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Then Along Came an Angel

True angel stories touch the heart and uplift the spirit. Please enjoy the stories and feel free to comment and/or pass onto other people who might need some encouragement today. Julie Bonn Heath is the compiler of the book, "Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance", which includes almost 50 true angel stories. You can order the book at online bookstores order from your local bookstore. It makes a great gift!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Story from the Book: Miraculous Return

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“I was looking for you, Mommy. But I couldn’t find you anywhere.” These words have stayed with me since my son Michael spoke them when he was three years old. The memory of the story behind this still brings me to tears—and reminds me that angels do exist.

Michael was a beautiful, chubby, precocious and friendly three year old. He had an amazing vocabulary and a magnetic personality. The sun always shone around him—and his love for life was contagious.

While I worked as a childcare consultant for the New York City Parks Department—I sometimes left Michael at a neighborhood park playgroup. Then I could go to meetings without worrying about him becoming bored or cranky.

Michael fit in easily with the children in the group, and was assured that I would return after lunch to pick him up. We kissed and hugged goodbye—never knowing the drama that would ensue in a few hours.

After a successful session with my supervisors, I received the go-ahead for a summer program on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As I walked the twenty blocks back to the park and my home—I made a mental note to pick up a treat for Michael before we left to get his sister Diana at school. He loved to visit her there and would take his “big boy book bag” along with him.

When I entered the park house, I was surprised to see that Michael wasn’t busily chatting away with the six other children in the program.

Perhaps he’s in the bathroom.

Before I could precede any further, Ms. Rose, the playgroup’s director, met me.

“Michael was picked up more than an hour ago,” she said.

Alarm hit me like a battering ram. My husband worked in the field as a news videographer and rarely could stop at home during the day. No one else had permission to pick up Michael—and Ms. Rose didn’t seem to recall how, or with whom—Michael had left her care.

I ran outside and checked the toddler play area, public bathrooms, ball field and park benches.

No Michael!

Where is he?

I quickly called my husband Woody at work. Perhaps he had left early and picked Michael up as a special treat.

But Woody was aghast when I asked if he had our son with him. My heart ached as we both considered the horrible situation. Where could a three year old be—in busy midtown Manhattan?

My next call was to the police. Officers arrived in minutes and questioned Ms. Rose while searching the area. We lived near the East River, the Midtown Tunnel, a heliport and many hi-rise office and apartment buildings.

Soon after, Woody arrived—his route shortened with the aid of state police escort. His job in television news helped him forge friendships in all walks of life—and everyone reacted to Michael’s disappearance with alacrity.

As officers walked me back to our apartment a few blocks away—I stopped neighbors, friends and strangers. I asked them if anyone had seen Michael. Less than three feet tall, he should have attracted attention walking without adult supervision in this busy area.

The superintendent of my building had heard the police call on his scanner, and started a phone chain. He called all doormen in the immediate area—and asked them to keep a lookout for Michael. Phone company and gas utility workers offered to use their trucks to search for our son. My husband went along with them, photos of Michael in hand.

Two hours passed and there was no sign of Michael. Our neighborhood was a hotbed of activity. Volunteers scoured the area. Police officers searched apartment buildings and rooftops from our home on First Avenue—to Fifth Avenue.

I ran back and forth from home to the park, hoping that Michael had been hiding somewhere, afraid to come out. By now, he had missed lunch and his afternoon nap. Was he as terrified as we were?

Gruesome thoughts filled my head. A men’s homeless shelter was only five blocks away, and the park was a place where some men frequented to panhandle. Was Michael in the East River? In the dark tunnel?

Time passed in a disjointed blur. I couldn’t believe that Michael had just vanished without a trace…Yes, I could! This had happened before to other children, with horrible, tragic results. I shook off my sense of doom and went back to the park to wait.

As afternoon started fading—my hopes dimmed along with the sunshine. Michael had been gone too long for the outcome to be positive, I was sure. Friends had picked up Diana at school and she was unaware of the unfolding family drama. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else but the search for my small son.

My husband ran from the park to our apartment over and over, meeting with police officers, our building superintendent and friends. Dozens of people looked for Michael—his picture in hand. I tortured myself with worries. Had he been hurt? Was he out wandering the streets—easy prey for a derelict or pervert? How could he cross the busy avenues alone? He was only three, after all.

After one last trip back to the park, without my son in sight, Woody and I arrived back at our apartment building once again. I was so nervous—I was ready to jump out of my skin. A detective asked Woody for more photos of Michael, and they walked back upstairs to our brownstone apartment. I couldn’t go anywhere—I had to stay out on the street, waiting and watching for Michael. Our phone must have been ringing off the hook, but I couldn’t bear to speak to anyone but the police. No time to waste on useless conversation. Beyond comforting, all we could do was pray that Michael was safe, and that he would be with us soon.

Suddenly, the walkie-talkie next to me squawked to life. I overheard something that sounded like “Child found.” Could it be true? Was it Michael? Was he found - alive? Moments later, Woody came outside with our son in his arms. Where had he been found? On the roof? In the basement?

My first glimpse of Michael showed a very tired, dirty boy—tied up in a child’s jump rope. Woody and an officer had tears in their eyes. Amazingly, after the last trip up the stairs (our building had no elevator), Woody and the officer had seen a flash of color near our doorway. It was Michael’s brightly striped polo shirt, and he had been found curled up, fast asleep on our welcome mat.

As Woody carried our son to a waiting ambulance—my mind exploded with questions. It took effort to compose myself and focus on our son.

The seven-block trip to the hospital was just a precaution—Michael didn’t seem to be injured. However, he was very dirty, dehydrated and hungry. Amazingly, he began chatting away happily with a detective, whom he called “Inspector Gadget.” He was delighted by the gift of a police cap—and asked for food and his “moofie.”(pacifier). The pediatrician assured us that Michael needed some food and liquid and a good night’s sleep. He had not been given any drugs—nor was he molested in any way.

We have never been able to find out exactly what occurred that day. Three year olds don’t analyze situations and cannot verbalize events in an orderly fashion. A child psychologist informed us that Michael might never remember what had happened to him, since he was so young. We don’t know where the jump rope was from—or why he was tied up in it. We’ll never know how he got back to our apartment unnoticed by police and search crews.

All Michael has said of that day was: “Where were you, Mommy? I looked for you and couldn’t see you. A man held my hand and crossed the street. He had a pretty light around his head. He brought me home. I want pizza.”

We surely were the recipients of a small miracle that day. I can only wonder whose hand guided Michael back to us. Whether through divine or mortal intervention—our three year old found his way back home. He had an angel on his shoulder that day, and I am in awe of the power of prayer and love. Watching over one of His little ones, God ensured that he returned to our arms.


Author Bio: Robin Woods is a lifelong New Yorker currently "in exile" in Montclair, New Jersey. Relocating to suburbia so that her children could play outside, she spends her time writing about their escapades. Her fervent hope is that these stories will thrill and embarrass them. Revenge is sweet!

More Information: This story is from the book, "Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance" and is copyrighted by Julie Bonn Heath. This story may be used for no charge in newsletters or e-zines, as long as the full title of the book is included with it. Please contact the copyright owner at juliebonnheath@earthlink.net if you desire to post it on the World Wide Web. More information available at www.juliebonnheath.biz.

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