I should be at work right now. So should my roommate. It is 7:29 pm EDT and we were both scheduled to be there until 10 pm.
As some of you know, I have been without a functional car since August 18th of last year. In March I junked it because the computer was water damaged. I downloaded the Lyft app into my phone and have had to use it many times. However, I am blessed with beautiful friends and co-workers who have been hauling me to and from work, doctor’s appointments, banks and stores. I am so tremendously grateful to all of them.
My roommate, who wants to be known as Rose, also works at Walmart. She has been one of my drivers. Well, today we were approximately two blocks from work at around 1:30 pm when we arrived at a red light in one of the left turn lanes and her car just shut off. The vehicle was smoking under the carriage; it smelled like burnt oil. She flipped on her hazard lights after an unsuccessful attempt at restarting the car. I pulled out my AAA card and began tapping numbers onto my phone.
As I hung up with AAA I looked through the windshield and saw a young man, a stranger, directing Rose to turn the steering wheel as he pushed us backwards and into the shared drive between a Wendy’s and a State Farm agent’s office-kind of humorous given my current search for a new auto policy for my (hopefully) replacement car. The driveway was too steep (yeah, funny, this is Florida) to push the car up far enough to be in one of the parking lots. Then the downpour came-a Florida white-out. Being stuck in the steep driveway led to some amusing and annoying events in which people leaving Wendy’s got behind us and angrily honked their horns even though the hazard lights were blinking. I prayed those drivers were sterile and had not ever spawned.
An hour passed before our tow truck driver arrived. He turned out to be a hilariously funny man named, Doug, who kept us entertained with some truly hideously bad jokes that would have made my father proud. For example, “You throw a white hat into the Red Sea. What is it?” “Wet.” The gloriously bad humor did take away the pain of having to deal with a dead car and not having the funds to get it repaired. That meant we could only have it towed home. I arranged to have Andrew, the mechanic who tried to save my car, come by to check out Rose’s car tomorrow morning.
“Well, here’s the bad news,” Doug said to us as he climbed into the cab. I was hoping he wasn’t about to say the transmission fell out as he was putting Rose’s Toyota onto the flat bed. Whew, he didn’t. Instead he said this, “Your membership is a Basic one. That means your free tow is for five miles.” “Crap, I thought it was fifty,” I replied and simultaneously it came to me that my previous membership was, “Plus,” with the shiny gold card. THAT level gets fifty mile tow jobs. Doug continued, “We are nine miles from where you want to go. So, you will have to pay the difference.” “Which is?” “Twenty four dollars.” Rose and I sucked in our breath. I have $2.80 in my account. Rose has less. More money arrives tomorrow. We informed Doug we have no funds to pay difference. He didn’t even flinch; he kept his fun demeanor as he told us about credit card options. Unfortunately, they were not options we could utilize. I asked,”Can we post date a check? I swear the money will be there tomorrow?” He was doubtful but, he called his boss, one of the owners. His boss had to call back. It wasn’t long before he was driving us out of the Wendy’s parking lot and cracking more goofy jokes. Rose and I were a little confused but, we went along. We were headed toward home. I was thinking that perhaps they had decided to take our post dated check.
Two hours after our ordeal began Doug was unloading Rose’s car in front of our apartment. I asked for a business card he handed me one and told me to call and thank him. And then Doug drove off. His boss gave us a free tow. I am so lucky…and grateful.