Driving home from preschool pickup, the battery light illuminated on my dash and the car began to smell as if it were burning. Shortly after, my SUV completely stopped working in the middle of the road. I found myself and three young children in an inoperable vehicle in heavy traffic. I got out and opened the median side doors to signal that we were not moving. I could not reach my husband but instead got in touch with his coworker who immediately left his office to come help us. It would be at least twenty minutes before his arrival so in the meantime, I contacted AAA and they dispatched a tow truck. Little did I know that the impact of a few good men would teach us all the importance of kindness that day.
My children were scared and my five-year-old and 10 month baby were in tears. As we waited, pretty helpless and unsure of what to do, three different strangers pulled their cars over asked if they could help us. All three were males. One man (a firefighter) even pulled his work van behind us with his flashers on to create a roadblock and buffer for our vehicle. He showed us his identification and invited us into his air-conditioned work van to sit and wait until further help arrived. It was eighty-one degrees and sunny and our car was getting hot, so I took him up on his offer. He was kind to my children. He talked to them about soccer and school and helped us calm down and feel comfortable. Shortly after, our friend arrived and fireman Steve helped us relocate to the new vehicle. My husband also came, along with the tow truck, and the kids and I made it home safely.
Fortunately, our situation was pretty routine and only involved a few brief moments of real concern. However, I was completely out of control and left to rely on the help of others to assist my family. In this day and age, that doesn’t really happen often with all of the resources we have at our fingertips. It was very reassuring to know that in a short amount of time, willing helpers made themselves available.
I left the scene feeling very grateful and with a sense of responsibility. A burden to share how the kindness of random men, who owe me and my family nothing, stopped to help us. I’m raising two sons and want them to know that there are a lot of good men out there to look up to and respect (in addition to their father). I want them to recognize these positive male role models. I’m thankful that today I didn’t have to tell them, but they were able to witness firsthand the kindness these men showed to our family. I do hope this lesson sticks with them and encourages them to respond to help others in times of need as well. So thank you to Fireman Steve and the two other men who stopped to offer their assistance, to Tyler who was the first familiar face at the scene and to my husband who handled everything else. Without the help of these kind men, our afternoon could have looked very different.