Shining moments: Kindness of strangers

COTTONWOOD, Ariz. — After years of anticipation, the family of Steve and Vicki Jo Anderson was on their way from their home in Cottonwood, Ariz., to view graduation ceremonies of their two daughters, one at BYU, the other at BYU-Idaho.

To accommodate their large family on their long journey, they purchased a used SUV. About four hours after leaving home, in the dark of a very cold night as they approached Jacob Lake near the north rim of the Grand Canyon, a herd of deer suddenly bolted across the road. The vehicle collided with the animals, killing several deer and demolishing the SUV's front end.

Grateful that no one was more seriously injured than a bump on the head, they offered a prayer of gratitude and a plea for help. A few lonely hours later, now very late at night, a highway patrol officer stopped.

In the process of writing a police report of the accident, the officer said he remembered attending a fireside in an LDS meetinghouse in Showlow, Ariz., several years earlier where the speaker from Cottonwood, Ariz., recounted her research of the prominent men who visited Wilford Woodruff in dream while he was president of the St. George Utah Temple.

When he learned that Vicki Jo was that author and lecturer, the officer called his wife on his cell phone in the wee hours of the morning and arranged accommodations in their home for the Andersons to warm themselves and spend the night.

The next morning, following a hearty breakfast, the officer offered the Anderson family the use of his family van, allowing the Andersons to continue their journey while their SUV was in the shop for repairs. The generosity of the officer and his wife made it possible for the Andersons to attend one of the two graduations.

Four days and 1,000 miles later, the Andersons returned the van, grateful for the kindness of strangers.

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