By Tucker Bonner
Trinity Center Volunteer
On a cold night in early March of 1999, I was in Chicago attending a professional conference. Snow had begun to fall in the afternoon, and I decided it would be nice to walk up Michigan Avenue to a favorite restaurant for dinner. By the end of dinner, a picturesque snowfall had become a blinding blizzard. As I headed back to my hotel, the streets were empty. There were no taxis available, there were no vehicles of any kind moving about, and there were almost no people out in the weather.
I trudged back toward my hotel. Michigan Avenue — empty Michigan Avenue—was eerily quiet. Only the sound of wind howling around the buildings and driving the snow into my eyes disrupted the silence. As I crossed the street toward my hotel, my left foot caught on an unseen curb beneath the snow. As I fell backward, I heard an unmistakable crunching sound as the weight of my body landed on my ankle. I lay there for a couple of minutes trying to understand what had happened. I looked at my ankle and realized that toes that should be pointing straight ahead were at a ninety-degree angle. An attempt to get up taught me immediately that it was not possible to put weight on the ankle.
As I began inching my way in a painful crawl, a homeless man came running toward me. He said, “Let me help you, man. Where are you headed?” I told him that I needed to get to the hotel across the street. He lifted me up, and with my arm over his shoulder, we hobbled together to the hotel. When I was safely deposited inside the vestibule, my homeless angel went in to alert the hotel staff. As they scurried about to determine if I had fallen on hotel property, I reached for my wallet so that I could give my nameless friend a token of my gratitude. But the hotel employees intervened and told him that he would have to leave the property.
Since that cold night, I have wanted to find a way to thank the angel who rescued me from the snow. I hope that by making a small contribution of time as a Trinity Center volunteer, I can fulfill the need I have had to say, “Thank you, angel.”
Editor’s Note: Tucker joined our Thursday kitchen team several months ago and also has played piano for our Sunday Trinity Streets worship service. Apparently camera-shy, he adamantly refused to let me snap a photo of him slicing bagels in his blue Trinity apron. So you cannot see him on this page, but know that he is here! – Diane Holloway