God continues to do wonders in our lives and sends angels to help us in the most unexpected of ways! Enjoy this blog post by Cheryl! Do comment and share any stories you may have of encountering an angel in disguise!
Do check out Cheryl’s blog for other amazing posts. She tells wonderful stories about her motherhood journey. Cheers!
I live in Tema and I go to Accra several times a week (well, until Covid-19 kept us all indoors). One Thursday last December however, it appears I had not had enough of the motorway and ended up being a tourist on it. Ha!
It was the day of the wedding of a colleague in my MPhil class. This was the third MPhil colleague getting married. The other two both happened to get married on the same day two other long time friends got married, one from JSS and one from my undergrad class. Obviously, I couldn’t brown those. So this time around, I was very bent on attending the wedding.
I had an issue with my car a few days before the wedding. It was fixed and then it recurred. It was fixed again the day before the wedding. I told my husband that I didn’t trust that the fault wouldn’t come back again so I had him use my car so I use his instead. I don’t even like driving his car, especially across the motorway because it’s too “mbɛɛma car” hehe.
Now, the whole morning, I kept having this “Don’t go for this wedding” feeling. The thing though is that I am pretty lazy about driving so I told myself it was just me being lazy because the wedding was all the way at Accra Newton. I mean, I had missed the other two. I just had to be at this one at all costs! I remember when I paid the toll, I told myself “No turning back now”. So I was on the motorway, finally feeling excited about the wedding and wondering as usual when the motorway will end. Yes, I am one of those people who hates the motorway but for some reason always end up on it. My husband doesn’t understand my hatred. I hope you do.
I wasn’t speeding. I never speed on the motorway. I usually stay in the outer lane and keep to about 80km/h. I only move into the inner lane if I absolutely have to. Even if a truck in the outer lane has me doing 60km/h instead, I no bore.
I don’t know how it happened. One moment, I noticed a huge pothole. I immediately realised I will be better off moving to the inner lane than trying to avoid it due to its size. Then I noticed the inner lane had far too many cars for me to quickly move in there. In the next second, I had fallen into the pothole. I immediately knew what was coming next. I was right.
I heard a “phoosh” sound. I stopped at the side to take a look and sure enough the front right tire was completely down. Ouch! This happened even before I got to the abattoir junction. If you are not familiar with the motorway, I had probably covered just about 6km of the full 19km stretch of the motorway.
Please don’t say this is sexist. It is a truth I have seen all around me. There is always something missing in a man’s car. They say we the ladies are too prim and proper. We like it like that. I knew even before I checked that my trouble won’t be the condemned tire but rather getting it fixed. I was right. No jack. No spare tyre. Can I get my car back already? I called my husband. He was very apologetic and concerned because he knew exactly how distressed I would be feeling. He suggested I try to get a taxi to drive me to the nearest vulcanizer.
I stopped the first empty taxi I saw. Instead of just hopping in and asking that he drops me at the nearest vulcanizer, I rather chose to tell him my story. This taxi driver whom I later got to know bears my husband’s name, Emmanuel was an angel from the very beginning. He was immediately sympathetic to my situation. His first idea was to replace my tyre with his spare tyre so we both drive to the vulcanizer. He however realised that the tyres didn’t have the same number of holes. He then used his jack to raise my car, removed the tyre and put it in his car.
When we got to the vulcanizer, he showed them the tyre and after they examined it, they advised that I buy one since it had been damaged at the side rather than the body. He could have left me there, right? No. Driver Emmanuel followed the vulcanizer to where the tyres are sold. When he came back, he told me the price that had been quoted. I was okay with it but no, he insisted we bargain. Where do I know this man from? When a price had finally been agreed on, they worked on it while Driver Emmanuel told me interesting stories about his wife, kids and people he had encountered in his work as a driver. After everything was set up, the tyre was put in the basin of water and uh oh, this tyre too had a puncture. The vulcanizer said they could fix it but Driver Emmanuel insisted they rather try to fix mine instead. Reluctantly, they agreed. They got it done and we were ready to go.
Remember we are on the motorway that doesn’t have u-turns. What do you think was the best solution? He should let me figure out my life and he goes on with his, right? No. He parked his car at the vulcanizer’s shop, carried the tyre and crossed the road with me. We stood at the other side, hoping to get a car. It was so difficult! My goodness! We stopped a taxi, but he said he would be turning at the Community 18 junction. Driver Emmanuel said we should take it all the same because it might be easier to get a car from there. It was not too far from where we were so in less than 5 minutes, we got down. All the taxis parked weren’t willing to take us because they would have no easy way to get back after dropping us.
