Ruby Stein, 85, was on her way back from visiting her granddaughter on March 21 when her car became stuck on a steep, mountainous road in Colorado.
“I blowed my horn and blowed my horn and flashed my lights until the battery ran down,” Stein told the Denver Post. “Then my car went dead. I had a cellphone with me, but it wouldn’t work.
“To me, it was a normal life until this happened.”
Stein - her 2007 Nissan Sentra completely submerged in snow and ice near the town of Gypsum right outside of Denver - had her cat, Nikki, to keep her company during the five days that she was stranded.
“I was keeping myself very, very calm. I knew I either had to or it was over with. I have too many great grandkids and grandkids. I didn’t want it to be over with,” she told the Post.
The great-grandmother, who has been living in Akron with one of her sons since her husband died in 2007, rationed her food - a sweet roll and Rice Krispies Treats - drank melted snow and made a blanket from safety pins and clothes she had in the back of her car.
Stein, who was headed back from Akron, Colorado, where she visited her granddaughter, Alee Preuss, and her four children, says she allowed herself to eat two bites of her Rice Krispies Treats each day.
“When my Rice Krispies Treat was getting close, I thought, It might be good,’ ” Stein told the Post. “I was looking out the window for foliage or something else to eat.”
Days went by with no sign of a rescue.
“I just did a lot of thinking,” she said. “You know, What if? What if?’ Just take it as it comes is how I felt.
“On Saturday, I would have run out of everything I had. I thought, That’s it. Whatever God wants, God wants.’ “
But later that day, hikers Dan Higbee and Katie Preston stumbled upon what they thought was an abandoned car. Seeing an open door, they called out to make sure no one was inside.
But a faint voice replied.
“She was in the back of the car. She said, No, everything is not okay,’ ” Higbee told the Post.
The couple drove Stein to Preuss’ house, contacting authorities along the way.
“She means the world to absolutely every single one of us,” Preuss told the publication. “We love her to pieces. And she’s right back to her normal self.”
Stein, who has five children, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, attributes her miraculous survival to skills she learned growing up on a farm.
“I’ve got scars on my body from horses,” she told the Post. “I’m only 5 foot and 110 pounds. I’ve just always been a doer. I’m an old farm girl from the day I was born.”