This happened some time ago. Sarge has a habit of being in the right place at the right time. None of us know when something is going to call on us to be extraordinary. This time the Lord needed someone that had the training and the desire to stop and help. It happened like this:
Sarge woke up to a typical fall day. It had rained and then froze during the night, turning the streets of Denver into the dreaded "black ice" that is common in the high country. Seeing the weather out the window had not improved during the night Sarge gulped his breakfast and left 45 min. early. And not wanting to fight the idiots on the highways he took the back roads, and shortcuts known only to the long time residents of the mile high city. This particular road was what was left of the old highway and ran along the new highway. Very little traffic and only a few stop signs. At a 4-way stop he waited for his turn and then noticed several cars pulled over across the intersection and people standing on the shoulder. Pulling his car over, one lady ran to his car door and was yelling and pointing down the shoulder.
Sarge got out and walked to the shoulder and what he saw sent a cold shiver like a icy finger running up his back. He could not believe his eyes. There a little ways off the road was a minivan with the front end hanging over a water filled sand quarry hundreds of feet deep. And to his horror filled eyes he could see someone in the drivers seat.
No one was doing anything.
Sarge waded through the weeds and when he got closer he could see that the only thing holding the van was an old barb wire fence, now stretched to guitar string thin tension. Inside was a lady. Her hands were like claws around the steering wheel and she was staring straight down at the deep freezing water.
The first thing to do was get the lady out.
Sarge called through the closed window.
The lady did not answer.
Very slowly he opened the passenger door.
"Lady, Lady, Lady." he called. No responce. Not wanting to touch the delicate balance of the van he reached over as far as he could and tapped the lady on the arm. Slowly her head turned and she looked at Sarge with unseeing eyes. "I am a trained rescuer, I am here to get you out of this car." Sarge told her. She just sat there. Realizing he had to give her enough confidence to let loose the steering wheel. Sarge kept talking to her, telling her how he was going to rescue her and telling her what she had to do. It seemed to fall on deaf ears. Finally Sarge asked, "Ma'am, do you have any children?" This caused her eyes to open wider. "Are there any children in the car, Ma'am?" asked Sarge.
Softly she replied, "no" That broke the spell and she started to cry. "Ma'am, listen to me, I am going to get you out of this car. Do you hear me Ma'am?"Sarge said.
"yes" the lady whispered.
"Now when you let loose of the steering wheel with your right hand I want you to grab my wrist, not my hand, but my wrist. It is an old Boy Scout way of holding on. It is the strongest way to hold another person, do you hear me Ma'am?" Sarge kept talking to calm the lady. "Are you ready Ma'am, LET LOOSE THE STEERING WHEEL NOW!" Sarge shouted and grabbed at the womans wrist. He pulled with all his might to break her grip on the steering wheel. Once her right hand was free she let loose voluntarily with the left hand and started to scramble across the seat. Sarge was afraid she would do exactly that and he had already set his heels as best he could so she wouldn't drag them both down with the car. He pulled with all his strength and she catapulted out of the minivan and they both fell to the ground. Getting his breath back he picked the lady up in his arms and carried her up the bank and handed her over to some women that had stopped and were watching the rescue.
Just then a trucker called down from the road. "Hey do you need any help?"
"Yes do you have any chain in your truck" Sarge yelled back.
"Sure, how much do you need." was the reply.
" Can you reach the minivan and still have your back wheels on the pavement?" Sarge called.
Soon the truck was positioned and the chain tightened. Taking up the chain slack did nothing. "What is the matter?" the trucker asked.
"She must have left it in gear." "Keep the chain tight I am going to get in and steer it out while you pull with the truck." Sarge ordered.
"MAN You are just crazy buddy." the trucker stated.
Sarge very slowly climbed into the minivan. He could hear the fence wire creaking. In slow motion he pushed on the brake and waved his hand to the trucker. As soon as the chain moved he threw the gear shift to neutral and let off the brake. The fence popped a strand and then the minivan began to move slowly backward. It paused when the front wheels hit the edge and he could hear the truck tires burning rubber up on the road, then with a little bump they came up and the van began to move up the shoulder to the road.
Sarge went over to the lady that had been wrapped up with a coat from the women helpers.
"Ma'am, your car keys, if you want we will have someone come and drive the van home." The lady fell into Sarge's arms and hugged him tightly. "Thank you so much, Thank you so much, she kept repeating over and over."
Sarge walked her over to the van and whispered to her, "Go home and hug those kids of yours real good. And love them all." "Good by Ma'am," And with that he walked back to his car.
Yes this is a true story. It really did happen. And every Christmas Sarge gets a Christmas card from a nice lady with a picture of her and three kids on the front.