Two Frightening Tales of Drive and Fly

We knew the Teos when they were newly married, when we all lived and  worked in Hongkong in the 1980s where we formed the Singapore-Malaysian Christian Fellowship. After they moved back to Singapore and we to Perth we regularly meet up and enjoy sweet fellowship

By Timothy Teo

Timothy & Daphne Teo, Tina & Nick Chew
We were on a two-week driving trip in Oregon, USA. After arriving in Bend with our travelling companions Nick and Tina Chew, we intended to visit the volcanic monument. According to the GPS it was a 10-mile drive. Towards the end, we were guided to a side dirt road and meandered through several winding paths deep into the forest. Then we saw in front of us a 30-meter patch covered with what I thought was melting snow. 

Nick asked me whether we should proceed and I said yes, thinking it should be no issue as it was a small patch and everywhere else the snow had melted.

Besides, having stayed in the snowy part of US before, I’ve experience driving through such snow patches. Well it happened that our 7 seater Nissan Quest minivan got stuck in barely 3 feet into the snow. As it was a front wheel drive we couldn’t reverse out.


For about 3 hours we tried every trick we knew, even googled to try and get out, but to no avail. The minivan came with insurance for roadside assist so we called for help. The help center was located in Queens, New York, 3 hours’ time difference. After all the formalities, a rescue truck from the city of Bend promised to arrive within 30 mins. After 30 mins, he didn’t show up due to a disagreement by the insurer to pay his $450 fee. Meanwhile the temperature was dropping. Tina requested that I lead in prayer for God to rescue us. At that point, our friends from Perth, Goldie and Tek Chong just happened to contact us via WhatsApp (asking us to clarify something which we wrote for their blog, not knowing we were in US in a very precarious situation).  We requested them to pray for us too.  Thank God for the marvel of modern technology to activate an instant prayer chain! 

After another call and describing our plight, the insurer agreed to pay and the driver said he was arriving in 30 mins. By now it was getting near 6 pm and we wondered whether we would have to spend the night in the Nissan Quest minivan in the forest. A few of us had to relieve ourselves; I won’t go into graphic details. Further communication with the driver revealed he couldn’t find us despite our sending our GPS location as he was using a paper map and blasting his horn to attract us which we never heard. 

I then had a prompting to walk out about 1 km to one intersection in the hope of seeing him. I remembered there were blue ribbons on trees guiding us to the location. I also saw a tree with an ID number at the crossing and considered taking a photo to send to Nick. Alas the driver said blue ribbons were on every road and not leading to us.


Suddenly an old car with three guys approached. I quickly stopped them.

As they drove and I part ran to guide them, I wondered whether I was taking a big risk – three strong guys against two of us and two ladies.

I observed that their car was full of things plus a small canoe on the roof.

Later we found they also had a dog. I decided that they looked OK. To end the story, they helped us get the minivan out of the snow. Thanks, be to God who rescued us from a freezing slumber. 

Flying home

We returned to Singapore via San Francisco on the flight SQ031. The plane was cleared to push back for runway for our almost 17- hour flight 17 minutes ahead of schedule. This was a pleasant surprise, first time departing so early. As we accelerated for takeoff I suddenly heard the engines decelerate about 1/3 way into takeoff. I realized something was amiss. I looked out the window to see if there was any fire but saw nothing. This was my first experience of an aborted takeoff. Not many including my wife were aware of what happened. The captain explained it as a minor technical glitch which had been resolved. We eventually took off 37 minutes behind schedule and was told the real reason he aborted takeoff was a landing plane on the second runway which was quite close by behind us aborted landing and had to do a turn around. He judged that it was prudent to also  abort our take off. 

These two scary events remind me that many things are beyond our control or ability to anticipate. Only God knows and can protect and rescue us. I am glad my faith is in Him.

Timothy is retired and  continues to be actively engaged in  Christian voluntary work in the health and elderly sectors.



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