05 May 2011

Helpin' and Hitchhikin'

Today, a memory resurfaced that brought me a little chuckle. It was a memory involving... hitchhiking. Sort of.

When Travis was in graduate school, he traveled to Greenville, SC, for several weeks each summer to take classes. So, I packed up 1-year-old Thomas and went to see him for a week. It was July-hot in South Carolina, and I was driving the old Taurus. Not a great combination. So while I was out shopping one day (the day before his final exam, to be exact), the alternator decided to give out. In the middle of a busy road. Fortunately, we were able to creep into a gas station on the corner.

To be honest, some of the details now are a little fuzzy. But I do know he was in class, I had our only cell phone, I had a baby, and it was HOT. And I was 4 1/2 hours from anyone I knew. The memory of sitting in the gas station and trying to give Thomas sips out of a bottle of water is still pretty vivid. Like a good mother, I had walked out of the hotel room without his sippy cup on the HOTTEST day of the summer! While I was sitting inside the gas station, waiting on a secretary at the university to track down Travis, this very sweet elderly couple began talking to me. Pretty quickly, they offered to give me a ride back to the university. Well, the next thing I knew, I was breaking the two rules that my mother had drilled into my head from the time I could say "Smarties!": 1.) Don't take food from strangers, and 2.) Don't go with strangers.

Despite the fact that I didn't know them from Adam, I had climbed into the back of their car and was happily feeding Thomas crackers given to us by strangers! I did quickly pray, "Lord, please don't let these people be serial killers!" After that creepy thought, being a captive audience to stories about grandchildren was a relief. Whew!

And what made me think of this little incident? Today, I found out while getting the oil changed, that I need two new front tires. Immediately. So on the way home, I called Travis, who told me to pull over and look for tire diameter info inside the door. So while I'm crouched down by my van in the middle of a deserted parking lot, a really nice, and again, elderly gentleman pulls over and checks to make sure nothing is wrong. He then proceeded to check the tires for me, and gave me the info I needed. Wow!

It all goes to show that there still are really nice people in the world, and the Lord uses them to look after others. AND I have a lot of paying forward to do when I'm a little old lady driving around town!

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