Alean and I were headed to Boston to visit our son and his fiancée, and to attend his graduation from MIT. We decided to get to the airport using my older vehicle since it was our intent to park it at the hotel for a week rather than pay the exorbitant prices for parking at Seattle-Tacoma International. My car is fifteen years old, whereas hers was new last year, so we thought this was the smarter move.
We hit Seattle traffic on the tail end of rush hour, so cars were breaking loose and flying along pretty smoothly just about the time our car decided it was done. Dead. Nothing. No warning … just dead. There was no chugging, no gradual slow down. It was just alive and well one second, completely dead the next.
Sadly, since there was no warning, we were unable to work our way to the side of the road, instead dying in lane three of six lanes on this interstate bypass. This is the most unnerving thing I have experienced in recent memory, so much so that we almost canceled our trip to Boston.
The cars behind us were sympathetic, gesturing their support toward us in our predicament, and offering excellent advice through honking. Others, unconcerned, flew by our stopped vehicle at break-neck speed. It was a terribly unsafe circumstance, one against which Alean was prayerfully asking for a hedge of angelic protection around our stalled vehicle. God provided.
Turning Chaos Into Blessing
It was at this point that the blessings began to flow, and person after person became a gift from God to us, beginning with the professional woman on the other end of the 911 call. With me at my wit’s end, she calmly and methodically walked me through her questions, and quickly determined that we were out-of-towners who had no clue regarding the specifics of our location. Yet she had a Washington State Trooper on the scene in less than five minutes, and an incident response truck behind him less than two minutes after that.
The trooper was another wonderful, calming influence, attempting to diagnose the problem while simultaneously watching out for our safety, having us stand in specific places at different times. The incident response gentleman was so kind and so professional as he attempted to determine why the car had died, and how to get it out of Park (it was jammed there) so we could use his truck to push the car to the shoulder of the highway.
The trooper and incident response man took care of calling the tow-truck for us, relieving us of that burden. Then they carefully instructed us exactly how they were going to stop traffic and get our car safely to the side of the road. And together, we did it.
Three times over the next twenty minutes, the incident response man drove by to make certain we were still safe, and to tell us how many minutes out the tow-truck was. He was such a blessing!
When the tow truck arrived, the driver would not allow us to exit the vehicle. We sat inside, where it was safe and comfortable, as he raised all four wheels off the ground (it’s an all-wheel-drive car), and then we discussed where we should take the car.
It didn’t take the tow-truck driver long to discover that we were far from home, completely vulnerable, and unsure of our decisions. He advised us regarding our various options and strongly urged us to let him tow our vehicle to Ali’s Bellevue Auto Repair, steering us away from more costly options. We agreed.
Also sensing our frustrating day, the driver joked and gabbed with us the entire drive from break-down to delivery at Ali’s repair shop. Clearly, he had communicated with Ali’s shop, because when we arrived, the staff knew our entire story, where we were going, our hotel, the issue with the car … all of it. They were ready to receive us.
The car was dropped off (with us) just prior to closing time at Ali’s Bellevue Auto Repair, and we needed to get an Uber or Lyft from there to the hotel down by the airport. Traffic would be heavy and the ride costly, so Ali and his wife suggested we go get dinner and let traffic die down a bit so we could save money on the fare. They were offering to stay open late for US, to save US money.
At dinner, our server picked up on our story, and said, “That was you? I drove by you on the 405 on my way into work.” Shortly thereafter, the manager of the Bar & Grill came to our table to discuss options for getting us to our hotel quickly and inexpensively. We were just out-of-town customers, yet they were bending over backward to try to help us.
When we got to the hotel, they also knew the story, and upgraded us from a regular room to an Executive Room on the top floor, while simultaneously knocking $75 off our hotel bill.
Ali’s shop called us while we were in Boston to tell us they had found the problem, and what it cost to repair it. They had already done the work.
Now, bear in mind, they had us over a barrel. He could have fed me any story he wanted to, and quoted me $1,500 repair bill, and I would have had no recourse but to pay what they wanted. Instead, he told me that I was exactly correct in what I suspected. They reworked a specific solder connection on the back of the instrument panel in the dash and charged me just $200 for labor.
The Pressing Question
How can I reconcile one individual after another looking out for our best interest? These people had us backed into a corner, ripe for taking advantage, yet not one of them did so. Every one of them was putting themselves out in order to serve us!
I have been taught since my youth that humanity is totally depraved, wicked, evil, incapable of doing anything good. Yet, when given a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that, not one of these people did so.
Next week, we will look at this question in greater depth. This week I just wanted to throw it out there and let you gnaw on it for a bit. Are there good people?