Friday, April 2, 2010

A Moment of Clarity on I-82 - Only the Good Friday

For several weeks I've been participating in the "Only the Good Friday" meme that was started at Below is my weekly contribution to the optimism virus sweeping the blogosphere.

Is there a sixth sense that warns us of impending danger? I do know that there is an instant of clarity on the way to meeting destiny. The clarity of vision appeared in slow motion, the future was seen and the outcome was immediately known. It happened to me several years ago on I-82.

The sky was blue, the pavement dry and straight and I was headed west to Portland at speed. As I passed under the overpass at Three Mile Canyon I saw the twisted metal bar in the road and I knew, in that instant, that I was in trouble. The loud bang and the shudder of the steering wheel confirmed my premonition. I hit the brakes and muscled the car to the side of the road. My left front tire sported a six-inch gaping hole and I was in the middle of nowhere.  It may be an interstate highway, but in eastern Oregon the traffic is sparse and I was 10 miles from Boardman and the nearest service station.

Like McIver I quickly assessed my resources.  I had neglected to pack a Swiss army knife or, what would have been even more useful, a cell phone.  Fortunately I had the owner's manual. I put my skills to the test and, following the pictures, I managed to locate the spare tire and the jack. I had to read the page several times to figure out how to get them out of the trunk. I then turned to page 118, Changing a Tire. The first step was to block the car’s tires and this was easily accomplished. The second step was to loosen the lug nuts…that’s when I shifted to Plan B…get help.

I left the tire and jack by the side of the car and started walking to a warehouse that I could see in the distance. As I reached the freeway on ramp at the opposite side of the freeway, a woman stopped and asked me if I needed assistance. She drove me to a nearby farm and introduced me to Juan, the farm mechanic.

Juan loaded a big jack from the shop in the back of a farm pickup. I jumped in the cab and we headed back to the freeway,  As we approached the Three Mile Canyon east-bound exit, my car was visible across the freeway. I couldn’t see the spare tire. “Oh no,” I said to Juan “I can’t see my spare tire. I left it propped up by the flat.” The tire was gone.

Juan drove over the overpass and on to the westbound ramp so we could get to my car. As I got closer I could see that the trunk was closed. I had left it open. Sure enough, there was no tire by the side of the car and the jack wasn’t there either.

A stranger had come across my car abandoned by the roadside and seen my dilemma. This stranger changed my tire. Put the flat and the jack away and closed the trunk. No note, no business card, no clues as to who my rescuer was.

I’ve read about random acts of kindness. This was the first time I experienced it. It’s one of the reasons I love Eastern Oregon.

Life is good in rural America!


This Eclectic Life said...

This is THE most amazing post I have read in such a long time! I was filled with suspense, expecting that you had been robbed and vandalized.
Thank you for this inspiring post! It's such a classic example of the "pay it forward" idea.
No note ... no desire for reward ... just kindness.
I love it.

JoyACookin' said...

I second the previous sentiment. What a great story! Good things come even when we're waylaid with life's annoyances. The time it took the Stranger Changer was mere moments that have given you an exponential return in gratitude and great story-telling.

Frances said...

What a happy happy ending.
I got a real lift.
Waving at you from New York

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