Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Everyday Heroes 12/13
It was Christmas Eve, I think 1997. I had just been doing some shopping in Bay City, Michigan and was going home on US 10 when a tire blew out! I managed to get the car to the side of the road and then got the paraphernalia out of the trunk to change the flat. I knew where everything was because just a month ago--on my birthday even--a different tire had gone flat.
So I get the jack out and set it up beneath the car and then get the car into the air. I start trying to get the nuts off and there's just one problem--the lug wrench breaks! Seriously the crappy lug wrench GM included cracked like an empty Solo cup left on the floor of a kegger for some frat boy to step on--how's that for a colorful simile?
And again this was 1997, so we didn't all have cell phones back in those days. I couldn't just whip out my iPhone and call AAA for assistance. This stretch of road was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, in farm country with the nearest town being miles down the road.
Then a car pulls up and this old guy gets out to ask if I needed any help. He got his lug wrench but it didn't fit. So he offered to give me a lift into Auburn, which was the nearest town. Since it was that or walk miles in the cold, what do you think I did?
They drove me to the pharmacy in town and I was able to call AAA from a pay phone. The old guy's wife (presumably) gave me a little church program that I still have in a Ziploc bag as a memento. Unlike in Hollywood me and the old couple didn't become the best of friends. I don't even remember their names and by this point they might not even be alive. But they definitely saved me from spending a large chunk of Christmas Eve walking to find a phone.
While I'm at it I got two other helpful strangers who are Everyday Heroes in car-related mishaps. The first was back in probably 1996 or maybe 1995. My sisters and I were in Bay City and I stupidly locked the keys in the car. To sum up our reactions it was basically, "Oh shit what are we going to do now?" I could have called my mom or dad to bring spare keys, which would have taken a while.
But then a tow truck shows up and the driver asks if we need help. Then he got out a tool to reach down through the window and pull the lock up. This was a 1977 Chevy Nova so it had those old-school locks where you could do that. And then he was on his way.
The funny part was the name of the tow truck company: Serendipity. I'd say it was very serendipitous.
And the last story was in 2003 or 2004 or so. My Bonneville's fuel gauge had been acting up recently, so I really had no idea how much gas I had. I was on I94 going home and it turned out I didn't have very much gas left! I managed to get it up a ramp, where it finally ran out. Unlike other people who just leave their cars any damned place, I got out and pushed the car over to the side of the road. I tried to get it into a church parking lot so it'd be out of the way but the incline was too steep and obviously I am not Superman who can lift a car over his head.
Enter another helpful stranger who helped me push the car up the rest of the way. Then he gave me a ride down to the corner to a gas station so I could get gas. Contrast this to the jerk gas station attendant who made me pay for a can to put gas in. He was an Everyday Villain. But on the plus side at least I had a can for if I ran out of gas again.
So there you go, Everyday Heroes (and Villains) are all around us! It could even be YOU!