The following story was told at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, California, in conversation during a Sunday school class. As with several other tales told here, the names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved. But there is something different about this story. Whereas other angel encounters in this collection involve interaction with people who quite possibly were angels, this story does not. Still, it is my opinion that an angel encounter of some kind took place, and I wanted to share it with you.

Christine Hallberg had finished shopping and was discouraged to see what time it was. The southern California mall had announced its closing message and now it was after nine o'clock. Christmas was still less than a month away, and Christine had hoped to get a great deal of shopping done before the rush began in earnest.

She gathered her bags in her arms and dug through her purse for her car keys. She knew she needed to hurry. Her husband, Mike, was home with the boys and would have been expecting her by now. Walking outside the mall into the dark, cold parking lot, Christine continued to fumble through the belongings on the bottom of her purse in search of her car keys.

Lost in her search, she did not notice the movement of at least one person very near her car.

Finally her fingers wrapped around her keys and she looked up for her car; the parking lot was nearly empty. She realized in dismay how far away she had parked. Glancing around nervously, she picked up her pace. Ten years ago she might not have worried about her safety in such a situation. But now, in 1991, crime had increased in all parts of Pasadena and the surrounding areas. Christine knew she was in a vulnerable position as she made her way to her Buick, opened the door, and climbed inside.

Suddenly, a masked man appeared less than ten feet from her window. His eyes were wild and he was walking toward her, pointing a gun at her, and motioning for her to open the door.

Resisting the urge to panic, Christine ignored the man, locked her door, and tried to start her car. Nothing happened. The man was nearly at her door; she tried again, but the engine seemed to be completely dead.

"Please, God!" she whispered, just as the man began banging the handle of the gun on her window.

Closing her eyes, Christine tried once more to start the car, and finally, the engine turned over. In an instant, Christine slammed the car into gear and sped off, leaving the man in the shadows.

Christine cried the entire way home, stunned by what could have happened and baffled by her car's refusal to start the first time. The car had just been thoroughly inspected and had passed with flying


She turned her thoughts toward God and thanked Him profusely for helping her out of what so easily might have been a life-threatening situation. She shuddered as she imagined what the man might have done if she had been stuck there just a few moments longer. Especially with the parking lot dark and most of the Christmas shoppers already gone.

She pulled into the driveway of their hillside home minutes later and, still feeling weak from the ordeal, made her way inside. There she tearfully shared the incident with her husband.

"You're safe now," Mike told her, taking her into his arms. After Christine had told him the specific details of the incident and what the man had looked like, Mike called the police. Once that was done, he turned to his wife.

"Let's go outside and look at the car," he said. "I can't understand why it would have done that. The mechanic just checked it out a few weeks ago, right?"

"Right," Christine said, nodding.

"I don't get it," Mike said, grabbing a flashlight and leading Christine outside toward the car. She watched as he opened the hood. Suddenly he stood back, allowing the flashlight to drop slowly by his side. He looked stunned, and Christine looked instantly concerned.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"It's impossible," he muttered.

"What?" Christine moved closer, looking into the car's engine.

"There," Mike said, pointing the flashlight once more at the engine. "The battery is gone."

"What," Christine was confused. "How could it be? I just got home."

Mike turned slowly toward his wife. "Don't you see? Someone set you up. While you were shopping, someone took your battery and then waited for you. They knew you wouldn't be able to start your car and . . ." Mike stopped mid-sentence imagining what the masked man had intended for his young, beautiful wife.

"It's impossible," he said again.

"I don't understand," Christine said. She was more confused than ever, and terrified at Mike's discovery. She had been set up and somehow escaped being attacked. "If the battery is gone, how did the car start, Mike?"

"That's what I mean. There isn't any way to start an engine like this without a battery."

Chills made their way down Christine's spine and she reached for her husband's hand. "What are you saying?" she asked softly.

"I don't know. I can't explain it. Somehow you made it home without a battery. It's impossible."

Suddenly Christine felt a peace wash over her. "Mike, could it be God was watching out for me?"

Mike's eyes widened and a knowing look came over his face. Slowly, deliberately, he stared up at the star-covered sky. Christine followed his example, and for several minutes the couple gazed into the night. Finally, Mike broke the silence.

"God, we may never understand what happened tonight," he whispered. "But we are eternally grateful. Thank you."


From: ANGELS, MIRACLES AND ANSWERED PRAYERS. (There’s an angel on your shoulder: Angel encounters in everyday life) Vol 1. Kelsey Tyler. Angel encounters in everyday life and everyday lives touched by miracles. Pag. 101-104, Guideposts. New York 1994.