It was 30 degrees below zero, with temperatures expected to dip frighteningly lower by Christmas Eve, and Joan Wester Anderson’s son, Tim, was, against advice, driving home from college in the Midwest to his parents’ home near Chicago, Ill.
Already all major highways in the area had been shut down as a white-out obliterated all landmarks in wind-whipped swirls of snow.
These were the days before cell phones and Anderson was sure that if her son was any place safe, he would have called to ease her fears. Six hours past his scheduled arrival, she began to pray. “I remember thinking for the first time that Tim wasn’t going to be coming home,” she said. “And I remember crying out to God in a way that I never did before: ‘God, God, you’ve got to send someone.’”
Meanwhile, her son and his friend, taking what they had been told was a shortcut through frozen cornfields, sat hopelessly lost in their stalled car, knowing full well they would soon freeze to death, and they began to pray.
Suddenly, the inside of the car was filled with light. Behind them was a tow truck, its headlights shining through the snow. “Need a tow?” asked the bundled up stranger tapping on the car window. He deftly hooked up their car, towing them back to the classmate’s home they had left earlier.
When Tim and his friend stumbled, near frozen, from the car to thank the driver who had saved their lives, they discovered both he and his tow-truck had vanished, leaving no tracks in the snow. It was a while before Tim told his mother about this.