True life can sometimes be stranger than fiction. In the late 1990's we lived in Oregon, near Highway 99, which runs through Newberg and McMinnville. I loved to go to McMinnville to a restaurant which made their own luscious donuts.
One morning, I went to pick up a raft of those fragrant beauties to serve a work party we were having at our home later that morning. Odd thing--I even remember what I was wearing--a jean dress with red roses hand-painted on the scoop-necked bodice.
I was in line with a group of customers waiting to be served. I laughed and joked with some of them--they loved the donuts, too. A man came in to stand at the end of the line. He was slightly built, wore jeans, a plaid shirt and a light colored windbreaker.
I made my purchase, walked out to the van, got inside--turned to settle the bag of donuts on the seat beside me, glanced out the driver's side window and screamed. The man stood with his face so close to the van window, I could see the pupils contracting in his icy blue eyes. He must have followed behind me within inches, as I left with my purchases.
I was going to open the door, but instead my fingers hit the door locks. I was shocked because that wasn't what I'd intended to do. At first I flushed with embarrassment. But then I realized I was shaking.
Taking a deep breath. I rolled the window down a fraction and said, "I'm sorry, you startled me. Can I help you?"
Without any expression he said, "You are a very attractive woman." His voice had a curious monotone--no inflection to his tone, no warmth in his face.
In fact, the man's eyes were glacial. I replied shakily, "My husband would thank you." He said something else I can't remember and I told him I had to leave. My hands shook so I could hardly put the key into the ignition.
He stood watching me, as I backed the van away from the curb. I was shivering. His eyes had been devoid of any feeling--they were empty, dead--like looking into the eyes of a shark. I felt like I'd made contact with some kind of monstrous darkness. I knew a supernatural presence had kept me from opening that van door and I never forgot that strange encounter.
A few years ago, I picked up one of those true crime books at our local used bookstore. It was the story of the Green River Killer--a hideous monster of a man who had preyed upon women for years, murdering them in cold blood. He had finally been caught.
I turned to the pictures in the middle of the book and screamed. It was him. It was that man who had frightened me so badly at the donut shop. He wore the same plaid shirt, the same thin windbreaker. His eyes were the same. In her book, the author wrote that around the time of my encounter, the man and his unsuspecting wife often traveled I-5 and Highway 99 to various swap meets.
I firmly believe an angel guided my fingers to lock the doors of the van that day. How I thank God for His protection. I shudder to think what could have happened without His supernatural intervention.
Angels--our God-given protectors. I wonder how many times we walk through our lives, unaware of their protection and guidance?