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A Last-Minute Rescue: Coincidence or Luck?

Kay Chappell Wood

My coincidence of note occurred in 1996. I was driving from my home in the suburbs to a downtown Atlanta location. I had to drop off a grant application that I wrote for a large, well-known nonprofit. The deadline was at noon that day.

I started out with plenty of time. En route, a driver rear-ended me on I-85. My car was totaled. The Atlanta Police took 30 minutes to get to the scene. On my flip phone, I called the director of the non-profit telling her about the accident and that when the police were finished I would get off the interstate and get a cab. By the time the police did their thing, I was told I had to wait for the tow trucks to come because the driver needed to know where to take the car. By this time I was frantic. It was cold that day and I was frozen. Time went by. The United Way had a hard deadline and at 11:30 I was still at the scene of the accident. I wasn’t going to make it.

Needless to say, traffic backed up all six lanes. It was awful. Then I notice a neighbor and close friend of mine in the traffic, in the lane next to the accident. My friend waited with me, the tow truck came and she drove me to the nonprofit. We got there at 11:55.

Now even this is not the whole story. While my friend and I were en route, she told me that she had been to a morning meeting in the suburbs. The meeting ran late. She got in her car to head into her office downtown, but something stopped her from starting the car. She couldn’t explain what it was, but she felt compelled to eat her lunch in the car. She never ate in her car. She wasn’t hungry.

Then, once she had finished eating, she decided to drive on the interstate — which she rarely did, but she was going to be late for another meeting. It would be faster. No such luck. She became stuck in the horrible traffic caused by my own accident. She dodged in and out of lanes trying to get ahead. She ended up in the lane next to the cars. She saw me standing between the two cars. She pulled up in the lane in front of the cars, got out, and yelled my name.

We couldn’t believe that in a metro area of six million in 1996, she would be there to help me.

To this day, she and I recount how weird the incident was. Why did she feel she had to eat in the car before determining she would take the interstate? Her day and routine were disrupted. She believes that she was compelled to further disrupt the day.

The outcome was that the grant was submitted on time, and the non-profit received all its requested funds. Something odd was at work that day. That’s the true story.

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