Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kindness of Strangers

Y'all know how much I love my Jeep. I baby that thing. I wash and vacuum it all the time, I take it in for regular maintenance. I love my baby! It gets me everywhere and gives me a sense of great freedom. It's comfortable and has plenty of space for me to pack my stuff, it has great features (some I continue to discover). I love my Jeep.

Imagine my surprise when it let me down! I was coming home after a wild week of traveling and about 45 minutes west of Des Moines, I heard a strange squeal and within seconds my Jeep told me to check my gauges. Sure enough ... there was a problem. I had just passed an exit, but there was another in 2 miles. I made it off the exit, pulled to the top, off the road, put the baby into Park and it died. Sigh ... oh yes, tons of steam coming from under the hood.

I called Max to tell him where I was and that I might need more help, but I was going to check with AAA and see what could happen. I got hold of a girl at AAA and after much discussion (because they have a MILLION questions), she finally reached a driver who would come find me. It would take an hour because he was coming out of Des Moines, was I ok to wait.

What I wanted to remind her of, was that I was in IOWA! Of course I was going to be ok. Alright, I might have too much faith in the people of Iowa, but I certainly felt safe at the Greenfield exit in the middle of Iowa. I called Max, told him the driver would bring me and the Jeep to Omaha and he could just wait, he didn't need to drive. I pulled out my Kindle and read. Cars passed, a few looked at me asking if I needed help. A 'thumbs-up' let them know I was fine.

The tow truck pulled up (Craig's Auto, Adair, IA) and he opened the hood and discovered that yes, I had a problem, the belt around the water pump was ... ummm ... gone and the water pump itself was broken. No jerry rigging this to get me back to Omaha!

Then he asked if someone was coming to get me. I was startled. "She said you would take me." Now, he was startled. The poor guy kept apologizing for the state of the cab of his truck. He had an air compressor and all sorts of other car 'stuff' up there and worried about space for me. Ummm ... I'm not concerned. But, he wanted to stop at his shop to get rid of it for the trip to Omaha, it wouldn't take long. I said, "As long as there is a bathroom I can use, I don't care!" There was, I didn't care.

We talked all the way back to Omaha - about everything! His son, his wife, the wind turbine farms, ethanol plants in Iowa, his job, how long he had been a mechanic, his land in Wisconsin, growing up on a farm in Iowa - everything. He continued to apologize for the cab, telling me that Saturday was the day he usually cleaned it. I bet that after yesterday it is now sparkling!

Soon it was 9:30 and we were unloading my baby at the garage. I settled up with him and Max took me home. I kept thinking about my evening. You know, I could have never had a problem with my Jeep, but then I would have never met this great guy who loves his job and his family. I've met someone that will take care of me again when I'm in central Iowa and have a problem. I learned a few tidbits of information that I didn't have before the conversation and only lost 1 1/2 hours of my day. I was safe through all of it. I'm so thankful that things didn't break down while I was making my way to Chicago and back.

All in all, it was a good evening!

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