Friday, September 7, 2012

Car troubles and generosity

When Bex pulled up this morning, I knew that we probably shouldn't put the kids in the car. We did anyway.  The car was giving off a terrible smell, but Becka assured me it would be all right. We made it onto the freeway, then got stopped at a light. While stopped, the car stalled. The car stalled, and wouldn't start. Becka put on her hazards, and tried waiting a moment. 

At about this time, I wanted to start crying. I am normally fine when bad things happen, but as soon as my kids are involved, I become a wreck. It didn't help that Mara started crying because the car was stopped but she was still buckled into her seat. We were trying to figure out what to do, but people were honking because they apparently didn't see the hazards flashing and were mad at us. 

Maybe I should mention that we were in the far left turn lane - as in the middle of the street as one can get without getting on the divider. While Becka got out and was trying to figure out what was wrong with the car, I was busy trying to figure out how to get my two kids across four lanes of traffic with no crosswalk, when cars were flying off the freeway. As is my norm, I went into worst case scenario mindset, wherein my kids run off into the road when I try to get them out of the car, and get hit.

Then the most fantastic thing happened. Becka found a bottle of water in her trunk, and poured that and the very last bit of antifreeze in. The woman in the car next to us offered to give us a bottle of water. Becka retrieved the water from her, and the guy in the car in front of her held two bottles out his window. Becka gave one to the kids, and did something with another bottle. She closed the hood, and tried to start the car again. No luck.

I looked up and saw someone in a van pull in front of us, then back up to right in front of the car. The van's hazards went on, and a guy got out and walked to the car. I only overheard a little - something about the radiator hose being lost, and the car being toast. That sucked, for sure. But then he helped Becka push the car to the divider so it was no longer blocking traffic. Steve called me while that was happening and told me he was calling to get it towed for us. As long as the keys were in the car, we didn't need to be there when the tow truck got there. Fantastic. now we just needed to figure out what to do about the babies...

We decided to brave the four lanes of traffic and walk to Meijer, less than a mile down the road. Becka got out of the car as I turned to unbuckle the kids. Becka grabbed Mara, and I told Gabriel to climb out Mara's door. I waited for traffic to clear, then hurried out my door. As I got to the driver's side, an SUV pulled up next to the car. The woman driving asked if she could drive us somewhere. I almost cried, I was so grateful. We moved the car seats over to her car, got all buckled in, and she took us to Becka's place, about 5 minutes away. 

Even though the car is definitely broken, and that 20 minutes of my day was horrible, I am really thankful for a few parts of it. The two strangers who offered water upon seeing that Becka's bottle was empty. The man who told Becka what was wrong, and helped her push the car out of the road. The woman FROM WYOMING who offered to give us a ride to "get the babies out of the middle of the street", even though she didn't know the area.

If you ever break down, may you have the good fortune to do it where complete strangers will help you out.

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