Part-Time Angels

HOW MANY TIMES, in your life, have you done something nice for other people?  Something thoughtful?  How many smiles have you spent for them?  How many puppies and kittens have you petted?  How often, when someone is thinking of killing themselves, have you said, “I think your idea’s a permanent fix for a temporary problem.”

In all of those times (which you have mostly forgotten), in every one, you have been an angel.

In the midst of 1961, on a Manhattan sidewalk, an attractive woman looked at me, and in passing on the stream of other-bound pedestrians, she smiled at me for a second.  I don’t know why: maybe she was just happy.  But that was (1961 – 2014 = ) 53 years ago, and I still smile back to her, whether she’s somewhere in New York, in some other country, whether she’s on this planet or not,

She was an angel, changing my life in one second.  Just yesterday i had a message from a friend who was standing in a troubled checkout line, everyone there was wanting to get this shopping finished and someone was slowing the line.  She said, “Maybe we’re being slowed up here because a car’s going to kill us if we move…”  Everyone laughed, and the next minute a car drove half-way through the window of the market.  No one was hurt.

Someone remembered her words, to a reporter, and the newspaper said next day, that there was an angel there, who made us all stop, and saved our lives for not being in front of that window at that moment..

My friend said, “I’m no angel!  I just thought of some funny reason for us to stay where we were.”  Do you think she was no angel?  If not, I’ll give her fifty angel-points for her smile and for thinking to say what she said when she did.

When we consider the millions of kind and thoughtful deeds others do for others and for us, and which we do for them, of course we realize that there’s a need for us amateurs to be temporary angels.  How will that feel, to be given angel-points some day, from a full-time angel?

39 thoughts on “Part-Time Angels

  1. I’ve had a few times in my life when I feel like I was being slowed down on purpose or in a certain place at a given time for a purpose I wasn’t aware of at the time. I was amazed and thankful later when I found out why. The most amazing one to me was an event that let me say good-bye to the man I was married to before he left the planet in a mountain-climbing accident.

    One of my co-workers took her own life a couple of months ago. One of the effects that has had on me is that I notice that I am taking more time to stop and talk to people with eye contact listening to what they say even if only for a few moments — rather than just a hi – how are you – fine – keep walking interchange.. I haven’t thought of doing that as being an “angel” in someone’s life — although I really hoped I was helping them in some way. I’ve always thought it would be fun to be a real angel and help people. Guess that can start here?

  2. As I see life, we all are angels, we just rarely get to see what we did. A smile, a look, a word… everything and everyone is linked to the rest and the consequences of every act, even the smallest ones, are far reaching. Your friend was an angel, she may think she said what she said out of chance, but there is no chance in this universe. Some part of her knew, and she listened. So that she, you and some others could think about this event. Nothing happens by chance, the Universe is always speaking, always, but we rarely listen.

  3. Angel GPS… I work with the Angels to guide and help heal people.
    People are always puzzled how they end up in my sessions, they often say ‘I had a dream about an Angel and then I saw your brochure and knew somehow that I had to come or, I was in the building for a massage to clear some energy out but I was drawn to your session, it was as if there was a magnetic pull.
    I laugh and say that this is Angel GPS.
    We might have free will but there’s alot of moving us humans around so that we are in the right place, country or emotional state so that we can meet the right people for healing and evolution and then make the choices that we are allowed to make.
    I recently travelled from the UK to America thinking that the purpose was to gain certification on a new but ancient healing modality. How wrong was I…on the last day a young teenage girl came into the room as a guest to try the treatment and the Angel forces at work brought us together. Soon they were giving me all the information that I needed which I double checked with the poor girl and because the Angels had ensured that we were brought together she received comfort that she was not alone, the Angels were with her through her time of need and finally the community subtly stepped in to stop the domestic violence that was happening to her.
    It was very humbling to know that if the Angels want you to be of service, they will find a way for the right people to connect even though it’s thousands of miles away…

  4. So many times we overlook the obvious due to distractions. I enjoyed your book about Puff but was saddened not to see you in Sebring. By the way, Kermit says hello!

