Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tom - The Good Samaritan

In my last post, I let the cat out of the bag.  What I find funny is that no one must read my blog because none of my neighbors knew I bought a new four wheeler.  I've enjoyed my four wheeler so much that I put about 100 miles on the thing in about 10 days.  Because of that I had to take it in for service.  (The first service is done at 20 engine hours or 100 miles, which ever comes first.)  That was Wednesday morning.  I got it back Friday.  Yeah, the dealer was busy and I wanted my four wheeler home for the weekend.  I wanted to go on a ride today, but I got side tracked.

You see, yesterday as I was driving home from the dealer with four wheeler in tow, the passenger side tire on the trailer blew out, and I got stranded on the side of the road with a blown out tire (and no spare) and my brand new, shiney four wheeler in the back of the rig.  Oh, and I have 8 minutes of time left on my Tracfone.  Sweet!  Long story short, we ended up retrieving the four wheeler and my Suburban, but we left the trailer, sans blown out tire, on the side of the road.  Today I went and got a replacement tire for the trailer and saved the trailer.  Took all of about 10 minutes to replace the tire and attach it on to the Suburban.

So, I take off.  I'm going home and I'm about half way home and out of the corner of my eye to the left of me I catch a light green station wagon with a bunch of people out of the car standing and sitting around.  "News alert!  Stranded/broken down car."  I look over at my oldest son and say to him, "Son, we won't be home in a while.  We've got to go check on those people."  We go up the road a couple more miles, turn around and head back.  We get up to the people, slow down, pull over and stop.

We get out.  This is the McLaren family and they live in Belgium (Americans living abroad, something I'm somewhat familiar with) and they are visting family for the summer.  The father is on a plane flying back to Belgium.  The wife with her five children in tow are on their way to California.  As I pull up, the daughter's cell phone dies.  I talk to the mother and I offer my cell phone.  She thinks she has a AAA membership, and about 15 minutes later, we realize that they don't have one.  So I call my wife and get the phone number of a towing company.  We call them.  They'll be there in 20 minutes.  The mother asks, "So, why did you stop?"  And I said, "Because when the tire blew on my trailer, no one stopped to help me.  So I didn't want that to happen to you."

We sat there and waited.  She called her local son (she has seven kids; five with her, one in Cali and one local) and he was on his way to rescue her and her family.  One of her daughters that is about a year younger than my son talked to him the whole time.  :-)  I waited for her son to show up and I waited for the tow truck to come.  Once they did and they were taken care of, I left the scene.

So what happened to their car?  Quite simply, the car blew a hose and all the coolant leaked out.  The car overheated and essentially died.  The tow truck operator tried to start the car, but it was dead.  The head probably got warped because of the heat, so the engine is toast.  New car or new motor or new something.  It wasn't going to be cheap.

Honestly, this experience was the highlight of my day.  Why?  Because I got to help someone out.  I know what it is like to be stranded on the side of the highway and have trucks and cars pass by going really fast.  That happened to me just yesterday.  And all I can say is that it sucked.  Hard.  And I didn't want that lady and her family to be up a creek without a paddle.

Funny thing is....  I doubt this lady will remember my name or anything.  Crap, I don't remember her first name.  But she'll always remember that time someone stopped to help her and her kids.  I'd like to know how the story ends, but that will probably never happen.  Unless they happen to stumble across my blog.  In which case, if the McLarens that live in Belgium ever read this, please kindly post what happened.  I'm curious to find out.

So the next time someone is sitting on the side of the road broken down, take a moment to go and help out.  Even if they don't accept your offer, at least you tried to help.  And in this case, I was an example to my son that we need to be our brother's keeper.

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