Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mysterious Stranger Appears out of Nowhere to Help Trapped Woman

NEW YORK CITY -- Donna, 18, made a mistake that can get a person hospitalized or worse in Fun City -- taking the wrong subway and finding yourself alone after riders thin out and melt away to their destinations. Potentially threatening men took notice of her, and her options seemed to be dwindling -- until a mysterious stranger arrived. 

Donna's story began when she rode the Metro North train to Grand Central Station and then hopped on a subway headed toward
Third Street. But after 20 minutes, she realized she was going the wrong way. As she switched trains and doubled back, the few remaining riders exited. Soon, she was on a subway platform somewhere in the one-hundreds -- alone except for an apparent derelict propped against a far wall.  At street level, she was astonished to see that she was smack in the middle of one of New York's most dangerous neighborhoods, surrounded by burned out buildings with broken windows. 

"As I stood there amazed," she recalled, "I saw the most ominous sight: two groups of men, some drinking and not more than 100 feet away. All of them stopping their conversation and noticing me. I felt their ill intentions like a brick hitting me. Heart pounding, I ran back down into the dark dirty subway."
Desperately waiting for the next train, she said she felt like "trapped prey about to be devoured." Panicked, she tried to give the appearance of calm and pulled out atrain map.

It was just then that she sensed someone was behind her. Wheeling around, she was startled by a "tall, well-dressed gray-haired man in a black overcoat." 

"You're lost, aren't you?" he asked her, smiling.

She yelped out: "Yes!"

The mysterious stranger immediately pulled a map out of an overcoat pocket, asking her where she needed to go.  

"Third Street..."

"I was so frightened and thanking God for his presence, I didn't question how where the man had come from," Donna recalled.
"Oh, you're nowhere near there; this is where you need to be," the man told Donna, pointing out map details and providing specific directions for changing trains. Then, the man suggested: "You keep this map and I will wait here with you." 

After she thanked him, the two stood together silently, and Donna suddenly noticed that all her fear was gone. Although she heard noises at the top of the subway stairs, no one descended. Fifteen minutes later, a train rumbled up, and the stranger said, "Good Luck," as she got on board. 

A few minutes later, Donna looked down at the stranger's map and was surprised to see that the stranger had given her not a general map of New York City, but a color tourist-like local map of the immediate vicinity of Third Street and the surrounding area of the Village. It was precisely where she needed to be. 

"After getting off the train at the correct stop, I walked by a rough-looking group of bikers, attracting some stares, but I quite oddly continued to feel no fear whatsoever, only peace of mind," Donna noted.
As she took her final steps home that night, she reflected on how oddly the mysterious stranger had popped up out of nowhere. Except for the drifter, no one had been remotely near her in the instant before she sensed the helpful stranger behind her. Even stranger, it had been a hot August day, yet the Good Samatarian had been dressed in an overcoat for brisk fall or winter weather. And he had just happened to have in his pocket the exact localized map she needed. 

"My only conclusion," said Donna, "was that he was my guardian angel. I felt a certain presence about him immediately that told me I was safe. I had never felt that before and never since.  I find myself searching for that man whenever I feel I'm in danger, but have yet to come across him.  The memory is vivid.  I am now 42 and think of it often."

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