post written by: Marc Chernoff

Who Will Save Your Life?

Who will save your life?

In the summer of 1997, at the age of fifteen, I learned a valuable life lesson.

And I learned it the hard way.

Leave It There For Now

“Go deep!” Roger shouts.  I sprint as fast as I can, but not fast enough.  The football flies over my head, bounces off the ground, and takes a massive leap over the schoolyard’s fence.  It lands in private property on the opposite side.

“Ahh… jeez!” I yelp.  “That’s the witch lady’s yard!  You’re going to go get that!”

“No I’m not!” Roger insists.  “I had to deal with that freak last week.  So this time it’s your turn.”

“Man, she creeps me out!  The way she speaks… and that hairy mole on her nose… yuck.  I don’t feel like dealing with her.  It’s my football, and I’d rather just leave it there for now and get it later.”

“Fair enough, I’m ready to do something else anyway,” Roger replies.  “Let’s head over to the arcade.  I wouldn’t mind whooping your butt in a few rounds of Street Fighter.”

“Hah, you wish!  I’ll destroy you, but not today.  I promised my mom I wouldn’t leave the schoolyard.”

Roger rolls his eyes.  “Dude, you’re such a goody-goody.  The arcade is practically across the street.  We’ll be back here long before your mom comes looking for us.”

I think for a second.  “Well… alright, screw it.  Let’s go.”

We jump on our bikes and peddle off to the arcade.

It’s Too Late

Thirty minutes later, Roger is begging for mercy.  “Ah, today is just your lucky day,” he gripes.  “Don’t let it get to your head.”

I chuckle.  “Yeah, yeah… I didn’t say a word.  But we do need to get back to the schoolyard so I can get my football.”

We jump back on our bikes, peddle to the crosswalk, and wait for the ‘walk’ signal.  “Okay, ‘walk,’ we’re good!  Last one to the witch’s house is a rotten egg!” Roger shouts.  I have about a six foot head start on him, so I begin peddling as fast as I can.

“No Marc!  Watch out!” Roger squeals in a panic.  I look up just in time to see a black car speeding directly at me through the red light.  I leap from my bike.  But it’s too late.

My lanky fifteen year old body smashes into the windshield, flips lifelessly over the roof of the car, and strikes the concrete with a sickening thud.

Barely conscious, bloody, and broken.

I vaguely hear Roger’s voice crying for help over the sound of screeching tires… as the black car speeds away from the scene of the accident.

He’s Our Guardian Angel

I open my eyes slowly and my vision gradually comes into focus.  “Hey honey,” my mom says.

“Where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital, dear.  But the surgeon said you’re going to be just fine.”


“It’s okay, you’ve already been through surgery in the ER,” my mom replies as she grasps my hand.  “You cracked four of your ribs, which punctured your lungs.  But they went in and stitched you back together.”

“That…  That…”  My mom interrupts me as tears begin rolling down her cheeks.

“We just need to be grateful… because you were barely breathing, honey.  The surgeon said your lungs were filled with blood.  He said it could have been a lot worse had the ambulance not gotten to you in time.”

“That car… that black car… it ran the red light,” I whisper restlessly.

“Shhh… It’s okay,” my mom reassures me.  “The same wonderful man that called the ambulance also called the police with the license plate number of the black car.  The driver was drunk.  It was a hit and run.  But the police already have him in custody.”

“Do you know who made the calls?”

My mom reaches into her jeans pocket, pulls out a post-it note, and holds it up so I can read it.  “Chris Evans – 305-555-8362” is written in red ink.  “Chris Evans,” my mom says as she takes a deep breath.  “Whoever he is, he’s our guardian angel.”

“How’d you get his name and number?”

“I asked the paramedics for it.  They told me they weren’t supposed to give out this kind of information, but I begged,” my mom says.  “I told them I needed to know who saved my baby’s life.”

“Have you called him?”

“Yeah, but he doesn’t answer my calls.  It rings four times and goes straight to a voicemail beep.  There’s not even a voice greeting.  I’ve already left three messages over the last forty-eight hours.  But he hasn’t called me back, and I suspect he may never.”

How Do You Know?

Six months later, after a grueling recovery process, my doctor finally gives me the nod to partake in regular physical activity again.  Roger and I jump at the chance to toss his new Nerf football around at the schoolyard.

“Go deep!” Roger shouts.

“Not yet, dude.  I’m still not 100%.  My doctor says I need to ease into it slowly.  Cool?”

Roger smiles.  “Yeah, of course, bro.  My bad, I didn’t mean to…”  He is suddenly interrupted.

“Marc!  Marc Andrew something!” a raspy female voice hollers from behind us.  Roger and I turn around and are shocked to see the witch lady peeking her head over the schoolyard’s fence.  “I believe this belongs to you.”  She holds up an old football and tosses it towards me.  The ball bounces across the ground and rolls up to my feet.  Sure enough, it’s the ball I left on her property the day of the accident.

“Thanks, but… how… how do you know my name?  And my middle name?” I ask.

“About six months ago, your mom left me a few voicemail messages.  My name is Chris Evans,” she says.

Photo by: Yuga

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  • I rarely comment on blogs etc but that is a fabulous story. Thank you for sharing.

  • That’s definitely an interesting lesson. Such a terrible but enlightening experience to go through at that age.

  • Great story! And it reminds me that how we perceive something/someone, and what actually is the case can be two separate things. How am I perceiving things in my life today?

    And, Marc, what an experience to go through. You never know who might be watching out for you…

  • Marc, this is a lovely story. You have so many personal experiences to share, it’s amazing!

  • This story gave me chills and is one I plan to use with my students this week, right before the end of school! It reminds all of us, not to judge to quickly or harshly for we never know who might be really living on the inside of a person, unless we take the time to get to know them!

