Dean is a real estate agent and Brenda is principal of Prairie Heights Middle School. Their motorcycle trips have taken them to every state except Alaska and Hawaii. However, on this trip, their motorcycle broke down in the middle of nowhere -- but really they were in just the right place.
The breakdown led to numerous new friendships. Terry and Pat Svetlecich brought them back home in their motor home and pulled the motorcycle on a trailer. They even dropped the bike off at a Honda shop.
"That's just me," Terry told the Morris newspaper. "Isn't that what you're supposed to do?"
In return, the Rummels insisted their new friends stay the night in Indiana and made them a home-cooked meal.
The Morris, Illinois, newspaper wrote about the Rummels' experience because Brenda sent a thank you note to the community. People who read her letter to the editor asked the newspaper to tell the rest of the story.
I found out about the story through a random Google e-mail alert.
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I called Dean and Brenda and told them I had read about them online in the Morris newspaper. They had not seen the article. Then Dean shared with me another story from the same remarkable journey.
The day before their breakdown they were whizzing through Iowa on I-80. Surprisingly, the low fuel light went on. Dean knew he shouldn't be low on fuel, but he also knew he couldn't ignore it. There weren't many places to get fuel so he got off at the nearest exit and found a gas station.
When he "filled up" he found out the tank would only take about three gallons. It confirmed what he thought and the gas level was not low.
A shove on his shoulder made him turn around. It was a woman who seemed to have come out of nowhere.
"There's a storm coming. Power lines will come down. High winds," she said. "Get off the road."
Dean and Brenda were startled. The sky at the gas station was clear. There was no storm in sight. They did not understand the woman's concern and they decided to continue on I-80 to their destination 100 miles away.
The woman's tone was urgent.
"Folks, get off the road," she repeated. "Get off the road! There's a bad storm coming!"
The woman's persistence and her urgent tone made Dean change his mind and head for Iowa City, 12 miles away.
As they sped toward Iowa City, storm clouds suddenly popped up. They increased their speed, racing toward Iowa City. With every passing moment the sky became more threatening. They found a hotel and quickly checked in.
The minute they shut the door behind them, the storm struck with fury. Raging winds threw tree limbs across the road. The storm was so strong that the electricity went out for 2-1/2 hours.
Escaping the storm's fury seemed like a miracle.
Looking back, Dean believes the woman who warned them and then disappeared must have been an angel.
~ Grace Housholder ~