I own a classic truck. A good definition of a classic vehicle is that it’s old enough that no one else wants to buy it from you, but not so far gone that it’s ready for the junkyard. This one’s a 1995 F-150.
Of course, some dealer would be happy to give me a “good trade” if I bought a new vehicle from them. Some days I’m not sure why I don’t trade it in for something newer. Typically, these are the days it decides to show its age and act up.
Just the other day, I was driving to an appointment and the truck died in the middle of the road. It was around 8:30 in the morning. Of course, I was in morning traffic.
It’s a four-lane road, and I’m sitting in the right lane going nowhere with a line of cars piling up behind me and the left lane zooming past. I can see in my rear-view mirror the cars trying to jockey around me, and I’m avoiding making eye contact with the drivers as they pass (because people are so happy during their morning commute, to begin with).
I try to start the truck a couple of times and let out a few choice curses. The truck had died on me in a similar fashion about a year ago—the distributor finally kicked the bucket. My first thoughts were that it died again, and I should have traded in this piece of crap then.
Luckily I’m near an intersection and there’s a right turn lane. I decided to push my truck over to let the happy commuters go along their merry way (nobody was honking, but if glares could kill…)
It’s a big truck, and I’m not a big man. As I’m grunting to get this thing moving (and hoping no one clips my door and kills me), I’m mentally griping about my fellow drivers:
Where were the good Samaritans? Surely someone will stop and help me push this beast!
After significant effort (luckily the road was flat), I get the truck out of traffic and hop back in to collect my thoughts. I don’t even get a chance to sigh before I look in the rear view mirror and see a car sitting in the turn lane behind me.
Yes, there is a good person out there!
I wait for the guy to get out of his car.
He looks down at his cell phone and then back up. He’s just sitting there.
It dawns on me that he’s not stopping to help. He’s waiting to turn right.
What the hell!
I roll down my window and wave for him to go around. I guess my truck sitting skewed in the lane, not running, wasn’t a strong enough clue.
Now I’m fuming about the piece of crap truck and my good-for-nothing fellow commuters. Recriminating thoughts are running through my head:
If I was a young lady, they’d be lining up to help me.
What about a senior citizen—I’ve got more gray hair than black damn it.
I was full of self-righteous fury. . . until I looked down at the gauge panel and remembered that I needed gas. I was on my way to the gas station that morning because I didn’t have enough gas in the tank to go into town. My truck has two tanks, and they were both low.
Surely I didn’t run out of gas.
I flipped the switch to change tanks and turned the key. The truck fires up.
You know that feeling when you fall on your face, or smack yourself with a rake and look around to see if anyone saw you? Multiply it by about a thousand, and you’ll know how I felt at that moment.
Sometimes we get caught up in the blame game: Why isn’t someone helping me? Or we jump to conclusions: It’s the same problem as last time. We don’t look at the situation clearly and go down the wrong path in our thinking.
All I can say is: Thank God for bad Samaritans! I would have felt ten times stupider if someone had stopped to help and was standing there when I realized I ran out of gas.
God probably had a good laugh at me that day, and I can laugh about it too—now. I guess we all need a little reminder that we need to look at ourselves first before pointing fingers.