God was a passenger on Rickey Waggoner’s bus in the wee hours of a chilly Ohio morning.
At 5:20 a.m. on Feb. 24, the 49-year-old driver stopped his vehicle in the pre-dawn darkness to deal with a sudden electrical problem.
When Waggoner pulled over to the curb to investigate, he wasn’t thinking about the small Bible tucked into his pocket – but moments later it would save his life.
Three pistol-packing young thugs from a Dayton gang ambushed him. Waggoner later told police that one of the vicious teens urged another to shoot him “if you want to be all the way in the club.”
The Gunman opened fire. Waggoner, a beloved family man, was hit twice in the chest at close range – but he wasn’t destined to die that day. “The two bullets were stopped by the New Testament book in his chest pocket,” said police Sgt. Michael Pauley .
“There was obviously some kind of intervention involved in this incident – because he probably should not be here.”
Shrugging off the impact from the blasts, Waggoner fought back. As he valiantly tried to wrestle the weapon away from the gunman, he took another slug in the leg.
But the burly driver fought on, prompting another one of the bloodthirsty hoodlums to stab him in his left arm. Incredibly,
Waggoner still refused to go down. He snatched a pen from his pocket and plunged it into the gunman’s leg, causing the punk to drop his weapon.
The gutsy bus driver picked it up and opened fire, turning the tables on the cowards. They scattered into the dark. Bloody and winded, Waggoner ducked into the safety of his bus and called police.
“I’ve been hit in the leg,” he told an emergency dispatcher. “My chest feels like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer.”
As the dispatcher asked Waggoner about his injuries, he checked his chest and discovered just how lucky he’d been.
Incredibly, the two bullets that should have killed him had been stopped cold by his copy of “The Message,” a version of the New Testament that uses contemporary language – something he’d only started carrying with him a week earlier.
Happily, while the driver was badly shaken, none of his injuries were life-threatening.
There’s no doub that the Good Book saved his life, and Waggoner’s longtime friend Lillie Brown says the amazing incident shows that “God is on Rick’s side.” She called the driver “a great friend and terrific dad.”
When Eugene Peterson, author of “The Message,” learned that the Bible had prevented the bullets from ripping into Waggoner’s chest, he was delighted.
“That’s wonderful,” said Peterson, 81. “I’ve heard stories about that happening during the Second World War. I’m glad to be in the club.”