I felt ill at ease in a strange way when our daughter drove off in our old Dodge Caravan to pick up my son from yeshiva. She was new at the wheel, and there was plenty of traffic to maneuver around in Lakewood on Friday afternoons. An innocent, precious neshamah in my eyes who didn’t belong on the busy roads, she wanted to help out. So when I was called later to the scene of the accident, the One Above seemed to confirm that my assessment had been totally accurate.
Not seeing oncoming traffic, our daughter attempted to cross Route 9, the thoroughfare that passes through our town. She was astonished when an even larger, faster van appeared out of nowhere and sideswiped the driver’s side of our caravan. After making a spin and coming to a stop, our daughter walked unscathed to the sidewalk where a crowd gathered around her, guiding her as she confronted the law enforcement officers who were dispatched to the scene.
Unable to focus on the ramifications of the damage around her, our daughter did what she always does: she told the truth. She explained how she had proceeded to cross Route 9 because she hadn’t seen any cars speeding toward her. After the collision she watched in a daze as the tow truck lifted our crippled van onto the bed of its truck and police officers walked between her and the angry driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, trying to gather as much information as possible about the collision.
When it came time for a kind police officer to return our daughter’s driver’s license to her, it was not to be found. It had vanished. The police officer explained that he had been called to many accidents that day and, as a high-ranking officer in the police force, he was worn out and was not his usual, organized self. He kept apologizing while searching for it in the front section of his car. But he just could not find the license.
The officer asked us for our home address in order to bring over the license once it had been found. He assumed that it had fallen into some hidden area of his car, and that after taking things apart at the station he would be able to come to our home and return our daughter’s license to us. We parted, wished each other well, and gratefully took our shaken but uninjured daughter back home to safety.
Later, before candle lighting for Shabbat, there was a knock on the door. With help from Above, the officer apologetically gave the license back to us – too embarrassed to give my daughter a ticket for her mistake after he had been in error himself. While our van was now out of commission, our daughter and her driving record were still in good shape.