Sometimes theres only a sense of a heavenly connection a whish of passing angel wings that comfort or inspire. But once in a while there is an occasion where unseen hands protect at just the right time.
This is one of those unforgettable stories where a guardian angel intervened.
It had been a perfect day for a toddlers birthday party. The year was 1979. Three candles stood tall on the cake as grandparents and friends gathered to celebrate little Ryans special day.
Then with hugs all around, the little boys mom and dad whisked him into their shiny silver Ford pickup truck for the ride home. They planned to be through the Highway 129 serpentine turns that lead into Asotin, Wash., before nightfall.
All three shared the trucks bench seat, a time before child safety seats and seat belts were stressed or thought about much. Ryan sat closest to the passenger door, where he could peek out as the passing hillside sped by.
Ryan, sit close to your mom, Micah Smith of Richland remembers saying to his son as they began their decent down the windy road.
About a third of the way down the mountain, Micah steered a hard left on the tight switchback and then the unthinkable happened.
The passenger door opened, the centrifugal force sending it out wide on its hinges.
I can remember small details of that moment as though it happened yesterday, Micah says with a shudder. The whine of the truck tires as we rounded the corner the wind blowing through the cab and the speedometer needle on 35.
And in the rearview mirror, a car was right behind them.
As Micah lunged across his wife Nancys lap, his one hand on the steering wheel, his other fell short of Ryan as he tumbled out the door.
I cant explain what happened next, Micah recalls of the miracle he and his wife witnessed that day. Seconds passed, but instead of seeing our little boy roll and tumble onto the highway behind us, we saw him suspended in mid-air, outside of the pickup.
As the tires squealed, the door still flung open, Nancy slid to the edge of the seat, reached hard and grabbed their toddlers chubby arms, pulling him back into the truck.
It was only then that Ryans guardian angel let go.
For (God) will order His angels to protect you wherever you go. (Psalm 91:11)