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There was a guardian angel on our shoulders that night
francis bond
Francis Bond

Taking a vacation is a risk that we will take, regardless of what could occur.

We never think of the dangers. There’s only one aim: have a good time and escape from our responsibilities. Things can happen, and we never think about them until later, when we are in our hours of reminiscence.

Then it occurs: a strong feeling that we could have been seriously injured or destroyed. The unforeseen dangers would have been enough to cancel any vacation. But then, would we have done that? The answer of course would be a big no — that’s life!

Near our anniversary, we took a vacation for one night only, renting a room in a hotel not far from home. The idea was to take advantage of a free night at a luxurious hotel; who wouldn’t? Otherwise, it would have cost us more than $100 a night.

There is a perfect parking lot at this hotel, parallel with the main street. There was only one space open. Since we arrived early and were lucky, we occupied it. All the other parking areas were around back. We could stand at our window and see our car.

A natural thing to do, of course, was to go out for a formal dinner. So we backed out of our ideal parking space, drove to a plush restaurant and had a delicious meal with a glass of wine.

When we returned, someone had taken our parking space. All the other spaces appeared more unsafe from burglary or car theft. Disappointed, we reluctantly parked in an undesired space.

At about 1:30 a.m., Dell heard a loud noise, thinking it might have been thunder. We rushed to the window. I thought I was in the middle of nightmare, but it was real. That thundering noise was a crashing sound from the perfect parking lot.

Looking out our window from five floors up, I saw a scene I can never forget. I grabbed my camera to photograph every scene of the disaster. There were seven vehicles involved.

I kept looking at the space we had once occupied. In it was a vehicle turned on its side, lying crosswise with the complete front end torn out, engine and all. The front ends of six other vehicles had been ripped from their bodies. It was as if something from outer space had caused this disaster.

At that moment, there was one thing on my mind: We were not involved in it. There must have been a guardian angel on our shoulders.

It was said, according to the hotel desk clerk, that a man about 26 years old climbed out of a vehicle, staggered into the hotel and asked her to call 911. He said he was badly hurt in an automobile wreck. We never saw him.

By observing my photographs and looking over the whole scene at daybreak, one could determine just about what had happened. His car, moving at a great speed, went over the curb onto a grassy knoll and went airborne, landing on the tops of six vehicles. His car spun off, coming to rest on the section of grass between the edge of the parking lot and the street, pointing in the opposite direction.

Yes, there must have been a guardian angel on our shoulder.

Bond, a Richmond Hill resident, occasionally writes on topics that interest him.

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