It wasn’t until I wrote about the experience later in the day that I was struck by the thought…had it been an Angel Bus?
Our rough collie has digestive problems and can only eat prescription dog food. As long as she eats that dog food – and that dog food only – she does well. Because of Angel Joy’s chronic illness, she can tolerate only one type of treat, which most stores don’t stock.
I took a bus to Inverness, Scotland, and waited at the bus station at the designated stand for the connection needed. It never came. It was cold, rainy, and windy (imagine that in Scotland!), and my fingers and toes were growing numb. I finally asked the driver of another bus if his bus went to the retail center. He told me I would have to walk to the stand in the town center. So I went…and that bus never came. It was announced on the flashing sign and I waited through 30 minutes of changing promises that it was arriving in three minutes, two minutes, etc., but it never arrived.
Without leaving the stand where the sign promised a bus would arrive imminently, and walking some distance in the rain (it hadn’t been raining when I left home, so I was unprepared) to my bank, I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. But I was so cold and miserable that I decided I would either take a taxi – or just go back home without the treats.
Then an old white bus limped to a stop in front of me. It was not painted or marked like a city bus. It resembled a bus from a third world country, like the one in Walt Disney’s 1964 “The Moon-Spinners,” with Hayley Mills. The door opened. I peeked inside the empty bus and asked, “Does this go to the retail center?”
The driver smiled (a rarity for Scottish bus drivers) and said, “If that’s where you want to go.” So dismissing the idea that I might be kidnapped as writer’s imagination (I don’t make enough with my writing to be worth kidnapping), I climbed aboard the empty bus and arrived at the retail park. When I was ready to leave, there were a plethora of city-marked buses coming to collect passengers and take them back to the main bus station.
Had it been an Angel Bus? Hebrews 13:2 advises, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” And Psalm 91:11 says that God will give His angels charge over us to keep us in all our ways.
Not all angels take a human form. I remember the lovely golden retriever that followed Luke home one day and stayed on our porch all night. The dog tackled a drunk intruder and chased him away…then vanished. We could never find the dog or the dog’s owner to thank them.
I think of two of my high school English teachers as angels. Both encouraged me in my writing, no matter how many misspelled words I had or how messy my handwriting was. Miss Greene’s statement, “Stephanie, I believe I will be reading your books someday and teaching them in my literature classes,” kept me going for years no matter how many rejection slips I got on manuscripts. I wanted to prove Miss Greene’s confidence in me had not been misplaced.
Was it an Angel Bus? I’ll never know for sure, but I do know it’s important to be angels to other people. Who can we encourage today? Being an angel is as important as entertaining one.
4 thoughts on “Angel Bus”
Reblogged this on Val Poore and commented:
A lovely anecdote from Stephanie Parker McKean, and yes, I rather thing it was an angel bus!
Steph, I’m sure it was an angel bus. After all, why else would it be old, unmarked and with no apparent destination other than to take you where you wanted to go!
I really believe that, Val. I seemed to be the only person who even saw the bus. With approximately 30 folks waiting at the curb in the cold and rain for buses – surely someone else besides me wanted to go to the Retail Park where the big grocery store and all the other assorted stores are. When I left the retail center, some 15 folks got on the bus from that location to go back to the bus station. Inverness city buses are blue with darker blue and yellow markings and they all identify themselves as “City Link” buses. It was amazing that the driver said, “If that’s where you want to go,” instead of just answering, “yes.” An unforgettable experience. Not only did God care about wet, shivering, cold me – He cared about poor Angel Joy who can tolerate no treat at all except that one kind found only at that one location and her prescription dog food. She can’t tolerate protein, not even a tiny sliver of cheese from the cheese grater. It made me feel special and loved…and that Angel Joy was equally special and loved.
Lovely post. I was right there in rainy Inverness with you.