Driving down Old Black Creek Road under a cold gray sky mottled with rain clouds, I pass a defunct warehouse, then the infamous Midtown Lounge by the railroad tracks… Grateful there’s no endless passing train in this neighborhood on this shady edge of town.
I pass these unsightly scenes en route to my mother’s country home (roughly fifteen miles down the road) for the noonday Thanksgiving meal. My plan is to get there early enough to help her out in the kitchen, and so I take the shortcut through the wrong side of the tracks…only to learn that haste does indeed make waste.
The ominous sky and bleak landscape are portents of a darker sight to come. As I now drive along the deserted stretch of road bordered by deep woods, a specter jumps out of nowhere… a white shirt flapping in the bitter wind, flung over a girl standing by the roadside, frantic arms waving in effort to flag me down.
Did I just see what I thought I saw, or is the Twilight Zone?
Alarmed by the sudden spectacle, I keep driving. Surely this scene is my imagination working overtime. But when I glance in the rearview mirror, the girl in white is chasing my car in a frenzied state, screaming like a banshee. My gut tells me to step on it and flee that neck of the woods ASAP. Then conscience kicks in and I’m reminded of The Good Samaritan.
That’s when I throw my station wagon in reverse and back up toward the apparition that is starting to seem more real by the minute. Before I can even come to a complete stop she jumps into the passenger side and yells, “Quick, get me out of here, he tried to rape me! Hurry before he sees me in your car, hurry!”
The total stranger sits beside me, panic-stricken, shaking like a squirrel, gasping for breath… stark naked except for a man’s white shirt she’s managed to slip into before escaping. The story she tells is that she was cleaning his house when he assaulted her. I’m thinking, yeah right. She’s probably more like a hooker.
I don’t dare speak, but reach over and touch her shoulder, a mild consoling gesture. When she catches her breath she begs me to speed up, get her out of these woods before he sees her. “Just take me home please,” she begs. Then she directs me toward the absolute worst part of town, and in my state of shock, I acquiesce.
We end up on a Godforsaken street in the heart of the slums. No sooner have I pulled up in front of the shanty she calls “home” than a gang of hoodlums surrounds my car, all giving me the evil eye. What would Madea do?
Then an inexplicable courage rises within me, and I hear myself speaking with authority to the unsavory characters staring me down. I crack the window just enough to shout this command, “Go in the house right now and get her a coat!”
As soon as one of them returns with a jacket, the girl puts it on and gets out of my car. That’s when I step on the gas and flee like a bandit to the end of that street…only to find myself at a dead end. I reverse the car, spin around, and pass them all yet again. And when at last I reach the highway, I floor it!
When have you put yourself at risk to rescue someone else?
Would you ever place yourself in jeopardy
for the sake of another in danger?