The boys and I had just started on our way home from school (11/7) and got out of the tram (the street car) to enter the Metro. I suddenly realized that Kerith’s backpack was not in its mandatory (on his back) location. The tram was just ahead of us, and we dashed to try to get its attention or beat it to the next stop. Despite how slow they go, this was rush hour, and there were too many obstacles between us and it. With all his school books, homework, and an article of clothing or two, defeat was no option, but I had no clue how to track it down.
Think fast, man!
As we watched it chug off over the bridge across the Neva and into the sunset, I followed the only plan I could think of: we made our way across the street and began to hail a car. Around here, people “vote” for cars all the time by holding out their arm (not just the thumb) and private car owners earn an extra few rubles by taking people with them if they are going in the same general direction. Yet no one was stopping! I pulled the boys out from the curb with me where I was in the road to increase the sympathy factor, but it must have taken me 3 minutes and over a hundred cars before one finally stopped.
Our man wasted no time and flew across the bridge. I still hoped the tram was not far ahead and easy to catch in the heavy traffic, but, alas, I had lost track of how long I had waited. We got to the other side and followed the tracks to the right, and then did a full stop. The tracks split, and I had never noticed the number of the tram, otherwise I could follow the route on my transportation map. We sat there for a minute while I studied the map and guessed which direction it might have gone before finally taking a guess: go right again.
It was another 10 minutes of stop-and-go traffic before we saw any tram at all, and all I could verify was that it was the right color. The boys were doing well, but stressed. Simon quietly whimpered, wanting to go home. The tram was turning around at its end point, and our man pulled over at the next stop. To my amazement, he offered to wait while I checked to see if it was the right one.
Praise be, it was the correct tram, and the conductor was sitting with Kerith’s backpack, stupefied that we had caught up with them. We jumped back in the car with a huge load off our shoulders (but a good load back on Kerith’s). For some reason, I pulled out the map again to check the number’s route (69). The blood left my face as I realized that the 69 should have turned to the left! The map was wrong, or this tram was off route.
This was too much to handle. Why was this guy being so nice? Why did he not want to take off as soon as he had got us to the backpack? In fact he took us all the way back to where we started, and I had to press him to admit that he had now missed the appointment he was going to before helping us, and so he was just heading back.
I studied his face carefully, wondering, is that regular skin, or are we being escorted by an angel? I listened to the music on the radio. Nope, not a Christian station, but, hey, angels could listen to cool music too, I suppose. In the end, he did take what I thought a modest payment for his time and gas. I decided angels don’t need money.
But he sure was sent from God.