This past week, there was a day where it took me an hour to get to work. Generally my commute is more like 15-20 minutes, and when traffic gets really bad it might take 30 minutes, instead. But this particular day, it wasn't a traffic problem that delayed me. However, I was a traffic problem delaying some other folks in their commutes.
I was waiting at a stoplight in the right-hand lane, but a ways back in the line. As I sat there, my car sputtered and died. I tried to start it again, but it wouldn't go. And then the light turned green, and I was blocking traffic. Had I been moving, I could have coasted into a parking lot, but there's not much coasting to be done from a standstill. So, what does a person do next in this situation? Turn on the flashers, put the car in neutral, and try to push it. Now, I don't have a small car, but a massively heavy car. I didn't make much progress -- maybe a centimeter or so. A man got out of his car and helped push. We made more progress that way, but still not enough. Then another man emerged to help, and then another, and then another. With four folks pushing and me just steering at that point, we got the car into a parking space in just a few minutes. One of the guys offered to call a tow truck and a woman pulled over and asked if I needed a ride. I politely declined both offers, and gushingly thanked everyone for their help as they were all running off to get to their own jobs, no doubt. I have to say that I was completely overwhelmed by the number of people who stopped to help a stupid girl who ran out of gas a block and a half from the gas station. I just would never have expected that to happen. Certainly was a nice surprise. Thanks, Austin!
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
3 months ago