Melanie Parsons and her friend Tricia Andrews had been looking forward to New Year's Eve for months. The girls were seventeen and for the first time had been granted permission from their parents to attend the all-night party that preceded the annual Tournament of Roses Parade along the streets of Pasadena, California. When morning came, the two friends would watch the parade and then return home.

The girls and their parents believed the plan was both simple and safe. They would travel together in Melanie's car and set up alongside a dozen other friends who would also be lined along the parade route. They did not drink, and so planned to refrain from the alcohol-induced revelry that would certainly be going on around them.

Melanie was not concerned. She and Tricia had been attending an active high school youth group at her local Christian church, and she had recently committed her life to God. Regardless of how crazy things might get around them, she did not foresee any problems.

At first the night went as planned. She and Tricia had met up with their friends and the group laughed and danced to the music that filled the street from all directions. Despite the darkness, crowds of people walked along the parade route dressed in flamboyant attire and waving flags. Others openly tilted champagne bottles and beer cans while hooting in preparation for the approaching midnight hour. Although Melanie would not be drinking that night, she knew that some of the girls in the group would be. She silently hoped no one would get sick or hurt. Not one to worry for long, Melanie forgot her concerns and began enjoying herself and the mood of celebration around her.

About that time a diminutive man walked past Melanie and her group of friends. Abruptly he turned, set his eyes on Melanie, and slowly approached her. As he reached her, he handed her a yellow sticker that read "Jesus loves you." Melanie smiled as she took the sticker.

"Thanks," she told the man, who appeared to be by himself and detached from the partying taking place around him. "I already know that." The man nodded and smiled serenely at the teenage girl. Then he turned away and proceeded down Colorado Boulevard.

"That was strange," Melanie told Tricia as she pulled her aside.

"What?" Tricia looked around confused.

"That man." Melanie pointed to the sticker which she placed on the sleeve of her shirt. "He just walked up to me and gave me this."

Tricia shrugged. "It's New Year's Eve. I guess that means there'll be all kinds down here tonight."

"Yeah, I guess," Melanie said, looking after the man once more and seeing that he was no longer in sight. She smiled. "At least it's true."

Tricia nodded and grabbed Melanie's sleeve. "Come on. Everyone's waiting for us."

As the girls returned to their group of friends, Melanie dismissed her thoughts of the man. As the evening progressed, people began cruising Colorado Boulevard in their cars, greeting those lined along the parade route, and lending their music to the party scene before moving slowly along the street. Melanie and her friends joined in the fun, waving to the people in the cars and enjoying the excitement.

When the cars lined up were bumper to bumper and barely moving, a hatchback with two good-looking young men pulled up in front of the girls.

"Hey, wanna ride?" one of them called out.

Melanie, always the vocal one in the group, laughed out loud. "Right!" she shouted over the roar of noise that filled the street. "Like we'd take a ride with a total stranger."

The young man smiled. Melanie and Tricia exchanged a knowing glance, silently agreeing that he was indeed very handsome. "Oh, come on. We're just circling the parade route. Climb in through the hatchback, we'll take you once around and bring you back here."

Melanie was skeptical. She eyed the car they were driving and saw that the hatchback was open. What harm could come if she and Tricia sat in the back and rode once around the parade route? Traffic was moving so slowly that they could always jump out if they didn't want to stay with the guys.

"Well," the driver of the car said, grinning as he ignored the honking horns from the cars he was holding up behind him. "You coming or not?"

Melanie looked at Tricia and shrugged. Grabbing her hand, she leaned toward her friend. "You only live once--come on!"

Tricia grinned, moving alongside Melanie and climbing gracefully into the rear of the hatchback. Melanie was always impulsive, but even so, taking a ride from two strangers was completely out of character for her. Still, it was New Year's Eve and the traffic was moving so slowly there seemed to be no harm in what they were doing.

At first the girls had a wonderful time, waving to the hundreds of people set up along Colorado Boulevard. They laughed and linked arms and pretended to be part of a parade vehicle as the car moved slowly through Pasadena. Melanie guessed that the boys' hatchback was creeping along at barely five miles per hour. Their feet could almost touch the ground safely. She felt certain she and Tricia were safe.

But when thirty minutes had passed, Melanie suddenly noticed that the crowd that lined the street was thinning and there were no longer markers indicating that they were on the parade route. At about that time the driver of the car whispered something to his friend, and both laughed out loud. Melanie looked over her shoulder and saw that both young men were drinking and that there were several empty beer cans along the floor of their car.

Just then the car came to a stop at an intersection, and Melanie instantly realized that they were heading away from Pasadena. Although the boys had the radio turned up very loud, she suddenly heard a voice say, "Get out! They're taking you to the beach to rape you."

