by Cindy Van Winkle
It was cold, wet and rainy on that blustery November afternoon in the Pacific Northwest. We had stopped at the local Dollar Tree for my disposable coffee cups. While Tim ran in, Molly and I sat out in the cab of the truck, radio on, she in her booster seat playing with her dolls. My phone rang, and I was chatting for a brief moment when suddenly, Molly said, "We're rolling!"
I said, "Hold on" as I undid my seatbelt, and moved the phone away from my face, opened the door and flung my leg out to touch the moving ground with my toe. From that moment, the next 15 seconds or so felt like a lifetime.
I jumped down out of the truck and braced my feet, leaning into it, positioning my body in an attempt to stop our 2-ton Ford F-150 pickup truck. Not being able to see, I didn't know how far we'd gone or where we were headed. I just knew that I needed to get my 4-year-old granddaughter out of that truck with me.
I reached as far as my hands could and unhooked the belt that was tightly fastened across Molly's lap, telling her, "Come on!" I remember her saying she was stuck; the belt was clinging under the armrests of her seat and I couldn't climb in to get it moved. I had somehow managed to stop the truck as all of this was happening, but the truck began to roll forward, which made my sense of urgency stronger, knowing I didn't have the same leverage of the door in my favor. Yet, somehow, I was able to stop the truck again, this time as Molly was shrieking of her inability to remove the belt.
As all this was happening, my husband Tim was at the check stand and another customer was leaving the store. Just as the store door was opened for that brief moment, he heard Molly's scream and looked out the window to see our truck no longer in its parking spot. He ran outside toward the truck. I heard him say my name, and all I could muster is, "Tim, the truck is rolling."
Tim ran around the truck and jumped in, putting his foot on the brake. No longer needing to hold the truck at bay, I climbed into the cab as Tim started the engine and moved it back into our parking space. He got out, securing the emergency brake, and went back into the store to complete his minor purchase. And as suddenly as the horrors of those 15 seconds began, they had ended, leaving me to ponder the reality of experiencing a truly miraculous moment.
We've all heard of incidents where someone does something beyond natural human strength, usually in an emergency situation where adrenalin kicks in. We've also heard of times where someone accounts for a super-natural act involving a super-natural power beyond the physical one. I believe both very much came into play over the course of our 15-second ordeal. From a 4-year-old having the ability to communicate so quickly and clearly what was happening, to my being able to stop 4,000 pounds of metal from rolling (my feet staying secure to the wet ground), the store door opening just at the right moment for Tim to hear Molly's scream, and for him to be able to physically run to the truck and jump in with his bad back and not slip; those 15 seconds were amazing.
After we all caught our breath again, Papa and I were praising Molly for letting me know about the truck moving. Papa told her she was a hero. She sweetly replied, "I'm not a hero. Nana stopped the truck. I didn't stop the truck." Although a week following our incident, my body tells me I stopped the truck as aches and pains abound, I write this knowing with every fiber of my being that whether it was adrenalin, a spiritual intervention or a combination of both, it was nothing less than a miracle.