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Mysterious Ways: Tasked with Saving a Life

Her to-do list was full for the day, but one unexpected addition proved to be a lifesaver.

Mysterious Ways: Tasked with Saving a Life
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I listened to the ocean breeze rattling the windows of our duplex while I sorted files in our home office. I was on task number seven of the day’s to-do list.

Late spring was a busy time for the employment recruiting business my husband, Richard, and I ran, and I needed to keep up with the work. I still had to schedule interviews, respond to a few e-mails and cook dinner by the time Richard got back from doing his work. It was already 7:00 p.m.

I liked this time of year on the Outer Banks. There were few distractions. We lived on a street that dead-ended at the beach, just Richard and me with our dog, Bear, a Rottweiler-Labrador mix. The only other person who lived on our block full-time was two doors down from us, a retiree—an elderly woman named Rene.


A few weeks from now the street would be swarming with summer renters. We were enjoying the last days of peace before the onslaught.

I saw Bear lie down and curl up on the cream-colored throw rug in the hallway. That wasn’t unusual—the rug was plush and warm, one of his favorite spots to rest.

I turned back to my files…but suddenly I couldn’t focus. That rug. Bear’s black hairs had shed all over it, sticking in the weave. Shake the rug out in the backyard. Do it. Now. How silly. What a waste of time. I was busy! But the urge was so forceful, I dropped everything.

“Sorry, Bear,” I said. I scooted him off the rug and carried it through the screened porch to the backyard.

Giving it a good shake, I heard something. A soft voice floating on the breeze: “Mari-Lynn…Mari-Lynn…” Was I imagining things?


I walked around to the front of the house. A figure was lying in the driveway two doors down. Rene!

She had fallen on the concrete and gashed her face and forehead, badly. She couldn’t get up, and I was afraid to move her.

I called 911 and ran to get towels to stanch the bleeding. Minutes later, paramedics arrived. Because she was on blood-thinners, Rene had lost a lot of blood, they said. I’d found her just in time.

Thanks to shaking out that rug, the task I hadn’t planned to do that day.

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