I’m heading out tomorrow on a road trip that will essentially be a circumnavigation of Nebraska. Okay, maybe “circumnavigate” isn’t precisely the right word for traveling down, across, and back up a state that’s made up of mostly flat prairie smack dab in the middle of the continent. But you get the general idea.
One of my friends wondered whether I wasn’t worried about traveling by myself. What if I had car trouble? “Not a problem,” I told her. “A guy in a pickup always comes along.”
At least that’s been my experience.
There were the two men near Moab, Utah, who weren’t able to fix my broken serpentine belt but who told me I could coast down the steep mountain road for about a mile till I came to a roadside attraction where there was a phone. I did, there was, and I spent a pleasant hour along a shady stream with my book while I waited for the tow truck.
There was the man near Craig, Colorado, who had a phone book in his trunk, found the number for a mechanic he recommended, and waited until he knew the tow truck was on its way.
There were the two women and three little kids, on a bitter January day along the interstate in western South Dakota, who were heading west but cut across the median on the emergency-vehicle access in order to give me a ride two miles east.
There were the two guys on a drizzly day in Minnesota. I was towing a flatbed trailer loaded with three empty wire reels. The strap holding one of the reels broke, and it slid partway off the side of the trailer. The reel, six feet in diameter and made of steel, was so heavy I couldn’t push it back into place by myself. The men had it shoved over and tied down in no time. A good thing, too. They were on their way home after playing a round of golf that included stopping at the 19th hole for a beer, so they didn’t linger when the polite young highway patrolman pulled up and asked whether we needed any help.
By now I know what you’re thinking. “This woman needs to get a more reliable vehicle!”
Actually, I do have a reliable vehicle, and I have no doubt that it will get me safely to the far side of Nebraska and back. I have my AAA card and my cell phone. I also have no doubt that help will be there if I need it.
Maybe, in truth, I’ve just been lucky. Maybe I live and travel in a part of the country where it’s still safe to assume someone who stops along the road is there as a rescuer rather than a predator. Maybe I’m naïve. But over the years I’ve been blessed repeatedly by the kindness of strangers—usually, guys in pickups—who took the time to stop.