Here’s another of my articles from the Irish Examiner’s Feelgood. Anyone who is inclined to ignore the petrol warning light might relate to this one!
During the visit of the Beast from the East I read many examples of kindness, including one lady who volunteered to visit a stranger’s mother in hospital as her daughter was unable to travel, due to the snow.
It was lovely to be reminded that there are many good people out there.
With that in mind I too have a story to tell of a kind stranger, who perhaps to this day wonders why he bothered?
As with all good stories it happened one dark and gloomy night. I was traveling home when I noted my car’s petrol light was on for the fourth day in a row.
I pulled into a garage, buttoned up my coat and stood waiting for petrol to begin pumping into my car, but nothing happened. I pulled the trigger a few times but still nothing. It was only then I noticed a small sign on the pump, ‘Out of order.’
Perhaps if it had not been so cold I might have handled the situation better?
Instead, I went from zero to furious. I replaced the fuel handle and in a fit of temper revved my way out of the garage, determined not to give them a sniff of my money.
Approximately two miles later I regretted my haste. On a busy, unlit road with no footpath, my car died a quiet death. I sat for a while in denial before roaring at the incompetence of the garage and blaming the car. If it had only kept going a few more minutes I’d have reached the next garage.
Reminiscent of my tantrum filled teenage days I slammed the car door before kicking the front wheel many times. The usually busy road was dark and quiet but dressed in black I couldn’t risk walking it, so I walked into the ditch and took a few steps.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to walk in a ditch in darkness but it’s impossible. The ground rises and falls unseen and anyone passing by might suspect I’d drink taken if witnessing my first few steps.
The air was blue with my mutterings when I heard a car slow down behind me. I came close to cardiac arrest when I saw it was a man in a van, everyone knows vans are preferred by kidnappers.
I lurched along the ditch as he followed.
“You okay?” he shouted.
“Yes, thank you,” I replied staring straight ahead.
“I saw you kicking your car. Is it broken down?”
“No, it’s fine. I’m just going for a walk.”
Slow to take the hint he drove ahead and pulled in.
“If you’re out of petrol I can bring you to the garage.”
I walked past ignoring him. Once again he drove on and pulled in.
“Why not let me get you petrol and bring it back to you?”
I stopped. Surely there was no chance of being abducted in that scenario?
So I agreed. Ten minutes later he returned as promised and emptied five euro of petrol into my car.
“Here,” he said putting a new petrol can into the back seat, “I’d no can in the van, you might as well keep it.”
Struggling to find words to say thank you, I reached into my pockets to repay him. It was only then I remembered I’d no cash on me only my debit cards.
‘Please follow me to the cash machine so I can repay you?” I said, more embarrassed than I’ve ever been in my life.
“Not at all,” he said getting into his van, “delighted I could help. Safe home.”
Thanks to my knight in shining armor I did make it home safely that night and I’ve never forgotten him or his kindness.
Although I do hope he’s forgotten me.
12 thoughts on “There I am in the paper #58”
It must make me an absolutely awful person that anytime I’m helped out by someone who goes hugely out of their way I’m ridiculously blown away, I think that means I’ve turned into a glass half empty person and don’t expect goodness any more!
I can’t imagine you as half empty. I’d think you’re just a very appreciative person.
I was too honestly, once I realised he wasn’t out to murder me. 😀
The glass is emptying, Tric, although I am trying to balance it out and fill it up with a leaky bucket;) I’m glad he wasn’t a murderer;)
You can laugh about these things now but I know at the time its dicey as to what to do. I have a story of being out with friends one day and they were driving in front when my car, with wife and small kids, broke down miles from anywhere. My zero knowledge of cars didn’t help and so I lifted the bonnet as one does and made it appear I knew something. A car stopped and a guy came up and looked at my motor, said he knew the problem, shifted a few things and told me I should get home. I did and I have been forever grateful. I had no idea who he was and I must have appeared totally incompetent, which I was.
Oh wow the kindness of strangers. It’s amazing isn’t it?
that is so kind, and my mind would have gone the serial killer route immediately, as well. glad he was an honorable night.
He was indeed.
Don’t forget I took a chance on you too when you came to Ireland and thankfully you weren’t a crazy murderer either. 😀
that’s a great point -)
I am POSITIVE he has no forgotten you!!! 😀
(And by the way, he probably understood your hesitance.)
I wonder Colleen. But hopefully you’re right.
Oooh, temper!! On another note, I am constantly struck by the kindness of strangers, and enormously grateful