Guardian Snow Angel

Today I met my guardian snow angel. His name is Roberto.

For days on end it snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed in Chicago. Then the Polar Vortex pummeled the city. While the snow plows took to the streets, I took to my couch. I hadn’t moved my car in a week until the inevitable meeting in the suburbs tumbled upon me today.

Thirty minutes before my car needs to head south, I traipse outside. My car is a mountain of snow from street to curb, a pile of snow shit. The only way I can tell it’s mine is when I press the unlock button and a hazy orange blinks at me through a layer of powder. Thank goodness my parents are smarter than me and bought me a shovel for Christmas.

A minute in, the tears start to freeze to my face (and, no, they weren’t tears of happiness or from the cold) when a green car pulls up and out walks my guardian snow angel – except I didn’t know that at the time. With outstretched arms, he grunts, “Here,” proceeding to take my shovel away from me.

For a full thirty seconds I stare at him while he begins to dig my car out. Once my brain unfreezes, I yelp, “Thank you so much!” and take my snow brush out of the backseat. A solid fifteen minutes goes by and spots of red are starting to come through. I can finally see my tires and the iced-over windshields. The snow angel sets down the shovel, floats to his car, then comes back with an ice scraper. Again, I stare. Why is this random stranger cleaning off my car in the freezing cold?

“What’s your name?” I finally ask.

“Roberto.”

Once more I reach in the backseat, this time pulling out a box of tissues. “Again, thank you so much! I don’t have much to offer you, but do you want a tissue?” He grabs one and then explains that he’s paying it forward; he’d just run out of gas and was stranded on the street when two strangers stopped and gave him a gallon of gas. We continue to work for ten more minutes in silence. My car is spotless. I would’ve given up at barely seeing through the windshield, but Roberto ensures every speck of ice is eliminated.

Without saying anything, my snow angel walks back to his car. I yell out, “Thank you again! Have a wonderful day!”

“You too,” he says, “and thanks for the tissue.”

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