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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus … and he drives a tow truck in McHenry

All Virginia wanted to do was get home. After all, who really wants to work Christmas Eve. With two young children at home, she had struggled to keep her mind on her work all day. Now, with the sun setting over the McHenry horizon, she rushed out to the car driven by the anticipation of the joyful greeting she would receive when she came in the door back at home.

That hour of Christmas Eve the roads were fairly empty, save for a few last-minute shoppers or those heading to the occasional party. But Virginia hardly noticed them; her focus was on getting home to spend some time with her son and daughter, witnessing their youthful exuberance with thoughts of Santa Claus bringing presents down the chimney. She was so focused, in fact, that she drove several miles before she noticed that one of the lights in her dashboard was brightly burning a warning.

Virginia actually didn’t notice the light until the car started to act up. The engine started to run rough. Then, it started to lose power. It was then that she looked down at the dashboard and saw the light.

Santa drives a tow truck
A moment of fear turns to panic turns to relief when you
discover that Santa drives a tow truck. Yes, Virginia,
Santa drives a tow truck in McHenry.
“OH NO,” Virginia said out loud.

As the car lost speed, she pumped the gas pedal but it had no effect. Virginia found herself coasting to the side of the road.

As the car came to a stop, Virginia put it in Park and tried starting it again. For a second, it seemed that the engine would catch but it didn’t start, and it began to dawn on her that she had a problem.

Looking out the window, she noticed a whiff of smoke coming up from around the hood. Just as the sense of alarm that sight caused set in, her eyes drifted up and down the darkened road. She bundled up as though in anticipation of the cold that would come now that the engine wasn’t providing heat for her in the car.

“No problem,” she thought. “I’ll just give Brad (her husband) a call and he’ll come get her.”

Virginia rummaged through her purse looking for her cell phone. She worked her way back and forth a couple times but couldn’t find it. It dawned on her that, in her rush to get to work, she must have left her phone on the charger. Now, what will she do?

She was so focused on looking for her phone that, at first, she didn’t notice the headlights coming up the road behind her. Suddenly, as though an alien spacecraft had landed just behind her rear bumper, the inside of her car was flooded with light. Virginia looked into the rearview mirror but all she saw was a blinding light. She looked back over her shoulder with the same effect.

Her nerves now ran to another concern: “Who is this behind me? Is it someone I can trust – someone who has stopped to help? Or, is it someone with bad intentions?”

Virginia’s mind went to stories she’d heard on the news about young mothers who vanished. She pictured the children crying, “Where is Mommy” and her worried husband trying to convince them everything was okay. Then, when they started looking for her, the police would find her car on the side of the road. The real search would begin. How long would it take before they found her body?

As her rising fear gave way to panic she nearly jumped out of her seat, startled by the tapping on the driver’s window. Virginia looked up and there was Santa Claus.

Santa Claus? Not really. Actually, it was Joe, after a day driving the tow truck, who was now on his way to his sister and brother-in-law’s house where he would play Santa for his niece and nephew. Joe had almost driven right past Virginia since there were no lights on and he assumed the car was simply abandoned on the side of the road. But, as he approached, he could see there was someone inside.

Joe was a little late to play Santa for the kids. Virginia was a little late getting home to her kids, too. But, she made it safely when Joe dropped her off after towing the overheated car into the shop.

Virginia thanked Joe as she got out of the passenger seat of the tow truck. She watched him pull away with a wave of deep gratitude in her heart before heading into the house. As he turned the corner and headed out of sight, Virginia said to herself, “There really is a Santa Clause and, tonight, he drives a tow truck in McHenry.”

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