As told to Frances Haddad
The sun shone brightly on that beautiful summer day in August 2009, which began as a typical day like any other. After doing errands, I drove back to my home on Ocean Parkway. I pulled into the service lane in front of my house, found a spot, and stepped out of my car. I proceeded to cross the street, and a man riding a bicycle rammed into me. I was knocked unconscious as I fell onto the solid tarmac beneath me.
The next thing I knew, I was awake on an Ocean Parkway bench with the man responsible for the accident hovering over me. I tried to blink, and when I opened my then-swollen eyes again, I saw her. It was Val, the woman who assists community brides in Shaare Zion. I heard her ask, “Is she okay? What happened?” The man kept on repeating, “She is fine.” But I didn’t feel fine, and Val noticed that I was in trouble, too. Pretty soon, the man took off, leaving me alone with Val.
I knew that something terrible must have happened, but since I did not feel any pain as of yet, I wasn’t sure exactly what condition I was in. With Val’s help, I was able to contact my husband, who immediately called Hatzalah. While waiting for the ambulance, it suddenly dawned on me. If Val hadn’t been walking my way, and if she hadn’t recognized me, I would have been abandoned on that bench, alone, unable to move or call for help.
Hatzalah came, and as I was carried into the ambulance, I felt Hashem’s hashkafa practitevery step of the way. I sensed that no harm could befall me. When I got to the hospital, I learned that I had sustained numerous injuries, including bruises and fractured bones. Everyone around me was extremely concerned for my wellbeing, yet I felt a sense of tranquility knowing that Hashem was with me.
After regaining my strength and speaking to Val, I learned that she did not usually take the route that she had taken on that day. On her way to work in Shaare Zion, Val normally walks up Avenue T. But on the day of the accident, Hashem orchestrated a change of plans, and Val decided to walk up Avenue U. She said it was because she wanted to get coffee, but I knew that Hashem had sent her as the messenger to ensure that I would be cared for. Hashem coordinated that she would be there at the exact time that I needed her.
Recovery was long. Physical therapy was required for an extended period of time, and I could not return to work for several months. Regardless, I always turned to Hashem and thanked Him for the hesed (kindness) He had done for me, realizing that it could have been so much worse. There have been cases of people in similar accidents who never fully recovered. However, I was fortunate, and as time passed, I began to heal, and was able to return to my regular routine.
To demonstrate my gratitude, I host an annual se’udat hodayah (thanksgiving celebration) with my family, to commemorate the miracles that occurred on that August day. If Hashem had not arranged the events in the way that they transpired, I don’t know where I would be. Although it was a difficult experience, I gained chizuk knowing that Hashem is in control of everything and that He prepared the remedy before He sent the affliction, and I am forever grateful to Him.