Melanie looked through the windshield and saw that the hatchback was about to enter the westbound Ventura Freeway--a route that eventually would lead to the beach.

"Quick!" she shouted at Tricia. "We're in trouble, get out!"

Tricia sat stunned and made no move to jump out of the car. But the driver of the car had heard Melanie's scream, and immediately pressed his foot down hard on the accelerator. The car jolted through the intersection and toward the freeway ramp.

In a split-second decision Melanie knew she would rather die on a roadway in Pasadena than be taken to the beach and raped. She pulled her feet up under her and dived out of the back of the moving hatchback before Tricia could stop her.

The traffic light had just turned green and cars from all directions came to a screeching halt as Melanie's body slammed onto the pavement and slid into the middle of the intersection. Although a number of cars were traveling fast and headed right toward her, none of them harmed her. Later, one of the passersby would say there seemed almost to be a protective shield around the girl as she landed in the road untouched by the heavy traffic.

A motorcycle police officer saw what happened and instantly was at Melanie's side. He had attended enough accidents to know that the girl was probably seriously injured.

"Don't move," he said, climbing off his motorcycle and kneeling by her side. "I'll call for help."

"My friend!" Melanie shouted, tears streaming down her face. "They're going to rape my friend."

The officer looked up and saw the hatchback that the girl had jumped from moments earlier. The car had temporarily pulled off to the side of the road when the girl had jumped, but now the driver was attempting to enter the freeway once again. Immediately the officer climbed back onto his motorcycle, flipped on his red lights, and in a few seconds pulled the car over.

As soon as the car stopped, Tricia climbed out the back and ran toward Melanie, who was still in the middle of the street where she was being helped by several people who had seen what happened. Tricia was crying when she reached her friend.

"My God, why did you do that, Mel?" she asked, standing over her friend and running her hand nervously through her hair. "You could have killed yourself!"

"They were going to rape us, Tricia. I heard it. Someone told me they were going to take us to the beach and rape us."

Tricia's face grew pale. "Who? I didn't hear anything."

Melanie pointed toward the freeway signs. "Look. They left the parade route a long time ago, and they were just about to take us on the freeway. They're drinking, Tricia. As soon as we got on the freeway, we would have been dead. The hatchback was up and we could have flown right out of there. Don't you see?"

Tricia looked back at the car where the police officer was administering a drunk-driving test to the young man behind the wheel.

"Melanie, you're right. I can't believe we were so stupid." Tricia was terrified as she knelt by her friend's side. "Are you okay?"

For the first time since jumping from the car, Melanie rolled onto her back and sat up. She was wearing long white denim jeans and her eyes grew wide as she ran her fingers over her knees. She had dived right onto the pavement and skidded several feet along the asphalt before coming to a stop, yet the knees and fronts of her jeans were completely clean and unharmed.

Suddenly Melanie remembered that as she hit the pavement she seemed to have lost all sense of feeling in her body. There had been no pain, no fear; only a certainty that she had done what she had to do to save her life.

Now as she remembered the strange sensation of landing on the road without feeling pain, she looked at the palms of her hands. She had seen her hands sliding along the street and knew they would be torn apart from the rough road. But as she examined them she found that they, too, were unharmed. Her skin was as soft and unscratched as if she had never touched the road.

"I'm fine," she said, her voice little more than a whisper. "Can you see this, Trish? I'm perfectly fine."

Tricia was watching her friend with wide eyes. She had seen the way Melanie had jumped from the car and landed harshly on the pavement. It was impossible that she would be unmarked by the fall.

Melanie stood up and looked herself over once more. There was not even any dirt to brush off her body, and she felt perfectly fine. Too stunned to wait for the police officer, she motioned for Tricia to follow her, and the girls set off walking back toward their friends. They were silent much of the way until at last their group came into sight. At that moment Melanie stopped and glanced down at her shirt sleeve. There was the sticker, also completely unscathed by the jump.

"Jesus loves me," she said out loud, her voice almost trancelike. Then she looked at Tricia. "You know what happened tonight just doesn't happen. I jumped from a moving car and I'm perfectly fine." She paused for what seemed like nearly a minute.

"Tricia," she finally said, taking the sticker from her sleeve and holding it carefully in her hand. "It was a miracle what happened tonight. That's why that man gave me this sticker. I think God knew what was going to happen, and he looked out for us."

Tricia reached out and hugged her friend tightly, still shocked by the sight of Melanie jumping into traffic only to walk away with no sign of the fall. "Thank God," she whispered, her eyes filling with tears at the thought of what might have happened to them. "Thank God."


From: ANGELS, MIRACLES AND ANSWERED PRAYERS. (It must have been a miracle Everyday lives touched by miracles) Vol 1. Kelsey Tyler. Angel encounters in everyday life and everyday lives touched by miracles. Pag. 77-83, Guideposts. New York 1994.