  5. I was reading this because of a recommendation from Kermit Weeks. I think it must have been one of those angel moments to get this recommendation. I just wanted to say thanks for brightening my evening. This post made me think of all the times that I have been so close, Surviving a car falling on me, walking out of the 7-11 with my last quarter instead of playing one more video game and I never did that… ( a lady drove through the front of the store as I walked around the side of the building, pushing the machine to the back wall and smashing it…). diving into a neighbors pool and hitting my head so hard I was fighting for consciousness underwater and my neck still hurts from it 35 years later, and many more. I have seen and heard angels in those moments and others! With this brief history, I hope you can see how this post touched me and I hope everyone else that reads it as well. Thank You! 🙂

  6. I’m no certainly no angel, and make no claim to being in tune with or in touch with them, but I drove out of town to catch up with a friend in need, met up by the beach. We both exited our cars and walked into the park and came across a fellow playing harmonica, half a world away from his home, and he turned, greeted us and spoke wise words that cut to the core of her biggest problem before I had even to say a word. We briefly spoke of the nature of people, and kindness, and he took our photo with my phone, then it back as we continued off to grab coffees. I turned to thank him again with a smile and could not see him, though, there was not really enough time not space to vanish. T’was the darnedest thing.

  7. I have often times had the same feeling that when I have been delayed it was for a reason or purpose. Good share Richard!

    Keith from Polk City

  8. I have given and received. Had times a smile from a random passerby brightened up my day to no end. Othertimes I’ve said hello, or stopped to ask if someone needed a hand. We should all try to listen to the “angels of our better nature”.
    Kermit sent me 🙂

  9. Great to see you are back on deck Richard, so many times in my life your books have been my guardian angle so it was great to read your blog. All the best.



  10. You were once a part-time angel for me. Long ago, in a land far away (Cupertino, California, to be precise) I purchased all your books from a used bookstore. I enjoyed them so much (especially The Bridge Across Forever: a lovestory) that I felt guilty about buying them second-hand, so through your publisher, I sent you my own personal royalty check for $10 to show my appreciation. You were kind enough to respond by returning my check, signed by both you and Leslie, and included a note of thanks. We have all lived a lot of life since then, and we’ve been through a lot… but I never forgot that, and still have that letter stored somewhere. It meant a lot to me then; it still does now, and it always will. I’m grateful to Kermit Weeks for putting the word out on Facebook, and allowing me to get back in touch with you and share your written thoughts once again. Thank you, Richard.

  11. Not long ago, after playing a very poor tennis match, I was on my way home in a foul mood when I stopped at a local convenience store for some water. As I approached the clerk with my water in hand and snarl on my face, she looked up, gave me a huge smile, and said “Oh come on, it can’t be that bad” instantly my foul mood vanished. I smiled back and said to her, “no, its a beautiful evening and I intend on enjoying it” instead of spending the evening annoyed at myself for my poor play, I spent that evening sitting at the Saint Petersburg Pier enjoying the sights and sounds of Tampa Bay. She was my part-time angel that night, in fact more than part time as I make sure I keep things more into perspective every day! Its amazing that something as simple as a smile and encouraging words can do. Thanks you, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and am glad Kermit recommended your site. I am sure I will be back often!

  12. Thank you, Richard for posting this! It’s a wonderful reminder!

    Those who connect with their consciousness and soul, usually have a natural “angelic” quality which manifests into daily actions, thoughts and deeds. The very fact that the woman in line had the bravado to speak up in a tense moment (which could easily have turned controversial in a flash) offering a soothing explanation for the delay, proves that. Rather than making a choice to remain silent, keeping that life-saving thought to herself, she chose to ‘help’ all of the others in the line… that’s what makes her an angel.

  13. What a great perspective you give us! This is something I have somehow felt for many years, but I wasn’t really aware that being there for someone, on a specific instant, was so determinant. I think this “being there for someone” behaviour started some years ago, when I realised how much I had learnt in Aviation. I experienced so much, I was given so much in the Sky, that somehow I felt it was really one’s duty to try and give back at every available opportunity. Still, I don’t consider myself to be even a fraction of an Angel, but from now on I will certainly give a much higher value to assist others in those spontaneous little moments when I feel I can contribute something positive.
    Perspective… Thanks Richard… This profound thought you share with us, instantly made you an Angel for unsuspecting millions!

  14. Another long-time lurker here, motivated by Kermit to come out into the open. Thank you (both, really) for sharing your stories with openness and love, giving us the courage to believe the things we feel certain are true but just can’t explain.

