We see them all the time. A car on the side of the road with its hood up, leaking fluids and/or billowing smoke. What are our common reactions?
- I’m no mechanic. There’s nothing I could do to help.
- They’ve probably got friends on the way.
- I’d stop and help but I’m late for ______.
- I’ve seen this trick on TV… stranded motorist asking for help and then when I pull over to help, I’ll get robbed, raped or killed. Screw that!
True, some are valid points in their own respects but the “pay it forward” life practice cannot be any truer when it comes to roadside assistance.
Yesterday was my day to not only put humanity to a test, but also myself. Cars sometimes breakdown for the smallest reasons. Let’s face it. Cars have small parts on them but despite their size, we heavily reply on them to keep the car running. My “small part” of the day was the battery terminal. The corrosion on my battery was so bad, that only half of the terminal remained. When attempting to jumpstart the battery (initially thinking the battery was just dead), the terminal fell off. From an outside perspective, these instances seem like a simple fix. A simple part, along with a YouTube “how-to” video and voilà! Problem solved. However when you’re directly involved in the situation, your nerves are shot and it takes goodhearted folks to clear your head and get you back on path.
The trouble first started at a gas station. After filling up, I noticed the car wouldn’t turn on. Assuming the battery just died on me, I assumed I just needed a jumpstart. Rather than approaching strangers in the hustle and bustle of Friday afternoon commute, I decided to put an open call out on twitter and facebook to see if anyone in the area would assist. Within minutes, my modern day SOS was retweeted and reshared. About 15 minutes later, comedian James Mane of MarsComedy.com was on the scene. He helped me discover the corroded terminal and helped hold the cable to the battery so that I could at least get the car to start. Once we got the car to start, I troubles were over. Well… “over” in the sense where I thought as long as I don’t turn the engine off, I can at least get home or to a mechanic.
Apparently the cable needs to STAY connected to the battery, even after successfully starting the car. In retrospect, that makes perfect sense. But as I worried about being late to pick up my wife and daughter, I quickly subscribed to magical land of unicorns and fairies, where batteries don’t need to be connected to their cars.
I was brought back to reality further down the road when the car died on me in traffic. By the time inertia had played out its role, my car came to a complete stop at about 50 feet from my destination. “Screw being stuck at a gas station, here’s where the real test comes in.” I said that to myself as I shifted into neutral and proceeded to push my car with one hand while steering with the other. This is where humanity disappointed me a bit. The first 15 feet seemed like the longest 15 feet of my life. I felt very lonely and couldn’t believe that there were cars honking at me. The crank of a parking brake behind me brought comfort knowing there would be a helping hand or two to get me off the road. Humanity, you are redeemed.
Once off the road, I took a moment to regain my composure and noticed I had been receiving more calls and messages on my phone as a result of my earlier post. Stacey, a coworker of mine, texted me but didn’t wait for a reply and before I knew it, her and her family had pulled up behind me. However being that the issue was more severe than a simple jumpstart, they were at least able to help me get further away from the road and safely into the parking lot of my destination.
The next 3 minutes were overwhelming as my wife and daughter came out of the building to greet me, my mother pulled in to assist in transporting my family and Kathy with a K from 93.9 Jamz, having also seen my post, pulled up to see how she could assist. There was a lot of small chit chat that transpired but let me sum up by saying that if comedian James Mane was my angel… then Kathy with a K was my savior. Kathy with a K surveyed my situation, gave my daughter an orange and then went off to make “some calls.”
Again, within minutes… a mechanic showed up and put some temporary clamps under my hood to get my car started (and to stay on). He had me follow him to Auto Repair of Hawaii where owner Glenn Higa and his team of mechanics were literally waiting for me. They wheeled a bunch of equipment over, gave my battery a bath, replaced some parts, ran some tests and my car was ready to go. All the while, Kathy kept me company to be sure that I will be able to get home safely.
From the retweets to the mechanics and everyone in between. I feel truly blessed by your presence. I am not famous by any means and I don’t deserve half of what I have in life. But I do appreciate it all. People can scoff at social networking as much as they want. But being rescued on the side of the road is on a long list of heaven sent events that would not have come to fruition as easily, had it not been for social networking.
Please support the following:
MarsComedy.com – comedian James Mane performs stand-up at various venues in Honolulu and is the host of the “Guys with Issues” podcast.
Auto Repair of Hawaii – General Auto Repair – Glenn Higa
98-055 Kamehameha Hwy, Bldg C5
Aiea, HI 96701
“Tell ’em Kathy sent ya”