Friday, July 31, 2009

On the side of the road..

About 10 years ago, I was driving back home to DC from North Carolina in my OLD Toyota Corolla, the car I had had since I was 16. I was in the midst of some long expanse or road in the midst of nowhere southern Virginia... kabam my tire blew out. Going close to 80 miles an hour this can be issue, but I safely got myself over to the side of the road, took a couple of deep breaths and prepared to change my tire. While I was pulling my tire jack and the block of wood I kept in my trunk for just such occassions, I looked up. There was a guy in an SUV and a big rig truck both stopped on the shoulder in front of me and walking towards me. After a few seconds of panic, these two kind gentleman marveled at my preparedness and then offered to change my tire. Then Mr. Big Rig asked how much further I had to go- "to DC (a good 300 more miles)" I replied. "Well, that is too far to go on this tire (my spare that had already been used more than once)." He then called ahead on his radio (this was pre common cell phone usage) to an open service station told them I was a friend and to give me a good rate. He gave me directions and away I went after thanking them profusely. This whole escapade delayed my arrival back to the Nation's Capital by barely two hours.

I neglected to get these kind men's phone numbers or addresses or something to formally thank them. However, I have tried to "Pay It Forward." I have tried.

Today I headed out to Hansen Dam to test ride and run the triathlon course. Half of our group was really late so we left for the bike ride, went the wrong way so then decided to ride with the other the right way in lieu of running in the now almost noon day sun. The ride was great, invigorating even. After about 21 miles total, I was thinking this riding thing is no big deal when... Kabaam. My back tire was flat. About 3 miles from our destination, my tire not holding the air we tried to inflate it with and me lacking a spare, I waited at the side of the road. My friends were to come back to get me. I didn't have my cell phone, I had very little water, it was hot, but I waited patiently in the shade. For 30 minutes I sat on the side of the road in a decidedly non-picturesque, industrial neighborhood. Only 1 person asked if I was OK. No one asked if they could call someone for me. No one asked if I needed anything. Including the two policemen who drove by me. I just waited. I was fine, it was handled but...

I wondered, Are there no more Good Samaritans? Are we so jaded? My friend said it's a good thing, they might have been creeps if they had stopped, true I guess, but...


Jabulani said...

It's a shame isn't it, in this day and age, that the advice we receive from various agencies is to ignore people hitching or stopped on the side of the road. It's because so many people have been attacked in just this ruse, that now Good Samaritans are too scared to offer help!!

I do wonder if the original GS ever stopped to think "hang on a minute, if I stop here to help this guy, I might get attacked by the bandits who laid into him." Or when he put his clothes on the naked guy, "hmm, his blood might contain all sorts of diseases... I'd better not ever wear this garment again" or when he took him to the inn there was a moment when he thought, "wonder if I'll ever get the money back for the treatment I just paid for?"

Such a sad indictment on our new-and-improved modern world that in 10 seconds we can send a photo to our relatives 6000 miles away but we cannot help someone who lives next door, round the corner, stop to chat to an older person we meet, ask a stranded person if they are okay, try to help out a mom with 4 screaming kids who can't find the car keys at the bottom of her capacious holdall... I am a simple person - I prefer life when it was not all so cautious and sanitised to within an inch of its life.

I hope those 2 guys who helped you originally know how special they are!

rlbates said...

I agree, it is a shame that good Samaritans seem to be so rare or too scared to offer help these days.

JaxMom said...

I had a car issue about a month ago. A kind Horse-shoer, his wife and son followed me off the exit, took care of my problem, and would not accept any money for the assistance.

There are some good people out there. Hopefully next time they will stop for you.

P.s. I have a jack and jumper cables, but had not thought.