  15. Richard!
    More than 20 years I love your books. More than 25 years in love with airplanes. All my life has done nothing to fulfill the dream. Every day I sit in the office. Hate my job. Lost in myself. Read Puff one Chapter a day to prolong the pleasure. The two of you to rescue me every day.
    Thank you.
    P.S. belated birthday wishes in this life, Richard 🙂

  16. Once I witnessed an accident in front of me while I was taking my white German shepherd out for a drive. The hood of the woman’s car flipped open and smoke and fire started to pour out. The driver lay motionless but alive. I had a fire extinguisher in my car. I, with my white dog, jumped out of our car and put the small fire out. Others were there also to help until the ambulance came and so I jumped back into the car with my dog and left suddenly. I often wondered later what others who witnessed this incident might have thought: A woman and her white dog who appeared out of no where and put a fire out. I hoped they didn’t start a religion over this.

  17. Love this entry Richard. So glad you are sharing your thoughts. Wish I could share this one on Facebook somehow.

  18. Richard, I think you get a point for every book of yours that has made someones day and impacted his life in one way or another. Just saying!

    I do know that feeling, when someone comes up to you and says you inspired them. But saving someones life, that is another thing entirely, that possibly happens more often than we think.

  19. Greetings from Whidbey, Richard~

    I have noticed this many times in my own life, as well, when someone was there for me in a way that was precisely well-tuned in a manner that was truly kismet, and I can think of many times that I was there for someone else in ways I could never have pre-planned. There is always a deeply satisfying feeling of warmth and well-being during and afterwards, as if the Divine has enwrapped us both up in absolute, unconditional love.

    I remember, perhaps 20 years ago now, I and a friend were driving down a busy freeway in California with some destination to arrive at within a few minutes. I suddenly had the urge to take a different exit than the one I had planned to take. As we rounded the off-ramp leading up to the street, there was a woman standing next to a car that had broken down just seconds before on the ramp. I instantly pulled over and commanded, “Get in!” She did, and I took her to a friend’s home a few blocks away so she could get some help.

    Normally I do not pick up people who are on the road, especially in large cities, but at this particular time, there was no considering the pros and cons of the situation. It just happened, as though someone else was at the wheel. She was a lovely person, and was frightened out of her wits at being suddenly stranded on an off-ramp. We picked her up before any other cars could whip past her. She was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude, and we all talked together as if we’d known each other all our lives…

    Just last week I was in Seattle for a workshop. It was held in a building I’d never been to before, and I found it about an hour early. It was 7 am but I could see a few people were already going in and out. After sitting in my car about 15 minutes, something told me it was time to go inside even though it was still very early. As I headed in the front door, a man was walking toward me. We both smiled at each other with recognition and said “Hi!” Then we both slowed down, feeling a sense of confusion, then sudden dawning. We had worked together for 20 years in the Bay Area, yet hadn’t seen each other for about 9 years, following my move to Washington. While we instantly recognized each other, it was very surreal as we both realized we shouldn’t be running into each other in Seattle. After exchanging hugs and amazements at the chances of running into each other this way, I learned that he was now working in this building, and was taking a little walk. He had been having some chest pains and had just called his doctor, who advised him to come in as soon as he could. I asked him if he’d like me to do some Reiki with him, and he said yes, even though he didn’t really know what it was and hadn’t had it before. He sat down and I stood behind him with my hands over his heart. After about 5 minutes he said “Your hands are so hot!” I continued to send energy for another 15 minutes. He said how wonderful it felt, and we agreed to meet for lunch the next day as my workshop lasted for two days.

    The next day we met at a Greek restaurant and I was relieved to see him sitting there with a big smile on his face. We had some time to get caught up on each other’s lives, families, dreams, etc. He told me that the doctor didn’t believe there was anything seriously wrong, but had scheduled him for more testing, just in case. He said he might need to cut down on fat. He said, “You’re a vegetarian, aren’t you, Sue?” I told him I was, and he began asking me about healthier eating. Long story short, he said he had been eating a lot of meat and dairy, and felt like it would really help him to cut down on those. I could feel two synchronicities at work, with both the energy healing, and the discussions about healthy eating.

    For him, perhaps our encounters were life-changing. It’s hard to say. But I know that I was suddenly guided to go into the building at a specific time. The last thing I expected was to see the very familiar face of an old friend and co-worker from the past. For me, it was the most lovely synchronicity, as this man is someone I deeply respect and whose company I enjoy. It was truly wonderful to get to spend a little time together with someone very dear. All told, It was a cosmic win-win, I’d say ….

