Mysterious Ways: A Break in Traffic

How could she abandon her car in the middle lane of a busy highway?

By Heidi Daniels, Las Vegas, Nevada

"Move it, lady!" an angry man shouted from his pickup truck, swerving to narrowly avoid a collision with my car. “You’re gonna get someone killed!” yelled another driver, racing by. I jiggled my keys in the ignition again. Come on old girl, you can start, I thought.  Just give me enough to get to the shoulder. The engine revved, then seized and died. Kaput.

Why did my little sedan have to break down here? In the middle lane of rush hour traffic on Durango Drive, a busy road in Las Vegas. There was a gas station at the intersection up ahead, but I didn’t want to leave my car to find help. I’d turned on the hazard lights, but couldn’t stop thinking of some massive truck barreling into the sedan, causing a big pile up. No, I had to get this car to the shoulder.

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But how? A tow truck wouldn’t get here for another half hour in this traffic. I was halfway between home and the bank where I worked, far from my husband or anyone I could call for help.

I gripped the steering wheel and closed my eyes, trying to drown out the sound of the cars zooming by. Lord, I need you right now, I prayed.

All at once, I felt calm. I glanced in the rearview mirror for oncoming trucks. There weren’t any. No vehicles coming up behind me at all. That was odd… what happened to rush hour traffic? Where did everyone go? I stared at the ignition. I’ll give it one more shot. I turned the key. This time, the engine revved, and kept on rumbling!

I cut across the empty lanes and pulled into the gas station. The second I did, the engine cut out again. I coasted into a parking spot and stopped. I turned the key. Nothing. Not even a sputter.

I swiveled around in my seat. Cars and semi-trucks raced up and down Durango Drive, as they had before. Except, somehow, for that brief moment my engine had roared to life.