Touched by angels!

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I got touched by an angel today, December 4, 2015.

In fact, correct that, we got touched by quite a few angels this week; the “we” being my brother, a Vietnam vet, and I.

You see today it was a white-haired stranger who pulled alongside me in a parking space at a Starbucks in Charlottesville, Virginia; hers a shiny black BMW and mine a shiny black Ford Fiesta courtesy of Avis car rentals. We exchanged pleasantries, the hellos and smiles, crossed the busy parking lot and joined the long line of folks anticipating coffees and lattés.

And immediately after her purchase the BMW lady peeled back towards me, still in line, and handed me a plastic Starbucks $15 gift card. She uttered not a word, smiled and quietly exited the building and drove away leaving me standing there speechless.

Let’s step back to two days earlier, some 125 miles from that Starbucks to the humongous Veteran’s Hospital sprawled out across many acres of land in Salem, Virginia. My brother had an appointment there requiring an overnight stay.

Now not to be lost as we walked into the hospital’s main lobby were vivid reminders of the physical costs foreign wars; broken bodies but not necessarily broken spirits, forgotten heroes being pushed around in wheelchairs by loved ones, some with walkers, many adorning black and yellow Vietnam Veteran baseball caps.

A huge Christmas tree could be seen just off to the left. A freshly-mopped floor and the smell, a unique mix of down home cooking in the nearby canteen and pine-reeking disinfectant, permeated the entire place.

Enter the angels, a floodgate of angels, if the truth be told.

“Welcome gentlemen, we are so glad to see you,” said the first one, a wide-eyed lady at the Information Desk. You sensed that her welcome was real, unscripted, as was her smile both emerging from her heart and not any kind of textbook or classroom training.

And from there it seemed that there was an angel lurking in every corner, behind every counter, behind the faces of every short order cook and every cashier. Furthermore, it felt as if every nurse, every doctor and every person pushing along carts filled with laundry was infected by this strain of unfettered niceness, or “angel-itis” if you don’t mind my creating such a word.

Clearly there just had to be something in the air, or in the water, that could rationally explain this phenomena of niceness on the part of so many angels. I mean, how else could one explain the lively chatter, the laughter, the merriment and, dare I say, the love that flooded those pristine hallways?

“You know,” I said to my brother in the car back to our hometown up Interstate 81 to Staunton, “I think I’ll write a letter to President Obama and share with him an exemplary model of what a hospital for our great veterans can look and feel like.” First Lady Michelle and Vice President Biden would like that letter as well I suppose.

My brother, a Vietnam veteran, smiled, nodded and looked out at the passing mountains and farms dotted with horses and cows, but said nothing.

Yes, like the nameless BMW lady I met earlier today, my brother smiled and said nothing because like yours truly, he was touched by many usualangels this week.

(C) Terry Howard is an award-winning writer, global trainer and senior associate with Diversity Wealth. He also serves as Contributing Writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report and is a member of the Cross Cultural Academy.  He can be reached at or

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One comment on “Touched by angels!”

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