In November of 2013, Angie and her husband, Chuck, decided it was time to visit her cousin in El Paso, Texas. Fortunate to have seen much of the United States they had in fact, never been to that part of the country. It was a neat place infused with the very essence of the Mexican culture. It was also amazing to be so close to Juarez, Mexico a place having quite the reputation of not being the safest place to travel to. In her cousin’s part of town Juarez dominated the horizon. With intrigue and curiosity Angie wondered what life was really like just across the border.
During their stay Chuck and Angie walked everywhere soaking in the ambiance of the town. El Paso provided a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the authentic taste and culture of neighboring Mexico. They also spent time wandering the beautiful campus at which her cousin was employed as a professor. She and her husband both worked at UTEP (University of Texas El Paso). Angie & Chuck were even able to attend a few college games while in town, one football and one basketball.
One particular day the mystique of the unfamiliar drew them toward the border. The bridge was something they really wanted to see but had been warned NOT to cross over. So they headed off just for a look. Walking for blocks they realized it was much further than they had anticipated. They stopped and asked for directions at a gas station. While the attendant was attempting to help them a sweet Mexican woman with a beautiful accent also chimed in. Chuck stepped off to the restroom and while he was gone, the stranger told Angie, “My car is outside, if you’d like I’ll drive you to the border.”
Although Angie’s first instinct was they shouldn’t get in the car with a stranger, a second feeling took over. It was a peaceful sensation assuring her everything would be alright. When Chuck returned from the restroom Angie relayed the stranger’s offer. Although a bit surprised, he accepted the offer.
They climbed into the woman’s car and immediately introduced themselves. When the stranger shared her name Angie was amazed. The stranger’s name was Norma! It was the same as Angie’s mother who passed in ’95 from cancer. Angie immediately got chill bumps and looked back at Chuck with a smile. He smiled back knowingly. Then in a quick moment she looked up and said a silent “thank you to her mother.” She felt her mother had sent this angel of a woman to help guide them. Angie quickly shared her thoughts with Norma who smiled and said, “There are no accidents.”
As Norma began driving they told her they were also looking for an old train depot. Norma was familiar with it and agreed to take them there as well. As they continued talking and getting to know each other Angie inquired as to what Norma did. She said that she was retired and once a week would drive over the border bridge into El Paso for gas and groceries. She said that she spent a lot of time with her family and loved to do yoga! Again Angie felt the chill bumps pop up everywhere. Her mother had been a yoga teacher for 20 years. With obvious exuberance Angie shared this with Norma, who gently smiled. Angie felt as if her mother was sitting right next to her taking them on a little tour of downtown El Paso.
Norma drove for about 20 minutes showing them the sites of downtown including the train depot as promised. Their time together came to a conclusion as they pulled up to the border bridge where Norma dropped them off. To return her kindness, Angie & Chuck offered to take her to lunch but she graciously declined. She said she had to get back home to make fish soup for her family. They took pictures and quickly exchanged emails. After hugging and thanking Norma for a wonderful morning, Angie and Chuck waved their goodbyes. As Angie watched Norma pull away she couldn’t help but feel she had just had a short visit with her mother.
Chuck and Angie resumed their walk around downtown for a bit, and eventually caught a bus back up the 10 or so blocks to UTEP where they had started off. Angie couldn’t stop smiling. What an amazing day it had been. When they met her cousin for lunch they shared all the details of the morning and she too agreed – It must have been mom! For Angie it was not coincidence or chance that she met Norma that day and she will be forever thankful for the new friend she and her husband had made.