Are there really angels among us?
Larry Kvitek of Alexandria had an unusual encounter a couple of weeks ago.
It all started when he came across a stranger in the parking lot of The Coffee Pot Café. The man came up to where Kvitek was parked and asked him for a ride to Walmart.
Kvitek was a little wary of the request. He knew there was danger in driving someone he didn't know clear across town. But it was a cold day and the middle-aged man, dressed in a plaid jacket, didn't appear to be a threat, so Kvitek obliged.
The two didn't speak during the short trip. Kvitek just dropped him off and felt good about helping a stranger.
About a week later, Kvitek ended up in Knute Nelson, recovering from a fall on the ice when a man, wearing a Paul Bunyan-style plaid jacket, walked into his room - the same man he'd helped out that cold morning.
The man didn't say anything. He just held out his hand and dropped a small, metal, silver-colored cross into Kvitek's hand. Kvitek looked at the cross, admiring the soft, rounded edges. He turned it over and saw the word, "Blessings" inscribed on it.
When he looked up to thank the man, he was gone.
When Kvitek walked out into the hall to find him, the man wasn't anywhere in sight. It was as if his visitor had disappeared into thin air.
Kvitek asked a couple nurses outside his room if they'd seen the man. They hadn't. He asked if someone had checked to find out what room Kvitek was in. No one had.
Kvitek, who said he's just as skeptical as the next person about strange experiences, was shaken by what happened. Once the co-owner of the old K&K Sports that used to be on 3rd Avenue, Kvitek has been a resident of Alexandria since 1948, and he said this is the first time he's experienced anything like this.
It's left him with a lot of questions.
"How did he know I was at Knute Nelson?" he asked. "How did he know what room I was in?"
When Kvitek told the nurses what had just happened, how his visitor was the same one he'd helped a week ago, one of them started to cry. "It must have been an angel," she said.
Kvitek still isn't sure what, exactly, took place. "He was gone so quickly...I didn't see him when I looked up. I'm not exaggerating. That's how it was."
Kvitek knows there will be skeptics out there who will come up with other explanations, but he's not dismissing the angel possibility.
"If someone else tells you something like this happened to them, you'd probably make light of it," he said. "But not when it happens to you."
Kvitek has since put the cross in a small, cushioned box. He takes it out every now and then and feels the soft, rounded edges, and he thinks about kindness to strangers, blessings and the possibility of angels.