The 2am text hit my phone like a tow truck without a conscience.
It had been many sober years since his name had popped up on my phone alongside the memories of that dark night when I almost lost my best friend.
“Can you call me?”
Some replies can wait until morning. I could tell this wasn’t one of them.
Two years into my sobriety three years back, this man saved two lives, one of which was mine.
Enough clean time under my belt to have known better that night, I let my puppy, Butch, run into the street, only to get plowed by a tow truck, left spinning on the asphalt in pain from a broken leg. Not having the $1,500 to get him medical attention, an angel named Peter stepped in with a credit card at the last moment to foot a bill I have never repaid.
He’d insisted it was a gift from a fellow dog lover and we both were in a fury over the tow truck driver who’d fled the scene. My dog recovered, but apparently, Peter has not.
I phoned him.
He’d taken medical leave from work last winter and through a series of insurance foibles, he has been forced to use the last of his savings over the past six months to keep himself alive. Now on public assistance and fighting insurance companies and for his life, he needed someone, and stat.
For those who follow me, it’s widely known that my dog and I are an inseparable team. Now nearly four years old, he’s a Facebook celebrity and brings more joy to me than a life of drugs ever promised without delivering. The only reason he’s still here is because of an angel named Peter who now needs a tow truck.
We talked of the dominoes of his life which had fallen in rapid succession, bringing him to reluctantly call on those who he thought might be able to help in his own time of need. And as these stories often go, apparently, I’m the only one who has returned his call.
I don’t make much in the non-profit world. I suppose that’s why it’s called non-profit. But I pay my rent and utilities and eat and love my dog and never forget visits from angels.
“I have never forgotten what you did for me and Butch, Peter, and despite how long it’s been, I also won’t be one of those people who don’t answer your call.”
Out of shame for asking, he cried on the phone and explained he wasn’t looking to be repaid. He’d forgiven the debt long ago and gently refused my offer three years back when we last talked. He said he called me because I’d always seemed different from everyone else, even during the days I was awash in drugs and lost in addiction.
We’re meeting this week and I will be giving him weekly assistance from my checking account to help him get back on his feet. And in my line of work, I can now offer him so much more than money to fish him out of the mess and stop the domino effect that has brought this angel down.
I came home and held my best friend on my lap and looked down at the scar on his hind leg from that once dark night. He glanced up at me, turned, and licked the scar as if to remind me that sometimes a tow truck needs a tow truck.