I didn’t know when I awoke in the morning a year ago today that something would happen in the afternoon that I would put in the heart-pounding, scared out of my wits category. Phil usually arrived home from work at 1:35. He would take my cell phone with him in case he needed to call and that day he did. His 2nd bus did not come. Cherlyn and I looked up the route and found out that he had actually missed two buses and would need to wait another 15 minutes for the next bus. I called him back “Where are you, Phil?”
“Waiting for the bus. I don’t see it.”
“Wait a few more minutes and I will call you back.” After a few minutes I called again. “Where are you now?”
“Waiting for the bus.”
Now I am concerned. “Do you know where you are?”
“Can you see any buses?”
“Can you see a bridge (pedestrian)?”
We were making progress and I thought I knew where he was. I decided to pick him up on Campus Parkway 15 minutes away but I couldn’t see him. I called again.
“Where are you, Phil?”
“I don’t know.”
“How will I find you?”
“I have my hat on.” I couldn’t find him and was beginning to grow more concerned. There would be two more hours of daylight. His work was ten miles from our home and he took two buses. I called Paul who had been gone much of the day. Numerous prayers were offered. We decided I would drive all around the University District and then take the bus (Metro) route to Phil’s work. Paul, with Heavenly Father’s help, was able to get a Metro telephone number where an actual person answered the phone. The person who answered was curt as he asked Paul how he got that phone number. Paul explained the circumstances and the curt Metro man became a help. Paul described Phil (same attire whether it is summer or winter--shorts, a polo shirt and a baseball cap) and the Metro man sent in Phil’s description to buses that run that route. Meanwhile I had driven almost to his work when Paul called to tell me that the regular bus had had to take an alternative route because of an accident on the bridge. I followed the alternative route, stopping at McDonalds for a bathroom break. When I got back in the car the phone rang. I had taken another cell phone since Phil had mine which had died an hour earlier so that we had no contact with him. Just as Paul was traveling the bus route (from the other direction) he got a call from Metro—they found him. After waiting two to three hours Phil had gotten back on a bus traveling toward the University District. The amazing thing is he would have eventually made it home on his own. What happened is that when the bus took an alternative route, he, not recognizing the new route nor understanding the reason for it, got off miles from where he normally makes a transfer.
At one point when the phone was still working, I asked Phil if he could see any street signs. “No” he told me. I would have had him tell me the letters which would have helped me identify where he was. I then asked if there was anyone he could give the phone to. Initially he said no and then I heard him say--
“Sir? Talk to my mom?” I could feel a spark of happiness and hope. And then I could hear a man say that he had to finish his job. I am sure the man couldn’t begin to understand why Phil would want him to talk to someone on his phone. Phil is conscious that people have a hard time understanding him so the fact that he would try giving the phone to someone is pretty amazing.
We had about an hour left of daylight when we arrived home. I was so grateful for Heavenly Father’s help in finding him!