure everything was ok and that you didn’t need assistance.”
I was awed and impressed by the man’s caring and kindness. He had passed us, gotten off the freeway and doubled all the way back to come seek out if we needed help. I assured him that we were fine and had called AAA. I thanked him for his kindness.
“I’m just doing my biblical duty,” he said with a smile.
I am grateful that there are such good people in the world.
We only had to wait less than 30 minutes for the AAA guy to show up, and the van for the young women showed up just few minutes later. We got them in and off to their homes in their safety.
It took a while to get our tire changed. Apparantly it’s pretty challenging with our kind of van (it was the AAA guy’s least favorite to work with). Once again, I was grateful I remembered I had a AAA membership and that he took his time to do everything right to keep us safe. If he was having a hard time with it, it would have been a nightmare for the rest of us. During the process, the Bishop asked him to take a look at our front tire because he thought the tires had dry rot, and the AAA guy confirmed it. So, I was told not to drive too fast home and that the tires on the van needed changing yesterday. 🙂
For now, we’re back to driving the Purple People Eater for a couple days while we price out new tires.
The bishop followed me home to be sure I arrived safely. A couple of the girls were hanging out at our house for a while, so we took the opportunity to snap a couple pictures.
I am SO grateful for the Lord’s protection and the blessings of attending the temple. What could have resulted in a deadly accident resulted in nothing more than a minor inconvenience and some new tires.
It was a miracle.
I know hosts of angels were keeping us safe and I’m sure Lizy and my Dad were among them.