While in college, after drinking, not thinking clearly, and having been left without a ride; I accepted a ride from a stranger. After riding for a few minutes, something inside me said “get out”. I pointed to the closest house and told him that’s where I was staying. When I got out, he did not drive away. After several seconds, which felt like hours, I was fearful he would not leave. I said goodbye again, thanking him for the ride. He said nothing, just waited. I began running as fast as I could.
I wasn’t familiar with the area. I was terrified. All the bad things that could happen to me began racing through my head. I began shaming myself. How stupid was I to take the ride in the first place! I knew better. It’s dangerous for a female to be alone at night. I deserved anything that happens to me. And so, on the shaming continued.
I finally stopped running. Luckily, across the street, I saw a hospital. It felt so great to be inside where it was warm!
I prayed and thanked God for allowing me to get there safe. I was too embarrassed to ask to use the phone (knowing I was underage and intoxicated). Who would I call at 3am? Who would be awake? Not my parents! They would be upset and ashamed of me. I found a secluded place with waiting room chairs, curled up, and fell asleep.
Sometime later, I awoke to a male nurse asking me if I were cold and needed a blanket. He didn’t ask why I was there. I believe he knew I wasn’t there for any of the usual reasons. He was very kind, brought me a blanket, some water, and asked if there was anything else I needed. I explained that my phone was dead. He allowed me to use the phone. I attempted to call a couple of friends, who didn’t answer. Still, I refused to call my parents. I was very thankful for all his help. I told him I would go back to where he found me and sleep some more. He said to let him know if I needed anything else.
I was so incredibly grateful to that man. He was like an angel sent to directly to me. I don’t mean someone wearing all white with wings. I believe God uses typical, everyday people like you and I to help others along their journey.
When I left the hospital the following morning, I took the blanket with me. I felt embarrassed and guilty, for stealing it. Yet, the blanket had meaning to me. I kept it for years, honestly it may still be around here somewhere. It was symbolic. It reminded me when I’m feeling completely alone, God is there.
He had a far greater purpose for me. He has used experiences in a powerful way. I’ve used situations like this to educate, encourage, and relate to people who need it. No one person is perfect. We may not be proud of our decisions, but our gut will not steer us wrong.
But there’s more…
I thought it was over, but day after day this man (who had given me the ride and I apparently had given my number) kept calling me. I never answered. He would leave messages. This lasted a couple weeks. I was so scared. I, eventually, told my mom. She was supportive and didn’t judge me. I am so thankful to this day to have trusted my gut and confided in my mother who loves and supports me. My mother made it very clear she did not care how much trouble I was in she NEVER wanted me to feel I couldn’t call her. She cried with me feeling my fear, worry and pain.
Eventually the calls stopped. I believe God used this so I would talk to my mother and remember no matter what she supports and loves me.
I know it is difficult to reach out when you are feeling pain, fear, shame, anxiety. Know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If there are not family members or friends, you can reach out to there are always resources online, hotline numbers, and most importantly 911 for any emergency.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions about specific resources, services, etc. I will do my best to point you in the right direction.