March 5, 2001, the day I could have lost my life, I will never forget. My cousin and I were involved in a potentially fatal car accident in Vancouver, British Columbia. Too young to make wise decisions, I let my cousin convince me to join him in sneaking and driving out of our apartment more or less every midnight to computer game and karaoke stations, as he had somehow duplicated his mother’s car key. He, not old enough to apply for a driver’s license, took a risk and drove illegally. The license plate on the back included my uncle’s title of “Councilor.”

I sensed God’s warning us a few times prior to the ultimate clash with the police. First, a police car stopped next to ours, and the policeman looked right at us. My cousin instinctively drove away, but the officer did not bother chasing after us. Second, my cousin drove out alone and unknowingly threw a cigarette butt at a police car; again, he drove away and the police did not pursue him. Third, my cousin drove out alone in the snow, and his family wanted to drive this car a few hours after his return; the snow miraculously melted without a spot within this short time frame. I accepted God’s warnings and told him, but he did not care.

One midnight, on our way back from karaoke, a policeman followed us, as he felt suspicious of a councilor car being out this late. Coincidentally, my cousin had told me for the first time to wear my seatbelt, which I normally did not do. God made sure already I remained safe throughout what was soon to come. My cousin pulled behind the police and bragged, “This is how you avoid the cop,” with a confident smirk on his face. Neither of us realized two police cars had come after us, and the other pulled to our right. “Hey, yo, stop right there!” the officer yelled. I, terrified, repeatedly said to my cousin, “He’s telling us to stop,” but my cousin again decided on the fleeing route. With the police staying right behind us like magnets, we initially encountered two narrow-spaced trees, which we barely squeezed through without crashing. We then came on the verge of falling inside construction work but astonishingly pulled right out, and my cousin continued to drive away without realizing one of our back tires had popped from this encounter. He tried to make a right turn, but the damaged tire gave him no choice but to go straight and hit the first available obstacle: two tiny branches. These two puny branches managed to stop a car moving fifty miles per hour while a building stood behind them. As the police later informed, they were beginning to aim their guns at my cousin; had he kept going, they would have started shooting.

My shelter from the storm

I saw my cousin visibly intimidated for the first time, yelling, “Mom, what do I do?” I then noticed the windshield in front of me had shattered in a circle, which I soon realized to be from my head. The airbag, or angel, had protected me. We saw three police cars, and the policemen instantly held us at gunpoint and put us in handcuffs. They proceeded to severely beat up my cousin while somewhat playing with me; they may have taken me as a victim of the near-death incident. One officer asked me if I liked sushi, while another disclosed he knew my elementary-school principal, which scared me beyond measure because I assumed I would be expelled from school. About half an hour following, the police were prepared to take my cousin to jail, and I immediately got down on my knees, begging them to take me instead; I actually was unaware I had done these until the policemen revealed the next day they cut my cousin loose for me. He awaited trial for months due to its constant postponement and took an X-ray to see if the police had broken any of his ribs; as they were prohibited from inflicting physical damage on anyone unless physically threatened themselves, they would have nullified trial had my cousin broken a bone. Nonetheless, he only had severe bruises, and his lawyer told him to move to America, as the family was already planning to anyway. Consequently, my cousin cannot reenter Canada without being arrested.

Not only did God save the lives of my cousin and me, but He also prevented this ghastly story from being on the news, which would have caused an uproar in Korea due to my eminent family status then. On March 5 of every year since this episode, I cannot help but take a moment and thank the Lord for giving me a second opportunity at life. Without His protection, I could have easily died or become a vegetable. When God puts a shield around you, nothing can ever hurt you.