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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Good Samaritan.

There's no way to put it bluntly.

This past Friday on my way home from Brainerd (about a 2 hour drive), my littles and I ran out of gas.

Like, completely.

Like, I was chatting away on the phone, hung up, realized the gas light was on and just as I switched lanes to get off on the next exit my car slowed down dramatically.

And then stopped.

First, after saying; "Oh no, oh no, oh no." I called J, hoping he'd give me the words of wisdom I needed.

Of course, not surprisingly, he didn't answer his cell phone being that he was w.o.r.k.i.n.g. {He did call me back after I called for help though.}

After a few moments of sitting there wondering what on earth I was going to do I remembered that we have this handy dandy "Emergency Road Side Assistance" service.

I grabbed the card out of the glove and called, thinking this was way easier than I thought it would be.

But oh, it wasn't.

I read my account number off for the woman on the other side of the phone.

Nothing.

The vehicle VIN. Our names and address.

Nothing.

"I am holding a membership card in my hand from YOUR company with this information on it that we have paid for, I don't understand." I said as I unbuckled H and E from their seats knowing that sitting in the car on the 90 degree day just wasn't going to work.

She added us to the system with hopes the glitch would be corrected. Found us on the computer GPS and promised help would be there within 45 minutes.

And as we hung up she verified my cell phone number so that they could call and verify help arrived in an hour.

So we got creative. With the windows on the driver side open and the doors open on the passenger side, my littles climbed about the car, munching on dry cereal I had packed in the trunk and playing with the buttons and gadgets and seat pockets.

Of course E used this time to fill her diaper with something disastorous and then H, oh my H, he too had to go potty.

Number two kind of potty.

So there I am on Highway 94, a mile away from the Clearwater exit, standing next to my four year old going to the bathroom on the side of the road.

And then using a paper Starbucks cup to toss the remnants far, far away from the vehicle.

The time dragged on. Drenched in sweat we finally hit the 45 minute mark.

Then the hour mark.

And then the hour and a half mark.

I desperately called J who was already leaving work to make the trek to where we were and we brainstormed.

I called our babysitter who was due to babysit that evening anyway and she agreed to grab some gas and come and find us 20 miles away and I would call her after I called the "Emergency Roadside Assistance" people and let her know if she wasn't needed.

So I called the number on the card again and after going through the same charade as last time and not finding our account number or VIN, she somehow eventually found us and asked if I was the one who was "locked out".

"Umm no. I'm out of gas."

"Oh yeah, they were there about 2 minutes ago." She tells me.

"Then they obviously helped someone else because my kids and I are still here."

She asks to place me on hold and check on it again and I stand there next to my car with my two littles wondering if this day will ever end and sure enough a car pulls over.

My help is here, is all I could think.

He walked over and asked if I needed help and what he could do and I realized he wasn't my Emergency Roadside guy but instead a Good Samaritan.

He offered to drive up to the next exit (one mile up) and get gas and a gas can and then drive the five miles back and turn around to come and find us and help us.

In nearly two hours he was the only one who stopped and offered any kind of assistance and up until he stopped I didn't think anything of it.

Once I was taken off of hold and the gal at Emergency Roadside Assistance told me my help would be there in about 20 minutes, I told her to cancel the call and that their idea of Emergency Roadside and my idea were two different things. I mean, I was one mile away from the nearest gas station. In the two hours I'd waited I could have walked to a gas station, gotten gas and walked back faster than their so called Emergency help could come out and help me?

I have never been happier to see a stranger.

I was happy and inspired as we drove off a little while later.

Why didn't anyone else stop? I wondered.

Why don't I ever stop? I wondered.

I want to be a Good Samaritan.

I had all but forgotten what they were. Didn't think they existed anymore.

I am so very thankful they do.

*Updated to add: The name of the company that we have a vehicle warranty and Emergency Roadside assistance through is PROTECTIVE and after failing to have contact with anyone who cared via phone, I have contacted them via their website.

6 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

Wow! What a story! How wonderful that Good Samaritans do still exist and I would write a letter to the Roadside Assistance people telling them they really miss the boat on their service!

August 31, 2010 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

What a great story! So nice to know that Good Samaritan's still do exist! I'm glad you got your help, but that stinks that it wasn't for almost 2 hours later. I agree with Beth...I would write the Roadside Assistance people a letter.

August 31, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
OpenID fritzfacts said...

I have had the situation TWICE where I blew a tire and had no idea what to do, but a wonderful person stopped to help me change it. I always stop now, even if I can't do anything just to make sure people are okay.

August 31, 2010 at 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to send a BIG THANK YOU to the wonderful gentlmen who saved the day !! THANK YOU, THANK YOU !! 2 hours on the side of the road with 2 little childern in 90 degree heat is way to long.. As for that roadside help you need take a long look at what you are doing wrong!! or is it just about the money?? I'm sure you will no longer be on this family's renewal list.
I'm so thankful that this worked out for you and the kids.
Love You All
Auntie Laurie

August 31, 2010 at 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not sure who your car insurance is but I have my emergency roadside through Progressive. It costs an additional $7/month and they've always been AWESOME to work with. I've mostly used them for lockouts (oops) but anyone's who first asks if I'm safe (which they ALWAYS do) is worth the money!

i also one had a good samaritan LEAVE me with her cell phone (she had to run) when i ran out of gas, trusting that I would get it back to her. These were the days before everyone had a cell and i will never forget her! what she really left me with was peace of mind...and I loved being able to thank her again in person after it was all over.

August 31, 2010 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Uh oh. Someone messed with Samara and didn't respond via phone, thus forcing her to take action via website. Haven't businesses learned yet......don't mess with her! She can be lethal.

September 3, 2010 at 5:46 PM  

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