I have always seen examples of "assistance" in my life. For instance, on more than one occasion, I would be running a few minutes late on my usual driving route and arrive unharmed to the scene of a car accident that had just occurred. Yet even with this knowledge, I was truly amazed by the complexity of the events which needed to take place in order to save my neighbor from certain bodily death.
Last May, my neighbor, who is a wonderful single young lady in her early thirties, received a written notice in the mail informing her that the natural gas meter for her apartment unit would be replaced in the coming weeks. She had informed me of this fact, since she travels daily into the city for work and would not be available when the technician arrived. Although the meter is located outside of the commercial building where our two units are the only residences, she knew that the natural gas company representative would need access to her place in order to restart her hot water tank and her fireplace, which both use this type of energy.
Months went by and we both assumed that they would not get around to her meter until the following year. Two days ago, I heard some commotion under my kitchen window and went out to investigate the source of the noise. It was the technician replacing the meter with a new one. When I spoke with him, we both realized that there was some confusion with the paperwork and the numerical identification of the gas meter itself. Yet he felt that the meter he had turned off in order to do the replacement was my neighbor's and not the one for my unit. Since he confirmed that they would be sending another technician later that evening to reboot the appliances in my neighbor's apartment, I continued my daily activities after informing her of their visit and scheduled appointment.
Around 7 PM that evening, I began to notice that the sound coming from my hot water tank was a bit unusual. At 9:30 PM, my neighbor rang my door bell in order to allow the technician to check whether the natural gas had been turned off in my unit, which ended up being the case. Now this event would be a simple example of human error in the paperwork, except for one very important element.
When the technician originally checked my neighbor's water tank, which is located behind a closed door near her bedroom, he not only noticed it was still connected to the gas supply, but he was shocked to see that the Carbon monoxide (CO) pipe was cracked open and the deadly odorless fumes had been invading her apartment. This of course explained why she had not been feeling well over the last few days. Although a slight smell of exhaust emanated from the broken pipe, she had not been able to detect the odor herself due to a congested nose. Finally, she had kept a window open while she was at work because of unseasonably hot weather. There was no carbon monoxide detector to warn her. We had both mistakenly assumed that the building's centralized electric smoke detectors had also included this feature. All of these conditions, a very delayed repair, mixed up paperwork, an open window and the technician visiting the wrong apartment, had to take place in order to save her from harm.
Since today is my neighbor's birthday, one could say that the angels watching over her worked beautifully together to ensure that she received the greatest gift of all .... life itself and a newly installed carbon monoxide detector.