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Touched by an angel or a man named Brian

Unsplash/Micha? Parzuchowski

I want to share the true story of a day I will never forget. I was headed home in February 2019 from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Two days before doctors had spent four hours working on the inside of my heart. They went up through the major leg arteries for the procedure. I was anesthetized for twelve hours. I was told after the procedure not to lift anything over five pounds for several days. It was possible in theory that the incisions could tear open and cause severe bleeding, which could be fatal. I made necessary plans for the airport to help me with my large luggage, and I boarded my early morning flight back home. I was expecting to have a routine trip. Little did I know a “trial by flight” was about to begin. 

I spent from about 6:30 that morning until about 1:00 in the afternoon shifting around from a grounded aircraft because the airport was being subject to heavy snow. They loaded, unloaded and reloaded us twice. Finally they announced that there would be no more flights that day departing for the Minneapolis Airport. We were told that if we were going to get to Minneapolis Airport we would have to utilize the private shuttle services. I had to take one shuttle back to inner city of Rochester, and then another one to Minneapolis! That trip took another two hours, on a bumpy frozen interstate!

Arriving at Minneapolis International Airport, I had to stand in one line for 30 min to be told I needed to go wait in another. We were informed that there would be no way to get to Detroit that day. All flights were grounded. Airline employees encouraged us to try to find a motel room for the night. Oh and by the way, they said, “Wait here for your bags. We cannot forward them through. They have to stay with you.”

I quickly remembered what the doctor had told me about not lifting more than 5 pounds.  As my bags rolled out on the conveyor I said a silent prayer that sounded something like this; “Help Lord!” Everyone seemed to be scurrying everywhere. It seemed so burdensome to ask for special help.  I was handed a brochure listing recommended hotel rooms and they told me that I should make a reservation as soon as possible. Rooms were going very quickly. By this time I was very tired. I hadn’t eaten anything substantial all day. With my bags all hooked together rolling on the wheels of the biggest, I made my way off to the side, and sat down, and began to make phone calls. By this time I have to admit I felt a little broken inside by the experience and traveling solo post op only by a few days in an unfamiliar city. It seemed one hurried phone call after another was producing nothing, although of course I was praying through it all. Finally a room opened up, with free shuttle service!

I felt whipped, even as I was reminding God of His precious promises! Frustrated, tired and weakened by too many needle pokes, one more time I cried out to God. As I wheeled my big blue bundle towards a couple of police officers to ask directions I noticed one had a type of automatic rifle over his shoulder. The officers politely pointed me to the correct exit. The next challenge was to find my shuttle bus among dozens coming in and picking up stranded passengers.

Dragging my bags behind me as I prayed I wouldn’t rupture my incision, I made my way beside a big double door and stopped where I could see out the window. I was still a little confused about which shuttle went to what hotel. Then something very interesting happened.

A young man appeared from around a column. He immediately asked me if I needed any help. He looked like an ordinary kind of medium build guy, with a baseball cap. He saw me fumbling with my phone, trying to double check which hotel shuttle I was to get on. He said, “You’re going to the same hotel I am,” even showing me the same motel on his phone. He said, “I’ll watch for the shuttle.” Sure enough, he alerted me as soon as the shuttle arrived. He then immediately grabbed my biggest bag, saying, “Let me help you.” I remember thinking “I wonder where his bags are?”

He rode to the hotel in the seat right in front of me. As soon as we arrived, he proceeded to go around to the back of the van and unload my bags. I reached my hand out to shake his hand and said “thank you, my name is Nolan.” “He said, “You’re most welcome, my name is Brian.” He then stood off to the side behind me. I wondered why he wasn’t getting in line and where his bags were. It took a long time checking in as a lot of people were getting their rooms. I noticed that he stood patiently off to my side almost as if to make sure I got my room ok. As soon as I was the next one up in line, I turned around to thank him one more time, but he was gone! He was nowhere around! I looked in every direction, but this man called Brian had vanished! I was still very tired and so very grateful that I had finally gotten a room but I stopped and I thought “Wow I think I was just ‘touched by an Angel!”

Hebrews 13:2 (NIV) says “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” So I would like to say if by some miracle of God’s design there is a “Brian” reading this, then “Thank you! You were God’s angel to me, whether you were from heaven or from earth!” 

Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is

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