    I think these kinds of things happen all the time. Sometimes they are so “small” that we may not think of them as the guided connections that they are, but I think they are woven all throughout the massive tapestry of our life experience. They are sacred moments where the heart opens wide and just knows what needs to happen next, by-passing the brain, and allowing for the great Unseen to intervene in a way that could be called, perhaps, miraculous, or at the very least, a blessing that changed the lives of those involved for the better in that very moment.

    I have some other amazing Angel stories that I’ll share another time. Thanks for this, Richard. I always love hearing about the truly meaningful moments in the lives of others.

    Blessings all around,


  20. You can thank Kermit Weeks again for another prodigal’s return. Then what is the first thing I see? A piece which touches on something that has exercised my mind for a while.
    While I’m not one for a literal belief in angels I do believe we all are in essence potentially part time angels in the sense that we can influence people and help them, quite unwittingly sometimes. But I do think we should be conscious that whether we like it or not we have a responsibility to others to help them if only by smiling or encouraging them in some way. Like you I remember vividly certain moments where someone encouraged me. They are always better remembered than the negative moments.

    I mentioned unwitting help and interestingly I can safely say you Richard Bach among others accidentally influenced my life. Not through your books and writing though. That came later.

    I’m a pilot and thinking back I can trace the spark that lit that particular fire. I grew up in Dublin in the seventies. They were making a movie in 1970, about WW1 aviators, Von Richthofen and Brown! You might remember it? Well we kids were regularly treated to the sight of formations of British and German biplanes and triplanes droning overhead and occasionally the sight of swirling dogfight. Without stretching the angel motif too far you certainly wore a pair or more of wings somewhere in those formations.

    But there was one single incident which influenced me above all others. It was a quiet summer evening suddenly broken by the unmistakeable sound of aero engines very close. But there was no sign of them in the sky. So I ran in the direction of the sound. Turning into a field there they were, two biplanes engaged in desperate tail chase, one German markings, one British, right on the deck, skimming the ground at times, so close I could see the pilots’ helmets and goggles. I was awestruck and dumbstruck. I wanted to shout and wave but I just stood there. All too soon they climbed away together leaving me wondering if I dreamed it.

    I often wondered about that moment. There was no film crew, as far as I could see I was the sole witness and anyway it was the evening when filming would be finished. Was it a moment of illicit thrill seeking? Did they steal away the planes for a private duel? I don’t know but I know that from that moment I was always going to be a pilot. They unwittingly changed to course of my life wearing a pair of wings. Angels? Maybe.

    It occurred to me later that perhaps you were one of those pilots. A long shot I know. But did you and a friend ever slip off for a private duel on the edge of the city one evening after dinner? Whoever they were, they never knew what they started.

    In a final twist, a school was later built in that very field. In that school I was first introduced to a certain book about a certain seagull. Seems appropriate somehow.

    • I can’t say I’ve forgotten. Once in a while we could play with the airplanes while the camera crews changed film reels or got ready to shoot. Mostly Irish pilots they were and they could do anything. One time only, we were shooting a chase for the third time near the tower on Pigeon Hill, and the camera man said again, “Could you take it a little closer, lads?”

      I just swallowed, since we had been only two plane lengths separated on the last pass, but the pilot who was chasing me said, “These are _human lives_ you’re dealin’ with!” I was grateful to hear that. If you were there, down in the grass, it would have been memorable.

  21. Well it was just a thought. Most likely it was a couple of the Air Corps boys out for a bit of fun. Little did they know what they started.

    As for your movie anecdote. I’d well believe it. Those movie people sometimes forget that it’s real life! I had a part once where I had to drive a car, reverse out and drive off quickly past another car. I guess the budget didn’t run to a stuntman. After the first take, the director said: ‘Good but next time faster and closer to the other car!’. ‘Well’ I thought ‘They’re your cars’ Not really life threatening but typical.

    By the way I’m sure you remember ‘Darby’ Kennedy pilot and former owner of Weston Aerodrome. He turns 100 this month. Which just proves there is such a thing as ‘old bold pilots’! He certainly had angels on his wing during his career.

  22. Here is the story of an angel I have never been able to forget. It happened during my primary school days. Just before our teacher, who was a terror among the students, was to enter the classroom, I found to my horror that I had forgotten to bring my pencil. My bench-mate, hailing from a financially poor family, noted my agitation and immediately took out a blade from his box and cut his own pencil into two and gave one part to me even as the teacher entered!

