Local woman searches for man who rescued her during Blizzard of 1978

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio - Although it was 40 years ago Angel Ahlstrom has vivid memories of the paralyzing Blizzard of 1978.

Ahlstrom worked at the theater in the Chapel Hill Mall and was on her way to work when her car broke down on the Howe Avenue exit ramp from Route 8.

"A pickup truck was behind me and he asked me where I was going. I told him to the mall. He said, 'well, the mall is shut down.' I said, 'no, not where I work it's not shut down,'" said Ahlstrom.

She says the driver of the truck pushed her to a back parking lot of the mall where she attempted to get into the building through two doors: one near the Sears store and another near the Penny's store, but both were locked.

"It was blistering cold; the winds were tremendously bad. It was like nothing you had ever seen in your life. The snow was higher than my knees to walk in, " said Ahlstrom.

Twenty-one years old and pregnant, she took refuge in her own disabled car.

"The only safe place from the wind. I had no heat because I couldn't start my car; it was totally dead, and I just sat there and I prayed; I prayed for a miracle."

In 1978 there were no cell phones.

Ahlstrom says the area was desolate; there were no other cars nearby, no sign of anyone else out.

As if out of nowhere she says she saw a small white car. The driver exited the car and attempted to get into the mall himself and after he was unsuccessful returned to his own car.

"I laid on my horn and I prayed and prayed that he would hear it and you could hear the battery dying down to nothing. He looked over and he got in his car, he pulled his car over by mine," said Ahlstrom.

The man offered her a ride home and although she was hesitant because she didn't know whether or not he could be trusted, she ultimately thought under the circumstances she had nothing to lose.

"I explained to him that I was stranded and I'm pregnant and I have no heat; I can't start my car, and I can't get in the mall and I work here, and he asked me where and I told him and he told me that he was the manager at Zales, which was right across from us."

Ahlstrom says adding to the coincidence, the man told her he lived on Prang Drive, less than a mile from where she lived.

Forty years later, she believes she and her daughter, who was born the following May, are both alive today because of the man, who she has been unable to properly thank.

"I was just extremely scared to death for my life and like I said if it wasn't for this man I wouldn't be alive today, neither would my daughter," said Ahlstrom.

Ahlstrom says she has been unsuccessful in her own attempts to identify the man who rescued her.

Over the past four decades, the neighborhood where she believes the man lived has undergone many changes.

The Zales jewelry store where she believes he was a manager has closed and the chain has been sold.

FOX 8 has enlisted the help of Zales' current parent company to try and identify the man who may be in his 70s or 80s today.

FOX 8 is also reaching out to our viewers for information from anyone who may know the identity of the manager of the Chapel Hill Mall Zales jewelry store in January 1978.

Ahlstrom says she still has nightmares about that day when she admits she was about ready to give up when her prayers were answered.

"I want to meet him again. I want to be able to thank him and to let him know how appreciative I am for what he has done for me and what he did that day."

Today her daughter, who is now 39, has a son of her own.

"It is because of him that I am still alive, that my daughter is alive, that my grandson is alive," said Ahlstrom.

Read more on the Blizzard of '78 and share your memories.

Around the Buckeye State

More Ohio News
FOX 8 Cleveland Weather // Quick Links:

Hot on FOX 8

More Viral