We were driving down Lone Tree Way in Antioch, California, on our afternoon visitation route, and a red light was coming up ahead. Trying to slow down, Shmuel pushed the pedal down, but the donated car—which had seen better days—just kept on moving. In other words, we had a brake failure.

Thinking quickly, knowing that he did not have enough time to make a complete stop, he swerved into a gas station. He pulled the emergency brake, and with G‑d’s help, our miracle happened. The car came to a complete stop.

Catching our breath, we took in the beautiful scenery, happy to be alive. Shmuel went into to the shop to buy a drink, and I took a moment to pray the afternoon service, Minchah. As I am finishing up my prayers, I notice a taxi driver filling up gas. I ask him if he is Jewish, and he replies, “Yes. Two of my daughters are religious, but I have not seen a black hat like yours in this neighborhood.”

Yuri and I chat about this and that.

He asked about Chabad in the neighborhood; he had seen an ad in the paper but never followed up on it. We gave him the Jewish calendar for the new year of 5772 produced by Chabad of the Delta, and he was happy to get it. He also asked us to pass on his info so that he can get more involved.

If not for the failing brakes, who knows what would have been with Yuri?