    Thank you!

    Susan M. Ford

  • Wow. That’s a great story!!! I learned a few things from it… (1) Don’t judge others and (2) You should be nice to everyone because s/he just might save your life one day. Really great post. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  • Beautiful story… goes to show, you just never know who will be there to help you when you need it most.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • Never ever judge the book by it’s cover.
    Thanxs! I just retweeted this story it’s soo good!

  • Crazy man, I never heard that story before….

  • It’s a fantastic real story that you’ve shared. I’m sure that since then your buddies and you had stop with the name calling (eg: “witch-lady”) too. :)

  • @Penny: As we all know, often we have to deal with tragedy and failure before we see the light.

    @Susan: We’d be honored to have you share this story with your students. I hope they never make my mistake.

    @Daniel and Jonas: Yeah, I’ve never name-called or judged a book by its cover again.

    @Atown: Yeah, it’s not an experience I speak about too often. But I finally decided it was a story that needed to be told.

    @All: As always, thanks for the kind remarks. We love reading your comments. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and time with us.

  • Fantastic story! Stumbled.

  • Wow. In all honesty I wasn’t going to read this right now as I’m supposed to be working. However when I read the first comment I decided my other stuff can wait.

    I’m glad I did, excellent story with so many lessons contained!


  • A great story and lesson. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great story, Marc. Too many times we judge a book by its cover and people by our own idea of what normal should look like.

  • Dear Marc,

    Is this story real or what ?

  • Great story Marc,

    We never really know who might play a major role in our life, do we. So did your mom ever grind you for leaving the schoolyard? I suspect not, she probably figured you would take care of that yourself.

  • @Glen: Thanks man. And once again, thanks for the great guest post last week.

    @R. Onur: All of our articles are based on real life experiences. ;-)

    @Jonathan: In light of the events that transpired, she never mentioned it… ever.

    @All: Thanks again for the feedback. I was relieved to hear that so many of you enjoyed this one. Honestly, at first, I was worried the story was a bit too heavy in comparison to some of our other articles.

  • It’s great to know that guardian angels can come in the form of a witch-like character with a hairy mole on the nose….LOL!! I love the inspiring story! Your post also reminded me about Susan Boyle. The lesson learned: Never Judge a Book By Its Cover!! Thanks for sharing it!

  • Marc, you have an amazing ability to tell a story. I’m glad you survived this accident. :)


  • This was a truly touching post! You never know who might be watching over you. That is why you should not take anyone for granted.

  • Marc,

    That was a great story. It really brings to mind the old saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m sure that experience has changed the way you look at other people - I know it would have changed me.

    The story gave me goosebumps. Thanks for sharing.


  • Marc,

    A very moralistic story. It tells us how important it is not be judgmental.

    Thanks for sharing!


  • Thank you for sharing your experience with us all. I happened to stumble upon your blog today and I’m glad I took the time to read this.

    Thanks again for the reminder of never judging and eye-opening story!

  • Maybe books shouldn’t have covers. Great post!

  • Wow, what an incredible story and so well written.

    I think this goes to show, you never know until you dive a little deeper. Sometimes first impressions or old beliefs can easily be broken down.


  • Although many others have expressed their gratitude for this post, I still feel compelled to add how much I appreciated reading this powerful story that so vividly relates a significant message. It is a grim reality that too often we are guilty of projecting false attributes onto others, assuming the worst of the people and places we encounter. Perhaps it is a survival mechanism to view the world through a cynical veil of our own judgments and preconceptions; nonetheless, I believe that true serenity and peace are achieved only when we are able to strip away this film of negative assumptions.

    Thank you so much for sharing this; I know that story that will return to me in a moment when I find myself grasping for an unfiltered, positive perspective. I will be reminded to open my heart and mind and try to see without labeling.

  • Great read! What an experience. You have a way with story telling!

  • Hi Marc,

    Great story and moral! It is somewhat of a blessing that you learned such a great lesson when you were so young. Some people never realize that there is more to a person than meets the eye. :)

  • That is the sort of article that makes me believe in the future of humanity. It really gave me such a warm feeling, and I will never, ever pre-judge anyone again.

  • Your story actually gave me the chills. It’s hard to give me the chills from reading an article and you accomplished just that. Bravo!

  • One of the best stories i’ve read so far. Guess we should not be too quick in judging people. N yeah, we never know who is gonna be there…

    The person we least expect at times…

  • Wow, another great story! It’s situations like this with positive outcomes that lets all of us know that we can make it through the tough times.

  • That’s some story. Nice twist at the end. Did this actually happen?

  • this is really inspiring, thanks :)

  • I just had to add my comments to the others. This story was wonderful. I appreciate the story, the lesson, and artful way this message was presented.

    It gives me hope.
    Thanks you!

  • Thanks again everyone…

    Your kind comments and continued support give us the motivation required to write these stories.

    We truly appreciate it. ;-)

  • Nice story. Looks can definitely be deceiving.

    One thing I thought about is if you had been alone when the car hit you. It is always good to have a card with name and home number on it in your pocket so emergency personnel can find it and contact your loved ones. I always carry an old business card, even when I jog. Always good to have your children carry one too.

  • This is really inspiring! Thank you!

  • Nice story I found on internet. Thanks for sharing it.

  • this is very nice and interesting story

  • That story really touched me. IM so happy that your okay but honestly you shud be so thankful for that lady. She was meant to be their for you. God is good to us!

  • What a story. I cried…

  • That’s a wonderful story.

  • This story is filled with lessons in life. Thanks for sharing it. Personal experience and stories are great to read because it can help in our personal development and self-improvement.

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