tonight i was thankful that i had my AAA (american automobile association) membership.
my 2004 Jeep Liberty stopped running when i was on a three lane 60 mph state highway in the darkness of night.
immediately i put on my flashing lights hoping that cars and trucks would see me and not run into the back of my Jeep. very quickly i realized that this (the right hand lane of the state highway) is not where i want to sit and wait for AAA to come help me. i did not want to wait for 15-30 minutes for the AAA tow truck to arrive, all the while hoping that the next car would see my blinking lights and slow down to avoid me in the right hand lane.
the state highway had three lanes but did not have a shoulder of any kind. nothing. i had no option for getting the Jeep off to the side of the highway.
the only option for me was to possibly push the car straight ahead in the right hand lane until the next cross street. even that was dangerous. but i figured that i had better try to push the vehicle than just let it sit there in the middle of the lane.
i opened my driver’s door and put one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the door frame, and started to push the Jeep. it did not move very much. but it did move a little. so i kept going as cars and trucks zipped by in the next lane.
then something happened that i never expected — two men were asking me to roll down my passenger side window so that they could help me push the vehicle. where did they come from? they apparently stopped their car, seeing that i was attempting to push my vehicle without much success, and got out to help me. wow!
and they helped a bunch. all of a sudden my Jeep is moving down the highway thanks to three of us pushing as hard as we can. we get to the first street on the right hand side of the highway and I turn the steering wheel to the right and we push even harder because the side road is slightly uphill. we keep pushing and eventually make it to the first driveway on the right hand side of the side street. the rear of the Jeep is still sticking out a little bit into the side street, but compared to the location the Jeep was in on the state highway this was so much safer.
how about the two good Samaritans! amazing.
but that is not where the evening ended. eventually the AAA tow truck arrived. after checking my oil level in the engine, the AAA tow truck driver, Justin, determines that my problem is probably a malfunctioning fuel pump. in any case, he informs me that i am going to have my car towed. the question is where to take the car.
two things happen that are interesting. one, the tow truck is one that does not lift up the front wheels. no, rather it is one that lifts the entire vehicle off the ground. i had never seen one of the newer tow trucks work. it is pretty amazing, and very simple.
the other surprise is that i was able to meet Justin, the twenty something driver for the tow truck. he was in uniform. he was very professional. and very pleasant and thoughtful.
we started to talk as we journeyed in the tow truck with my Jeep on the back of the tow truck. he tells me about his middle school and high school experiences. i ask him if he has gone to college, and he says no, he is not sure that college makes sense for him. i ask him if he wants to go to college, and he says he is not sure. he is ambivalent about going to college.
Justin is so inquisitive. he has many questions for me. what did i study in college. has college helped me. and many more.
but more importantly, i got the chance to get to know a wonderful young man — Justin.
as i reflect back on my evening, what stands out to me is that even in a precarious situation look at how much i have to be grateful for. the goodness of the two good Samaritans and the opportunity to meet Justin, the AAA tow truck operator, and get to know him a little. the human face of AAA!