A messy car has its perks, as 85-year-old Ruby Stein discovered last week. While heading home to Akron, Colo., after a visit with her granddaughter on March 21, Stein took a wrong turn and ended up stuck 20 miles down an isolated mountain road with only her cat Nikki for company, reports 9 News. With no cell service, she honked her horn "until the battery ran down," Stein tells the Denver Post. Then the self-described "old farm girl" went to work. Using safety pins and a pile of old clothes in her backseat, she fashioned a blanket, then insulated her car's doors and windows. For each of the next five days, she ate only four bites of a Rice Krispies snack and what was left of a sweet roll, plus snow. Just when her stash of dry cat food started to look appetizing, help arrived.
Dan Higbee and Katie Preston had at first planned to go skiing Saturday, but decided to go for a hike at the last minute after finding the ski area's parking lots at capacity. When they couldn't find a trail, they changed directions and suddenly came across Stein's car. "I was never so glad to see anybody in my life," Stein tells the Denver Channel. "We were meant to be there," adds Preston. The hikers took Stein back to her granddaughter's house in Gypsum and family members, who'd been searching for her along the I-70 corridor, "just cried," Stein's granddaughter says. Stein was checked by paramedics but found to be unscathed. "I was keeping myself very, very calm," she says. "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." (Read more survival stories.)