I have always joked that I would drive my beloved, road battered, 1995 Ford pickup truck until the day it passed away on the highway of life.
I would pull over on the side of the road, pat the dash board one last time, celebrate the good times together, whisper my last goodbye, then just slip out and walk away.
Well, the other day, as I tried to start “Old Blue” and it just didn’t have spark enough to fire up for me, I thought this might just be the day. After trying to crank her up one last time, I called one of our interns to pick me up (interns are much more convenient than hitching a ride, even though that has a lot more adventure attached to it).
I had parked my truck in a metered parking space in downtown Tallahassee about an hour before I discovered I couldn’t start it. I only had a few more minutes left in the meter when the Brock picked me up.
I had already made the decision not to invest any more quarters in Old Blue. I was simply going to leave the corpse there at the curb. I knew some tow-man-grim-reaper type would come along and do what tow-man-grim-reaper types do.
With Brock there, I thought it wise not to go through my pat-the-dash-last-rights, so I just whispered a quick farewell and rode away. I did take one last look at Old Blue through the rear view mirror. I imagined that’s how they would have done it in the movies.
When I got back to the office, cooler heads prevailed and reminded me that I was a member of AAA and that they would tow Blue to our mechanic, Kevin Jowers. Kevin was like a combination horse whisperer, faith healer when it came to keeping cars and trucks on the go.
I called AAA expecting to go through computer voice hell. You know what I mean. “If you speak English push one, if you don’t speak, push two, if you want to fly an airplane, push three” and so on.
I was literally startled to get a REAL LIVE HUMAN FROM AMERICA on the line. And … after empathizing with me about “trucks these days”, a really nice person gave me the good news that my AAA Road Assistant would be able to meet me in 10 minutes.
I knew that was too good to be true, but when I arrived downtown 10 minutes later, a warm, friendly face replaced my image of the tow-man-grim-reaper type that I halfway expected.
He shook my hand, and said he was sorry my truck wasn’t cooperating with me. He also told me he had fended off the meter maid by putting a few quarters in the meter. Before I could even reach into my pockets, he told me there was no need for a reimbursement.
He suggested I try cranking my truck up one more time. I told him it wasn’t the battery, gave the key a turn and … I had another faith healer on my hands … Old Blue was resurrected.
I immediately started apologizing for causing the AAA dude an inconvenience. He would have none of it. He reminded me this was his job and that happy endings like this made his day.
And then … without even asking … he checked my battery out and topped off all four of my tires with air! I was speechless. Talk about exceeding expectations! Wow!
I asked him what I owed him and he said my smile was more than enough. His momma must have raised him right I thought.
I waved goodbye to my very own good Samaritan, and then patted the dashboard and whispered, “that man is a lifesaver, Blue … he is a genuine All-American hero!”
I rolled the windows down and turned the radio up. Willie Nelson was singing, “On the Road Again,” and Blue and I were singing along with him.
And you can bet all three of us were smiling!
><(("> Tom Laughon
Tom is affectionately known as BIG ><(("> at Catch Your Limit
Catch Your Limit
Management Guides & Fish Cleaning Services
><(("> Camps in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia
To learn more, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.