It gives me hope

by Lorin Michel Friday, August 26, 2016 11:22 PM

Kevin's new truck broke down today. He was out running errands, Home Depot and weed killer kind of stops, and had pulled into a quick turn-around lane. As he started to make the turn, the radio surged, hiccupped and then the car died. Luckily he had enough momentum to propel the truck across the very busy four lanes of the east bound side of Broadway, and luckily there was an entrance to a parking lot for the Hilton. The truck coasted across then stopped. It had power but it wouldn't crank.

There I was in my office, minding my own business when my cell began to sing. The phone rarely rings on a Friday afternoon and while I have plenty of work to do, no one wants to talk about it. Caller ID identified the caller as "Kevin."

Uh oh.


"So my car died."

A quick detail of tools to bring followed and I jumped into the Sport. It took me about 15 minutes to get there. He waved sheepishly.

"You know I wanted to take the bike today and you said I'd be better off in the truck," he said as I climbed out.

My turn to be sheepish.

"You lied." He smiled.

He set about checking the battery, making sure everything that should be connected was.

In these situations, there is really nothing I can do other than stand around and look helpless. I was doing that very well when a couple in a pickup pulled in, asked what they could do to help. Maybe help push it? Worth a shot. The two guys tried while I was in the driver's seat to steer. The truck began to roll backwards rather than forward. Another guy stopped to help. Maybe with three of them they'd have better luck. They didn't. The truck is simply too heavy.

The second guy who stopped also helped Kevin nose around the engine.

"Need a crescent wrench?" he asked. "I got one in the car."

Kevin thanked him, told him he had one, too. They poked around a bit more.
The guy shrugged.

"Sure wish there was something I could to help you out, man," he said. "Good luck."

Soon another guy came by. An older gentleman in a Ford Edge.

"I got a tow rope,” he said as he leaned toward the passenger window to talk to us.  "I can at least get you into a safer spot."

He gave Kevin the rope to hook to the Classic and then to his tow hitch and just like that, the Classic was up the slight incline and onto flatter ground.

"Good luck," the man said as he drove off with a wave.

A woman stopped and said that while she couldn’t do much, she’d be happy to make a phone call. At least one other car stopped to see if there was anything they could do. In the end, we called for a tow truck. The guy showed up in about a half hour, loaded the Classic and with Kevin and I in the Sport, we all drove south to Falconwerks, the independent British repair shop here in Tucson.

The sun was setting, lighting the storm clouds to the west. The sky turned dusty blue, darkening. Kevin was quiet. I was thinking about people, and how just when I'm convinced that we've devolved into a race that can't even manage to be decent to one another the truck breaks down and a number of strangers stop to offer what help they could. My faith was restored at least for today and I said as much to Kevin. He nodded.

"What are you thinking about?" I asked.

"That I knew I should have taken the bike," he said with a grin.

Next time. Until then, I'm celebrating the goodness of people and not thinking about how much this is going to cost. Next week. Next week.

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live out loud

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