We decided to start stopping trotros. Remember he’s handling the tyre all this while. We’ll stop a car and he’ll run with the tyre, only for the trotro to be full or refuse to take us because we’ll be getting down along the motorway. Finally, finally, we got a car that had space for us, but no space in the boot for the tyre. Driver Emmanuel said no worries. He would stand and hold the tyre. Is this man a human being or an angel? Another 5 minutes drive and we got to where the car was parked. The trotro driver kwraa bore. You know how they hate these short distances. Hehe.
We crossed the road as he carried/rolled the tyre and then he got to work fixing the tyre. We then drove to the vulcanizer where he asked them to ensure that the tyre had the required amount of pressure. All done now, he asked if I still wanted to go to my destination. Ho! By this time, the wedding pictures were already flowing on the class page. Why not? All the up and down had taken about two hours. I told him I would just go home. He welcomed that option because he would rather I get home safely with the tyre and then try to get it replaced. He proposed that he will drive behind me and then when we get to the toll gate, he would get down and appeal to the policemen to open the gate considering my situation. I reluctantly agreed to it.
After watching the CitiFM WAI team arresting people using even that u-turn, why wouldn’t I be? I finally asked how much I owed him. He said anything I want to give from my heart. Say whaaaat?!!!! Like how? I would gladly sign a million dollar cheque for this angel. Instead, I gave him the 50 cedis I had been planning to give to the couple at the wedding. He was grateful and even went on to give me his number. “Daakye asem nti”, he said. I hope you saw that oh. He didn’t ask for mine. He gave me his and I gladly “flashed” him back so he will get mine.
We got on the road as planned. As we have already established, I drive very slowly on the motorway. With a tyre that I didn’t trust now, of course I would drive even slower. I thought he would give up on me right there and then and allow me to decide my fate. No, he kept following me at my pace. At a point, there was a truck I needed to overtake but I chose to rather get off the road and drive slowly at the side since I was almost at the toll gate.
My secret plan was to force him to abandon me this time around and then when he’s gone, I will go ahead to the end of the motorway and do the legal turn. Guess what? He used the opportunity to go and talk to the policeman at the gate. By the time I got there, the gate was open and he was just waiting for me before he got back on the road. I thanked him once again, used the u-turn, and drove back to Tema.
My tour of the motorway had officially ended. When I got home, I called to let him know and thanked him once again. I called hubby to narrate everything that had happened and so when he got home, he also called to show appreciation.
There are many parts to this story. I am so grateful for this angel who bears my husband’s name. We’ve not spoken again since the incident but somehow, I believe in what he said, “Daakye asem nti”. I feel God will give me an opportunity to bless him one day in a way we both do not expect. I pray God blesses him paa! Then there’s Emmanuel, my husband who should have had everything intact. For some reason, he takes pride in the “mbɛɛma” nature of his car and so he just won’t have it all perfect. Just because. I rest my case. Then there’s the usual cry to the government to fix the motorway ootom! Streetlights, potholes and even a plan to consider legal u-turns on my mind. I don’t want to talk plenty about that either.
What hit me the most after this encounter was “Is this how God delivers us from danger?” When something very terrible happens to us, we’ll usually ask God why He didn’t warn us. And yet, when something bad but not so terrible happens, we still question God! So what if this incident which left me without a scar was God’s way of saving me from a bigger accident on the way which might have affected me more severely? I will never know, but really what if? What if your breakup with your boyfriend of 6 months is God’s way of protecting you from a terrible marriage? Yes, you really wanted to make it to medical school but missed it very narrowly. What if it’s God’s way of leading you to a profession that will allow you to give glory to him even more. We never really know.
Life doesn’t usually give us a sneak peek of the future so we appreciate the present. However, if we come to accept sincerely that not getting what we want today is rather a way to open us up to getting something greater tomorrow, it would help us cry less about today’s misfortunes and rather look forward to what lies ahead.
Would it be painful? Of course! Who said it was exciting to just go and spend over two hours of my life on the motorway as if I was a tourist? It’s okay to admit it is painful or annoying. However, what is most important is to look ahead at the what ifs and thank God that He is ultimately God in every way and everything. I once read a devotional message that said anytime we are tempted to ask God “why me” because something bad happened to you, rather, ask God “why me” for your blessings.
Dear God, why did you bless me with eyes that can see the motorway and legs that can walk on the motorway to give it a tour?
Featured image from: https://www.givegab.com/nonprofits/angels-in-disguise