Saved By A Stranger

This is actually a pretty old story now that I’m finally getting around to writing it down, having the three little nuggets sometimes distracts me from the things I intend to do.

We took a trip to Pennsylvania for Memorial Day weekend which hit a relatively big snag out of nowhere. It’s no surprise that getting ready for a vacation when you have children is not an easy task. We loaded up our car with everything from a high chair to a potty chair and hit the road, but we had stops to make… After the gas tank was filled up and the snacks and drinks were bought for the weekend we had to make our way to Baby A’s two month check up (where he got his first set of vaccinations). Our drive was supposed to take us three hours and we were making excellent time despite the fact that part of our stroller flew off the roof. It wasn’t until we were about half an hour from our destination that things got really iffy.

The car started smoking.

I should share that I just bought this car one year ago to prepare for our days of having three car seats to strap in. It has three rows of seats, four wheel drive, everything that I thought we needed and it wasn’t too awfully expensive for a used vehicle. But that damn thing overheated! We pulled over to the side of the road and my poor boyfriend hoofed it to a nearby establishment for some water to pour somewhere under the hood. I won’t lie and pretend like I remember exactly what he was doing, I was a little busy tending to two crying babies and a chatty toddler. The car seemed stable to drive after that and we got back on the road for about ten minutes until it started smoking again. This time a couple on vacation and a fireman who happened to be passing by gave us a hand in cooling the car down.

Misery. Misery. Misery.

Three kids all making noise, a smoking car and only twenty minutes from our destination we were coasting our way to the nearest gas station. We talked about tow trucks and who was going to come pick up all of us and our things. How would we get back to New York? How much was it going to cost to fix the car? Talk about replacing a radiator had me about ready to breakdown. This was supposed to be a relaxing vacation! At the gas station Curtis ran in for some coolant and some more water, when he came out a guy stuck his head out the door and said, “don’t pour cold water in there, you’ll crack it.” We were so tired and frustrated it almost seemed like a slam at our intelligence. My boyfriend spoke with him for a moment before climbing back into our car, “he offered to fix the truck, we just have to follow him back to his place.” I can’t pretend that this didn’t sound like a horrible idea to me, but what choice did we really have?

Down a long road into the middle of nowhere.

Hungry, cranky, tired babies with full diapers erupted the moment that the car stopped again (probably hopeful that they were finally getting out). The man, Dennis, started tinkering under the hood and started to remove a part. He said he was a retired mechanic and he knew exactly what was wrong with it, pulled the part out and showed us the crack where the coolant was escaping from. The nearest part store was forty five minutes away and he didn’t want to take our money and go get it himself, he asked Curtis to come along with him. My worrisome brain kept telling me that we had just walked into a horror movie… “Follow a stranger to a remote location, car becomes disabled, couple gets separated and then…The End.” Dennis said that the boys and I could stay behind with his wife and children and so we did.

While the guys were gone his wife and children played with the boys and showed them their gardens and chickens until the mosquitos started coming out and we went inside. The boys munched on popcorn, drank some grape juice and watched Power Rangers in their living room while I sat nearby rocking the baby. Almost two hours later they had returned with the part and within moments it was snapped into place under the hood. We thanked them one thousand times over and finally had our trip back on track.

Dennis said he was a firm believer in good karma and that what he had done for us would likely come back to him one day. I’m not sure that anyone else would have stopped to help us in the way that he did and offer up his home and time in that way.


We wound up having a great weekend with friends and family who hadn’t yet had a chance to meet Baby A and hadn’t seen the other boys in a while. We relaxed, stayed up late, enjoyed good company and good weather all thanks to the help of a stranger.

 

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