When some random object flies off a truck on a busy I-285 and you can’t do anything to avoid running over it and then your tire as predicted begins to get low and you have to make your way across three or four lanes to get to the shoulder where cars and trucks are zooming past, you come to a juncture in the road where you must decide:
Do I panic and let this tear form? Or do I stay calm?
Yep, that happened to me Sunday. I chose to stay calm even though my eye was tingling with the thought of a possible tear forming. But as soon as I made that decision, I stayed in good spirits for the rest of what would become your run of the mill Lemony Snicket and a Series of Unfortunate Events kinda day. Now, this is the second time I’m writing this blog post–I lost it the first time, and I’ve decided to stay calm and just retype it–but this time, I’m leaving out some details, lol.
Alright, so after calling Roadside Assistance, I called the office where I was headed for an appointment, then texted the two people I had plans with later. One asked had I called the hero truck, to which I responded “what is a hero truck?” After getting over the initial disbelief that I have lived in Georgia for 9 years and didn’t know what a hero truck was, she told me to call 511 and they would come help me for free. By then I had the dispatcher State Farm referred me to on the phone asking me questions about getting a tow, so I asked her how much it would be, took down the number, and said I would call her back. I called 511, and sure enough, they asked where I was, what kind of car, and all that. (Read: God’s plan, step #1) Then the fateful question: “Do you have a spare?” It really is a long story, but suffice it to say that my daddy took my spare out and I had no idea if he had ever replaced it, so I answered “I don’t think so.” Why? Because I just didn’t want anyone coming to help me if I didn’t know AND as I was on 285, I wasn’t getting out of my car to clear out my trunk and lift up the mat and see.
So I called the dispatcher back, and she put me on hold to locate a tow truck to take me to where my tires are under warranty. Then she came back on the line and told me that it was taking longer than usual to find someone open on Sunday, and she would call me back in 5 minutes because she wanted to make sure she didn’t drain my cell phone battery. During this time, I asked my friend to come get me because I hadn’t eaten all day, and I would just make sure I was back in time to ensure that my car got to its destination. So about twenty to thirty minutes later, I see a yellow truck pulling up behind me… Hmmm, I think to myself… Tow trucks aren’t usually yellow… Then I see State Farm on the truck. Hmmm, State Farm sent me to the dispatcher service, so I’m confused… So a lady gets out of the truck, comes to my window and tells me she’s with HERO and she’s here to help me. (Read: God’s plan, step #2) I told her that I was told they wouldn’t be able to assist because I didn’t know if I had a spare. After telling me they sent her anyway, she said, “Well let’s see.” After together putting the contents of my trunk in my back seat, sure enough, I had a spare. (Read: God’s plan, step #3) As she changed my tire, I called the dispatcher back, who is sounding really stressed and worried. As soon as I told her that I was canceling, she replied, “Oh my God, I’m so happy because you wouldn’t believe I called this entire list and either they’re not open or they don’t have a truck they can send to where you are today.” (Read: God’s solutions ain’t got nothing on ours.)
When I tell you at that very moment, all I could do is think about how blessed I am, I’m understating how I felt. I immediately called my mom to share, and of course, I love sharing with her AFTER something has happened because she worries herself into oblivion. (Love you, mom!)
That’s not the end of my Lemony Snicket day though. Here’s the rest:
1- Went to tire place to get a new one
2- They didn’t have the tire I needed, so they called the next closest, they were putting their last 4 on a car at that moment. They then called the next closest. They had it and put it on hold for me.
3- There was construction on I-75 so I drove all the way up Marietta, which was fine because I needed gas. I pull in, swipe my card, it reads “SEE CASHIER.” I go inside, they say my card went through. Manager had to go outside and reset everything. I got gas.
4- Finally got to tire place, get it changed. End of debacle. Finally.
The other component of the day that made it a happy ending was the people I encountered. There are really good people in the world, even in Atlanta. (Kidding, y’all! (kinda, lol))
- The dispatcher I talked kept telling lame jokes as she was processing my request. She knew that there was a good possibility I could be stressed out, so she was trying to lighten me up.
- Before anyone got to me, a guy stopped and asked me if he could change my tire. Of course, this was before I knew if I had one. Thanks, Mister, for letting me know people care!
- The HERO lady was soo nice and way diligent. That was my first experience with them, and I’m very pleased that we have that service here. Thank you, Georgia Department of Transportation!
- The people at the gas station were very patient, and it rubbed off on me. Well, at this point, I figured the day was just what it was and if I hadn’t been upset yet, no need to start over a gas pump, but still. I appreciated them. The manager even pumped my gas.
- As I was walking out of the gas station, a guy stopped me just to tell me I was beautiful. No pick up lines, no asking me for my number. Just wanted to give a compliment.
- The mechanic on duty at the first tire place I went to recognized me from when I was there to get my oil changed, so he came over to speak and to look at my tire, and he assured me everything would be taken care of.
- The manager at the place that put the tire on hold ended up being an AKA from Cheyney in PA (’82), and we had a great convo about politics while I was waiting on my car to get its new shoe. She was so nice and a great person to meet as I ended my journey.
So all that to say, you can’t see the rainbow unless there’s a little rain. And one of my favorite quotes is
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.
Sunday could have been a monsoon if I had treated it as one. But it turned out to be a little blip in the road. I mean, yeah, I missed my social plans of the day, but I still got to my (rescheduled) appointment and ate dinner with my friend (who got to me at almost exactly the same time the HERO truck did and then followed me all over the place to make sure I got to the tire place–another person who was in that list of people who made my day). But the perspective is that things could have gone in a number of different ways, but they didn’t. And I still enjoyed the day because I allowed myself to, and because I trusted that everything would work out as they should. Now, I guess I’ll finally let my friend teach me how to change a tire, just in case that happens to me in another state. 🙂