Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The kindness of strangers

I am one of those people that like to be in control of every situation I am in. Few times can test my patience, then, than when our car breaks down far from home. I have a hard time with the helpless feeling of not knowing exactly what to do and how.

Thankfully in this day and age, I learned we can still rely on the simple kindness of strangers. And Friday's incident helped to reinforce this for me and to teach it to my kids.

We were on our way to visit my mother-in-law at our cabin up in Northeast PA last Friday night. Thankfully we got an early start and started our 3.5 hour trip shortly after 5. We pulled into a Burger King parking lot in Dallas, PA about halfway there to use the bathrooms and get a couple milkshakes. After that mission was accomplished, we put the key in the ignition to start the car (a 2000 Buick LeSabre) and there was absolutely nothing. No lights, no start, zip.

My husband, being a car guy, knew exactly what it was, a dead battery. Of course, we had the car all packed with stuff and couldn't even get at the battery to jump it, since in this car it is located under the back seat. No kidding- of all the dumb places to put a battery, that's where they put it. There are remote terminals under the hood, but you can't actually see the battery until you remove two baby seats, all the toys and blankets on the seat and pull the actual cushion out.

So once it became evident that we were in distress there in the Burger King parking lot, three older men came to our aid. One had a jumper cables, one pulled his truck up next to our car, and one had a wrench. ;)

Unfortunately, the jumper cables didn't work, because the battery was 11 years old (original to the car) and the terminals had corroded so badly one had fallen off. No doubt this is because no one can actually see the battery under the seat to make sure it is still in good shape...

So Joe, the man with the truck, took my husband up the road to an auto parts store to purchase a battery and a pair of vise grips. Bill, the wrench guy, sat with me and the kids in the Burger King while we waited and regaled us with tales of his auto adventures (he had a LeSabre similar to ours). The jumper cable guy, (we never got his name) sat in his car with his wife until everyone returned with the new battery.

About an hour later, we were back on the road, thanks to the kindess of three men we never met and who wouldn't even take us up on our offer to buy them a cup of coffee and a burger.

So even though our trip was delayed and we were left stranded by our car, the kindness of strangers is still something that exists. I will definitely pay it forward in the name of Bill, Joe and Jumper Cable Guy.


  1. What a wonderful story!

    Thank you for reminding me that there are still good people out there in the world. Some days with the kids I teach, I don't feel so inclined to think so.


  2. It is so reassuring that there's still good decent people all over the place. The problem is we are sometimes too busy with the crazies to notice the nice people.

    I'm glad your gardian angel was present to take care of you.

    Be well and next car a battery in the front please! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I am a firm believer that most people want to do the right thing.

    I worked with gang members and adjudicated students for the last seven years of my career, and they turned out to be some of my favorite kids.

  4. Stories like that really warm the heart ;-) So lovely to hear that kindness is still available. Hope you had a lovely time away. dee x

  5. It really does restore your faith doesn't it?

  6. awwww,thanks for sharing that. I'm a big believer that being nice is a choice that many don't realize they have. Like Dana, I have worked with many kids who only needed someone to believe in them.