Phoenix Singer answers the question:
What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?
It's such a good question, Phil, and as I was thinking about this since you asked me to do this with you... I've been blessed with a life full of people doing incredible things for me and I'm not sure exactly how I can sift through those all to come up with the most powerful, among people I know especially. So I'm going to talk about something that happened with a stranger who I feel saved my life.
So I think it'll be 14 years about three days before Christmas, and I was walking home from work, which was around the corner from where I was living at the time in the Mission [District] in San Francisco. I heard a car door slam behind me, and I just had a funny feeling about it. And so, I continued walking and I walked more quickly as I heard someone start to... well, I heard the footsteps behind me. Sorry, this is a little bit nerve-wracking to tell the story cause I don't speak of it that often.
I walked past my home because I had some feeling that I shouldn't let this person know where I live. And I rounded the corner to try to go into a bar on the street over, and this man grabbed me from behind and put his hand over my mouth and pulled me in between... so, in San Francisco, some of the houses are right up against each other, especially like the apartment buildings, the units that have flats. And some of them have a little space where people put their garbage and recycling, and he pulled me into one of those. I couldn't really scream, but there was definitely sound and commotion, and he assaulted me in a violent and very upsetting way, sexually assaulted.
So the person who's done the nicest thing for me heard the commotion and came... apparently lived in that building right next door to where we were, came down the stairs, saw what was going on and yelled until the man ran away. And then he brought me up to his home, where I kind of pulled myself together and he called the police for me and sat there while I gave the police a report. And I'm not sure I ever even knew this man's name. I'd been living in that neighborhood for a pretty long time, and I walked the streets a lot and it was a little bit strange to me that I had never seen this man. He lived right around the corner from me and it was a very kind of social neighborhood, yet I had never seen him before. I don't remember quite how the night ended.
And about a week and a half later, there was somebody... so, there was a cafe that I used to go to right around the corner. I used to go to every day to get my latte, and that morning, as I was quite shaken up and I had stopped some things that were part of my regular routine, I didn't go in that day. But apparently the gentleman who'd assaulted me was in and out of the cafe and pacing back and forth outside the door and kind of mumbling to himself. And my hero, the angel who had saved me that night, had a suspicion about him and vaguely recognized him even though he had seen him only for a second.
And so he called the police, and the police came and apprehended the guy and that's how he was then put in jail. As it had happened, he actually knew exactly where I lived and had been watching me. And it just, it's been very striking to me that this man, who saved me, was there just in the most important moments probably of my life.
Sometimes I've wondered... the only other time I ever saw him was at the arraignment. He showed up there and we didn't speak; I was in the front row and he was in the back. He didn't approach me, I didn't approach him, and he didn't speak to me after. And sometimes I'm almost convinced, or at least I wonder if he didn't exist almost in physical form in the everyday world, but came as my angel, my guardian to help me out, to take care of me when I needed it the most.
And for a stranger to go that far in taking care of someone he didn't know, putting himself at risk was truly... I have never been more grateful for anything. And if he is out there, is a real human being. I send him so much gratitude and love and want him to know that I'm doing well. And if my suspicion is correct, and he just happens to exist in another realm and was sent for me in my time of need, I know that he already knows that I'm doing well, and that my gratitude for him is immense.
Phoenix Singer is a Marketing Writer on the Shift Community Transformation Team.
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This article appears in: 2019 Catalyst, Issue 14: The Reuniting Science & Spirituality Summit