  23. I have had 2 incidents similar to Richard’s F-89F occurrence in my lifetime. Whether guided by angels or not, I may never be certain; but I believe after years of consideration and spiritual search that I created the outcomes myself. The most memorable was the yellow semi that nearly killed me. I was driving my ’73 VW bug, great car. I had stopped at a light out on a rural highway in Georgia. The light turned green and I proceeded into the intersection. That’s when I saw the semi bearing down on me. He had not slowed any for the intersection and I am certain had no noticed the red light, or my car. There was no escape. If I had hit the gas, he would have hit the side of my car full on, and there was no time to hit the break, the clutch, put it into reverse, hit the gas and move out of his way. He was only several yards away and moving fast. I remember seeing him to my left, bearing down on the front half of my car, and knowing instinctively that I was about to die. I thought, “No, Back up!” In an instant, my car was some 20 ft backward, the way I had come, and the semi barrelled past the front end of my car with only a couple of feet to spare. My foot was on the brake, and the car immediately stalled….that had been all the movement I had had time to make before he was there. The truck driver never stopped. How do you move a car backward, with a standard transmission, and till in first gear? My left foot never made it to the clutch, and the road was level. It wasn’t until the second or third time I read Illusions that it occurred to my what had actually happened.

      • Yes! I would also start exploring the why we think it is a certain way in the first place….who and what told us that….and WHY?

        • Jennifer: *That* is the thing I haven’t ever figured out. Why does it seem so limited? The one thing I’ve seen, time after time, is that young kids don’t see limits to their worlds. Maybe we’re brainwashed to believe in impossibilities?

          Richard: I’d guess that most of us have these experiences, maybe without ever noticing them unless they’re so obvious we can’t miss them. Maybe a thousand times a day. How could I ever know that a seemingly simple decision altered everything? Or that I was very nearly “killed” by something I never even noticed?

          What a fun and fascinating topic! Thanks to all!

  24. Thank You for the courage to share your thoughts with so many for so long.
    Thank You for being a faithful companion through the dark days and sunny days.

  25. Your story about the woman smiling at you struck a chord with me…I am discovering that the more I work on my own thoughts, beliefs and emotions by getting them into alignment with my core intention, which is love, that when I smile at someone, I am really smiling at myself. Smiling to you is smiling at me…I think that is why it is so important to know, understand and love Self, so you can come to know that Self is ALL. All this time and I never realized that I was both the Key and the Lock, and that I can choose in each moment which to be…open or closed. We’re all of it…the seen and the unseen…it’s just so FUN!

  26. Angels or demons, we can be either or both, knowingly or not.
    So much of your writing Richard, together with great many of the posts above bring to mind a bumper sticker that I used to see some time ago: “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless beauty”.
    Many have recounted major events, yet for others it was the small things that held meaning. It never ceases to amaze me how even little actions such as a smile or giving someone your parking ticket that has time left on it can make a person’s day

  27. I think when other people’s happiness becomes important to us, we become happier as a result. A simple smile or a kind word may cost nothing, but it can alter someone’s life, maybe even save it.

  28. It is a little miracle how a simple smile can change our whole day – and even impact our whole life for years to come. Your thoughful post that such people are angels resonates. I feel very blessed indeed for all the people who have smiled at me in a moment of need, for I do not doubt who they are.

    Thank you for reminding me to pause for a moment and give thanks to the angels who have blessed my life with a smile.

  29. I think aviation gives folks a close link to the powers that be…the freedom from the earth, the moments of clear thinking…and the appreciation of the ball we all live on and call home. To be able to share this space with others is a chance to share your “angel” wings, and welcome those folks formerly grounded, to all that is and can be. Lived with an aviator for 50 years, and nothing matches the joy in some ones eyes after a first flight…powered or sailplane….freedom, if only for a moment…

  30. One time I was in a Rainbow Foods store shopping with a friend. I saw a lovely woman, dressed a unique way, very different from those in those in the small town near where I lived. I said, “You look wonderful in your outfit. I love it.” She beamed and thanked me, said I’d made her day. We talked for a few minutes. She was probably 65. Now, for us ladies who have aged a bit, sometimes we feel no longer attractive. Things ripple and wrinkle, and we think we’ve lost it, even if we have been working on our inner beauty. Sometimes we all need is a little uplift, and all it takes is someone to say something nice. Her return gift to me was her radiant smile.

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