Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

 I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Tennessee Williams

It was my turn to drive the kids to seminary yesterday morning.  As we were going, I noticed an indicator light that was indicating something (although I didn't know what).  I still don't know all the ins and outs of our van (but in all fairness, I didn't know the ins and outs of our old van and I drove it for seven years...ins and outs of vehicles aren't really my thing).  Hans told me it indicated tire pressure.  Hmmm.  I checked to see if I had a flat tire and I did not.  Hmmm.  I called Adam who is on a business trip in North Dakota.  He told me to go to Les Schwab and get the tires checked.

So I did.  I had low tire pressure which apparently happens after time and especially in cold weather.

The guy at Les Schwab filled my tires and sent me on my way and I felt relieved.  I feel anxiety when it comes to my vehicle not working (particularly when Adam is living it up in North Dakota).

There were a lot of things that defined my childhood.  My mom cooked everything from scratch, my dad's hat could always be spotted above a crowd, there were Wranglers everywhere you looked, and we drove unreliable cars.

My dad kept them running quite well considering the various ages and mileage counts of our cars, but they invariably had troubles.  When we were in college, Olivia and I were driving to Utah from Nevada and our car started to cough and sputter.  I was filled with a familiar dread.  This was before we had cell phones and we were in the middle of the desert.  Then the car started to belch smoke from under the hood.  We happened to be at the Dell exit which is an exit in the middle of nowhere with no services (or mechanics).  I pulled off the exit (on account of, you know, the belching smoke).  A car pulled directly behind me and a man emerged from it that appeared a little frightening to me.  I groaned inwardly.  Our car problems were soon to be compounded by a mass murderer.

He tapped on the window and indicated that he'd look under our hood.  I seriously doubted he could be of any help but because I truly had no options, I opened the hood.  He told me what the trouble was and went back to his car to fetch something and fixed our car!

He handed me this piece of hose that had blown.

I have kept it all these years as a reminder.

I want to remember that the world is a pretty good place.  There are kind people everywhere that are happy to help.

Also, I want to remember that I shouldn't judge the scary looking guy in the car behind me.  He may just be an angel in disguise.


Jill said...

We had a similar experience when my oldest was a baby. We were driving back to Provo from Price and going up the canyon it started to snow. The road was horrible--we hit black ice and our truck slid toward the edge of a cliff where there was no guardrail. My husband said that is the only time he has really thought "we are going to die now". It was scary. When the truck stopped and we sat there with our hearts pounding and adrenaline pumping, our next concern was how on earth are were we going to get our truck back on the road. Lucky for us there were three guys that had stopped to help another car that slid off on the other side of the road. They saw us, came up and commented on how close a call we had then pushed our truck back onto the road. Their outward appearance did not say "Good Samaritan". They were scruffy, with long hair, beards, tattoos. The works. But there they were cheerfully helping people back onto the road. They wished us luck on our way and we headed home. I have thought about that experience many times through the years. It taught me something about goodness and judging on appearances, and though it was a scary way to learn, I am grateful for the lesson.

Marianne said...

Wow! What impresses me the most is that you kept the broken part. That sounds like something Olivia would have done. Did you have to arm wrestle her for it?


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