Monday, March 20, 2006

The Kindness of Strangers

This weekend I backed into a ditch and got well and truly stuck.

It happened Saturday morning as I was driving Jake to his soccer game. The game was to start at 9:15 am and the coach wanted him on the field 30 minutes before gametime. I was driving Jake and Larry had the rest of our active crew. He is the coach of Max and Rebecca’s soccer team and their game was at 9:45 am. Fortunately Nate’s practice wasn’t until 11:00 am and he could help corral the dynamic duo when they were not on the field.

As I was driving to the field I realized that Larry’s gear bag was in all likelihood in the trunk of the car I was driving. I pulled over to check the trunk and call Larry.

I was right. Nestled in the trunk of the car was the bag with the spare soccer balls, Max and Rebecca’s soccer balls, cones and a pinney. I shut the lid and called Larry. Since I was well over halfway to Jake’s game going back home really wasn’t an option. He decided that he really didn’t need it all and he could do without. As I was finishing up our conversation I started to turn the car around.

This was mistake number one.

Because I was slightly distracted I misjudged the turnaround spot I was backing onto. As I was almost turned around I felt a bit more of a bump than I expected, but I continued to back up.

This was mistake number two.

With a final bump I came to a stop and then tried to pull forward.

The car did not move.

I got out and discovered that the right wheel was in a hole the rest of the car was stuck on the bank.


After a bit of swearing I tried to push the car. Then I tried to scrounge up some wood to put under the wheel. None of my ideas worked. Meanwhile Jake was getting increasingly more agitated in the car. After a few minutes of more pointless activity a very kind woman with a couple of kids in the back stopped to help me out. We tried pushing together, but it was no good. She then offered to get her husband and/or her neighbor to pull out the car. She drove off and promised to be back soon. While she was gone another kind soul offered to help, but I politely declined by telling him help was on its way.

True to her word she returned with two pick-up trucks in her wake. Her neighbor, Mike, was driving a battered old F150 and pulled up behind my car. Then Mike and the husband pulled out their towropes and fastened my car to Mike’s. With a nice slow and steady pull I was up and out of the ditch. Hurrah!

With a big smile the woman told me not to drive into the ditch again and said she was off to baseball. I thanked both of my saviors and very carefully pulled back onto the road.

The amazing thing was that the whole drama took place in just over 15 minutes. Jake was still able to warm up with his team, just in a more abbreviated fashion. And the car was undamaged by my little driving misadventure.

I could have called AAA, but I would have been stuck there for over an hour. Because of the kindness of strangers I was on my way in far less time than that.

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