I’m terrible about vehicle maintenance. TERRIBLE.
I’m so terrible about the maintenance, that I often wait until the last possible moment to fill my tank with gas. It’s not that I can’t afford it or that I don’t have the time. I just don’t think about it.
Friday morning, at about 5:25 am, it caught up to me.
I was at a stoplight less than a block away from my 5:30 am bootcamp. I knew I was pushing the limits of my gas tank, so I was planning to stop at the gas station on the corner. (The corner I was sitting at.) Random bright red lights all turned on on my dash. I thought that was a little strange, but what did I know about cars. I didn’t even know what half the lights meant…
It took less than 5 seconds for me to find out. Those lights were the desperate plea from my car to give it gas. They were my car’s last words.
Then she died.
At 5:25 am, just inside the entrance to the gas station. I was a mere 20-25 yards from the pump. So close, and yet…
I popped my car into neutral, walked around the back and pushed as hard as I could. I cannot describe how pathetic I looked as my car nudged forward an inch (if that)! I pushed again and again. When I stood up to catch my breath, the car rolled backward losing what little ground I had gained.
Naturally, I laughed.
A few years ago, I would have cried or yelled. I would have called someone to come help me, but no good friend should call someone at 5:30 am to ask for help pushing their car 25 yards. That’s embarrassing, people!
I switched up my strategy. I have no arm strength, but I’ve always had solid quads! I leaned my back against my car, squatted low and pushed with my legs. Ha-HA!
Ok, so it wasn’t a complete success, but it was better than pushing with my arms.
By this point, one car had gone around me and another car was passing by. A man in a beat up vehicle was on his phone, smoking a cigarette when I noticed him out of the corner of my eye. His car slowed as he drove by me. I’m sure I looked pretty comical in my feeble attempts to push my car.
Two seconds later, he rolled down his window and said, “Do you need some help?”
“YES!” without hesitation.
He told someone on the phone that he would call them right back. He hopped out and told me to steer. Well, that’s a little presumptive, right?
It took less time for this scrawny, wonderful person to push my car to the pump than it took me to make and lose 6 inches of ground.
I thanked this stranger over and over. I considered hugging the guy, but I realized that would be super awkward. I thought about offering him money, but thought it might insult him. Instead, I smiled and I thanked him for saving me.
I watched as he drove away, and I learned something about myself.
I was not worthy of that man’s help. Any day of the week, I wouldn’t have thought twice about some random, scrawny guy smoking a cigarette in a beat up car. I would have probably passed judgement on him for no reason at all. Yet, he is the one to stop and help me. He probably had somewhere to be (why else would you be out and about that early?), but he took the time to offer help to a person in need.
I’m big about helping others, donating money, giving time, etc. Somewhere along the lines, I created this misguided perception of what a person in need looks like. It’s only fitting that a little divine intervention would put my in my place.
We are all people in need. And every one of us has the potential to be a hero.
The minute you forget that, you’ll receive a gentle reminder from the man upstairs.
Also, I need to work on my arm strength. That was very, very sad.